James wrote, "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8). Double-minded. It seems to be the standard rather than the exception.

I was looking at a display of works by a local artist. On a plaque was a quote from the artist. "I am certain that there is no absolute truth," the artist assured us. She went on to say that she wanted her work to cause people to see the beauty all around us without any allusion to truth. That is what I call "double-minded." She is absolutely certain of the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth. She intends people to see the absolute truth that there is beauty in everything. In fact, she's confident in the absolute truths that the paint would remain on the canvas, that gravity would continue to function, that her work and words had meaning, and that the sun would come up in the morning. She predicated her life and work on absolute truths while denying and predicating her life and work on the absence of such truths.

Remember the story of Elijah? He first appears on the Bible scene when he walks in to King Ahab and declares, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word." (1 Kings 17:1) Boom! And he's gone. He went into hiding while God took care of him (and others around him). Finally, after three years, God told him to show himself again to Ahab and He would send rain (1 Kings 18:1). Enter one of the best showdowns in history -- God versus Baal, God's lone prophet versus 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-40). With the people of Israel on hand, Elijah called out, "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him" (1 Kings 18:21). "How long will you be double-minded?" And the contest ensued. God, of course, won. But Elijah's question there was the same one I'm asking. How is "double-minded" good?

We all do it. I suppose we are all guilty at times. But some aim for it more than others. When someone declares, "We are inclusive, so we will exclude those who don't agree," they appear not to see the double-minded position. When someone says, "You people are so judgmental; we hate you hateful, judgmental people," they seem not to notice the double standard they employ. When they complain, "The Bible isn't a book of rules" in one sentence and then complain, "You're not following the rules in the Bible" in the next, how are we to respond? When they assure us, "We love God and His Word" while demanding that we don't declare what God and His Word declare, how are we to handle it?

"I hate the double-minded," the psalmist wrote, "but I love your law" (Psalm 119:113). God's Word is not double-minded. "Submit yourselves therefore to God," James wrote. "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you" (James 4:7-10). Being double-minded is a spiritual problem of pride, standing on truth while denying it. In James's example in the first chapter of his epistle, the double-minded man in view there was the one who prays for wisdom without believing God can or will give it (James 1:5-8). "Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord" (James 1:7).

And so it goes. We live in a world filled with two standards, populated by double-minded people, with values and beliefs predicated on equal and opposing truth claims and value systems. It's not surprising, really, but I would hope that you would make an effort to not do it yourself.