Saturday, August 4, 2012

Single-Minded or Double-Minded

Sadly, it has been four months since I've added a new post.  I'm very sorry.

However, I have been working very hard on our latest study.  This study combines the Epistle of James with the bone-jarring action of Motocross Racing.  No, I'm not kidding.

We've been using this study with a group of 10 men throughout the summer.  And, we're looking forward to releasing the book, God willing, in September.

Here is a sample of one section we call "Mechanics' Area."  At the races, the Mechanics' Area is the behind the scenes section where the bikes are repaired and maintained.  For our study, the Mechanics' Area focuses in on the sub-themes of the book of James.  These are the subtle recurring themes that are easy to overlook.  This particular section covers the theme of being single-minded (or pure) or being double-minded (or unstable).  Please enjoy, and be sure to let me know what you think.

Mechanics’ Area
Single-Minded or Double-Minded
Before each race every bike is adjusted and tuned for maximum performance.  Different riders, different makes, different engine sizes, and different courses all require specialized settings.  The mechanic works with the rider and coach to determine the exact settings for each particular race.

James understood that having the exact mindset for each situation was essential.  One of the most common sub-themes in his letter is the importance of purity, having a single-minded focus.  In fact, this sub-theme is found in the very second verse of the first chapter.  “Consider it all joy,” can also be understood as “100% pure” joy.  In other words: all joy and nothing but joy.

Later in the first chapter James continues his thoughts on purity, or being single-minded.  In Verse 5 he describes God as being a generous giver; or one who gives liberally.  The word translated “generous” comes from a word which denotes “singleness.”  God’s single focus in giving is in direct contrast to the double-minded man in Verse 8.

In the verses below highlight every word that describes someone who is single-minded, pure, or focused.  Also highlight words showing characteristics of someone who is double-minded, doubting, or unstable.

JAMES 1:5–7  (WEB)
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach; and it will be given to him. [6] But let him ask in faith, without any doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed. [7] For let that man not think that he will receive anything from the Lord. 8 He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

JAMES 1:17  (WEB)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow.  

JAMES 1:27  (WEB)
Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. 

JAMES 3:8–10  (WEB)
But nobody can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. [9] With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God. [10] Out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.  

JAMES 3:16–17  (WEB)
For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. [17] But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  

JAMES 4:4  (WEB)
You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.   

JAMES 4:8  (WEB)
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-mined.

JAMES 5:12  (WEB)
But above all things, my brothers, don’t swear— not by heaven, or by the earth, or by any other oath; but let your “yes” be “yes”, and your “no”, “no”; so that you don’t fall into hypocrisy.  


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