I admit it. I am the man that is double minded. I feel closer to God one day, and farther away the other. I have faith one day, and doubt the next. I feel encouraged to pray or reflect today, and tomorrow I don’t want to hear anything about God or Jesus. I am easily influenced by circumstances. I am the man described by the book of James in the Bible which says that “because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do (Ch. 1:7-8).”
I need to be honest about who I am, I don’t want to do what I used to do in the past. I used to pretend that I firmly believe in everything that other Christians claim to be the ultimate truth. I used to force myself to pray in certain ways simply because it was what was expected. It was strictly religion. But what I do now is to be open to various interpretations. No, I am not creating my own religion, although I may be doing exactly this without noticing it. Neither am I agnostic, because I believe there is a God. But I am not sure who or what this God really is. Although sometimes I can feel Him very close to me. And sometimes I do not. I am inconsistent. The book of Revelation claims that Jesus says “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Ch. 3:15-16).” This is a strong message, stating that Jesus will reject me when I am inconsistent. It says He wishes I am either hot or cold. Does this mean he will accept me if I am consistently away or close to God? I don’t believe so. But this same chapter continues with Jesus saying that people who are lukewarm say they are “rich”. I don’t claim this, although I sometimes fall under the erroneous presumption that I am already heading towards that right direction, failing to be “poor in spirit”, as Jesus said he prefers us to be in order to have the Kingdom of Heavens (Matthew 5). I understand also that this chapter refers to a particular early church in Laodicea. Should I interpret it pertaining exclusively to this historical church, or also to the present lukewarm church, like myself? Don’t know.
But I read further in this passage, and feel a strange inspiration when I come across the statement that says “ Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Sometimes I hear the door knocking, but I am afraid to open it. I am afraid that when I open the door there is nothing on the other side. I am afraid of living an illusion. But I am also afraid of not opening the door, because I might miss the greatest opportunity ever. You see, I have opened the door before, or so I thought, and the joy was there, but with time, it disappeared, because of my double mind. I feel tears in my mind while reading this passage, because I don’t want to reject God/Truth/Life. But I don’t want to fool myself with empty hopes. If God truly loves me, then He must be rebuking me and disciplining me, like this last verse says. This is probably why I going through a spiritual tribulation.
I am also like Thomas, the disciple who doubted until he saw the resurrected Jesus. He told Thomas that those who believe without seeing are blessed (John 20:29). Could this mean that I am not blessed if I keep looking for evidence instead of having bling faith? I am certainly not completely happy and content. But at the same time, if I am content, then I will not feel motivated to seek more of God. I may be blessed and happy to simply believe, but I will not know more of God. I also recently understood that having faith like “a seed of mustard”, will enable me to do great things, which also means I don’t have to have great faith (Luke 17:6). I am not necessarily underestimating God’s power by looking for evidence, I may actually be glorifying Him even more if I keep searching to know more about the nature of His power.
If I am wrong for being double minded, I can accept that. What I cannot accept is that knowing God is simply believing everything that other “believers” claim. I want more from God. I want to actually feel closer to God, not be content with a few doctrines that is convenient to our selfish desires and cultural norms. I don’t want to claim to believe certain things in order to be politically correct. My goal should not be to please others, but God. I live in a constant spiritual struggle, which many might say is the “evil” versus the “good” in my body, like Paul describes in the letter of the Romans (Ch.7:1524). But, is my doubting an evil thing? I cannot accept this either. My understanding of evil is to be selfish and to exclude other people. Doing good is to be inclusive, to love others regardless. If I claim that my faith is the right one, and everyone else who thinks differently is wrong, then this is true evil.
So what I still have firmly is the thought and belief that I must serve others to live the Kingdom of Heaven. This I don’t doubt. It also does not mean to expect a reward, like this world only knows to do. But to simply and genuinely reach out and help the poor, the hungry, the needy, the sick, the homeless, the mentally ill, the handicapped, and everyone else who is considered “the least of these”. Jesus identified himself with these people. I still hope that, by doing this, I will know God more, in spite of my many doubts. In spite of my double mind. Because what I see with my physical eyes cannot be all there is to Life.