Scripture: Mark 9:17-26
The Bible says in James 1:8 that a double-minded person is unstable in all their ways. I believe that being double-minded is a spiritual sickness that is the manifestation of a spiritual heart problem. The Greek word for the heart is the cardia (from which we get cardiac, like cardiac arrest), but essentially it is the meeting place of the will and the emotions. This heart problem cannot be cured by medication or surgery, but by prayer, fasting, and meditation.
I remember as a kid watching a cartoon where the character was next to a cracked leaky wall. At each leak water would start gushing out and he would try to plug it with a finger. Then he ran out of fingers and had to start plugging the holes with his toes. Eventually the leaks were far too many and far too spread apart, until finally the water overwhelmed him.
I think that was the state of my life, I simply ran out of fingers and toes to plug all the situations in my life. I remember with tears in my eyes crying out to God in desperation for His help. All of sudden I felt my eyes being led to my old beat-up preaching Bible. As I opened the Bible it fell on Luke 9 and 10, where Jesus sent out the disciples to preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. Luke 9 in particular lays out the cost of discipleship, and it was like a floodgate opened to the portals of my soul and I knew it was God.
As I began the journey to regaining control of my life, I realized that I was spiritually sick with double-mindedness and unwilling to the pay the full cost of discipleship. I had a fear of committing to one thing because I didn’t trust the place I was in and had so much uncertainty and reservations surrounding every area of my life. Simply put, I was doing too much for all the wrong reasons and lost control in the process.
I found myself like the boy in our text again. The father tells Jesus that “wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid.” Essentially, wherever and whenever that spiritual sickness rose up, he lost control. God showed me through meditation and revelation what losing control looks like and how to regain control:
- the throwing down is the result of an in-balance (double-mindedness), because just like you can’t stand and be thrown down at the same time—you can’t serve two masters (Matthew 6:24) and you can’t give your whole heart in two places (Mark 12:30);
- the foaming at the mouth and gnashing of teeth was about what was coming out, or in this case, what was not coming out of his mouth; and
- the becoming rigid (or stiff) was about being stuck in the mental space of double-mindedness, a wandering mind and what I call “option overload” causing the paralysis of analysis that can only be cured by getting your priorities straight!
CPR Kit for the Soul:
- Centering Theme: When you feel like you are losing control, create a checklist to assess your bodies balance: 1) Have you slept? 2) Have you eaten and taken your vitamins? and 3) Are you properly hydrated? Second, run through the spiritual balance checklist: 1) What is my prayer life like right now? 2) What is my Biblical Study life like right now? and, 3) What is my worship life like right now? If you are not properly managing these physical and spiritual areas, you may be out of balance and losing control!
- Prayer Topic: Focus your prayer on asking God— are the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart pleasing and acceptable in Your sight (Psalms 19:14)? Am I speaking life or death (Proverbs 18:21)? Am I seeking Your pleasure God, or the praises of people with my words?
- Reflection Thought: Am I stiff and stuck right now, meaning I’m not making positive progress in life because I’m not moving in one consistent direction with my whole heart?
T3 Prayer Starter:
- Dear Lord, as You are a God of balance, help me to prize and prioritize that same balance for my physical and spiritual life to help me regain control . . .
- Lord, I ask that You through my prayer & fasting, meditation & reflection, help me to focus on paying attention to what is coming out of mouth and what is not coming out of my mouth. Fill my mouth with “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy— [help me] meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8) . . .
- Lord, I realize I can’t gain control of my life, until I gain control of my mind and my heart, which reflect what I prize and prioritize. Help me seek first the Kingdom of God and Your righteousness, and I know that all these [other] things will be added unto me (Matthew 6:33)— and they’ll be added free of anxiety and stress, wandering and wondering, and I’ll be liberated from double-mindedness and instability in all my ways. . .