When my daughter Cali was four years old, she was diagnosed with a form of lazy eye. This was not a wandering eye, it just meant that the muscles in one of her eyes were a little lazy forming, and it created vision issues for her. If corrective lenses did not strengthen the muscles in her eye then her vision would be severely and permanently damaged. She began wearing glasses, and she is able to see perfectly with them. The lenses bring unity to her eyes and strengthen her vision. Besides, now that she’s 16, I think she looks absolutely beautiful with her glasses! Cali’s childhood vision issues are a perfect example of our adult struggles with seeing things clearly.
In James 1:8 Scripture says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” The context of this statement in the passage points back to receiving wisdom from God, but this man is unable to do so because he wavers, is unsettled and doubts. What’s the doubt? Where is he wavering? Why is he unsettled? These are great questions that I believe we all need to answer. Because, if I’m being totally honest, I DOUBT – I WAVER – I AM UNSETTLED! In fact, there’s a lot more than just that going on inside of me, most of which, if you knew about you’d probably be shocked by the seat I occupy.
Or, maybe you wouldn’t? Maybe you too, in a moment of genuine honesty, would say, “boy Josh, I sound an awful lot like the guy in James 1:8.”
So, why does this happen? How do Cali’s glasses correlate with this problem? It all has to do with our own vision. Not the physical right eye – left eye vision, but the spiritual vision by which I see everything, including God. Paul tells me in Ephesians 2 that I am saved by grace through faith plus NOTHING. This whole salvation offer from God has NOTHING to do with what I can do, can’t do, haven’t done, or have done. When I see God through the corrective lenses of grace, this picture of salvation is crystal clear. However, etched in my brain is decades of performance-based relationships. I have what I have because of what I’ve done and continue to do. This is what life in this world has taught me.
So, what Paul teaches me, the positional truth, and what the world has taught me, a functional lie, creates a dichotomy. The James passage is referencing this dichotomy. The word “double-minded” in Greek literally means “two souled.” One soul that is weak and attached to this world’s functional lie, and another, which is strong and has its foundation in the clear truth of the gospel. The new stronger soul has replaced the weak original soul, but my human default is the functional lie that, “I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!” When the weak and strong mix, my eyes cross and my vision is blurry. I stumble around. I waver. I am unsettled. And, I am unable to receive wisdom from God, because I can’t focus on him.
The solution? I must put on the corrective lenses of Scripture to see the truth of God’s grace clearly. Again, Paul tells me in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; all things have become new.” That old version of me that walks and talks in the functional lie is truly dead. I’m brand new. Completely recreated. God stepped in and “shaped a genesis week in the chaos of my life!” (Ps 51:10 MSG) I can see Him and the whole world clearly through the lenses of Scripture. It is His gift to me to correct my cross-eyed view of grace. It’s truly not about what I can do, but what He did. And in those blurry moments, when I’m ashamed because I’ve removed my glasses and walked in the functional lie of my old self; God reaches down and takes my face in his hands so my eyes are looking right at Him, puts my glasses back on and reminds me of His great love for me. (Ps 3:3 author’s translation)
You and I might struggle with having to admit that we need the corrective lenses of Scripture to see things clearly. We tend to not listen and like to do our own thing. We certainly don’t like to be told what we can and can’t do. It certainly takes an adjustment to get used to wearing our lenses, and we might be afraid of what people think of us. But, you know what? When God looks at me, He thinks I look pretty great. Kind of like I think Cali does, only infinitely more. He thinks the same about you. He looks into your eyes and takes great joy in loving you.
So, keep your glasses on. See the world and your Savior clearly. You look great. I should know, cause I’ve got my glasses on!