One of the most effective ways we overcome depression is to recognize when our hearts have become divided. Have you ever noticed that a divided heart and a broken heart look a lot alike? There’s a reason for that. Divided hearts come about when there’s been a tearing. A dividing of that which used to be whole. United. Stable. Pain seeps in where our hearts are torn. No kidding, right?
The Bible uses another term to describe a divided heart. It’s called double-mindedness. It’s when we attempt to believe two opposing things at the same time. James 1:6-8 says,
“…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.”
Double-mindedness settles into our hearts when both doubt and faith reside there. Part of us believes that God is Who He says He is. Part of us believes that He isn’t. Our hearts are trying to hold onto two opposing beliefs about God at the same time. Our hearts have become divided. The result is depression. Instability. And pain. Lots of pain. We’re divided against ourselves.
Double-mindedness sets in as a result of some painful life experience where our PERCEPTION is that God didn’t keep His promise. If our life experience leaves us FEELING like God has failed to be true to His character, doubt can set in. But in an attempt to be good Christians, we often try to submerge those doubts. Ignore them. After all, we know (in our heads) that God cannot lie, so we shove the doubts down, putting them under lock and key. We attempt to hold onto two opposing beliefs: “God keeps His promises…God broke His promise.” “God is my Protector…God didn’t protect.” We’ve become double-minded. And it rips our hearts in two. It’s so hard to get a firm footing on our emotions when our hearts are ripped in two.
It’s in this place that we have a choice to make. What will we use as our plum-line to tell us what is true? Will it be our perceptions? Our feelings? Or the word of God? Will we dare to believe that God’s word is true even when it doesn’t look like it is? Even when we feel betrayed by God? This, dear friends is what it looks like to have our faith tested. Having our faith tested happens in the fire. It’s painful and HARD. No one is saying that it’s easy to trust God when it LOOKS like He’s lied to us. It isn’t easy. But it is possible.
Sometimes when I feel like it’s just too hard to have faith in the fire, I remember Job. The Bible says he was blameless and upright, a man who feared God and shunned evil. And yet…
- He went from riches to rags when his oxen, camels and donkeys were stolen
- His servants were murdered
- Fire fell from heaven and killed his sheep
- A wind caused the house where his sons and daughters were to collapse, killing them all
- His wife tried to persuade Him to curse God and die
- His friends falsely accused him of deserving all the tragedy had happened to him.
And we think we’ve got problems. Well, actually, we do. Our problems are real and they’ve caused deep pain and anguish in our hearts. But we can be inspired by Job. If he can keep the faith in the midst of all that he went through, so can we. Job honored God in the midst of his pain, and he was rewarded for it.
So, what do we do if we recognize that we’ve become double-minded? How do we get back to single-minded belief in God?
First of all, by identifying any lies we believe about God. Stop long enough to ask ourselves, “What did I need from God but didn’t think (or feel) like I got?” Was it protection? Healing? Comfort? An answer? Provision?
Once you’ve identified what you needed from Him, then look to the Bible to see what God says about Himself on that topic. Then make a choice. Will you reaffirm that God is Who He says He is? Will you renounce any lies you may be holding onto about God? It’s a choice. It’s when we take up the shield of faith that our hearts are protected. Stable. Healed.
Hebrews 10 says,
“…let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings…Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful…do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
Brothers and sisters, let’s not vacillate between two opinions of God. He is faithful. He keeps His promises. He does not lie or change. He is worthy of our trust. May you know Him today as the One who comforts you,