Double-Mindedness Plays A Role In Depression

When you ask, you must believe {trust, be persuaded} and not doubt, because the one who doubts {vacillates} 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.” James 1:6-8

The Greek word for double-minded is: “Dipsuchos.” It means to be of two minds, or wavering. HELPS word studies describes the double-minded person as: “Vacillating, like a spiritual schizophrenic”

Another way of saying this would be that a person who is “of two minds” is experiencing cognitive dissonance. This happens when we attempt to adhere to two opposing beliefs at the same time.

Each of us hold to certain beliefs about God and what we believe about His character. If we’ve looked to the Bible to help us develop our beliefs about what God is like, we’ve discovered many qualities that God tells us that He possesses; qualities like loving, strong, faithful and compassionate, our help in times of trouble, our healer, our provider, etc.

Cognitive dissonance can, however, set in when we go through a traumatic experience then walk away from it with the perception that God didn’t come through for us…When it looks to us like He didn’t act like we expected Him to based on our knowledge of His character; when we feel disappointed in Him.

When the way God acts (or doesn’t act) when we need Him doesn’t seem to line up with what we believe about God, we have a decision to make. We can either allow our perceptions of God to change our theology, or we can attempt to hold onto it. If our perceptions cause our hearts to believe a lie about Him while simultaneously holding to truth about God, cognitive dissonance has just set in. Instability and double-mindedness have also set in.

If we have the perception that God hasn’t come through for us, it can create disappointment and anger in us. This often isn’t on a conscious level. As “good Christians,” we don’t like to entertain such thoughts, so we tend to pretend they aren’t there. Feelings of being disappointed with God often go unresolved because we somehow think that it’s wrong to tell God how we really feel.

An example from my own life of this type of double-mindedness began with the news that my husband and I were expecting our first child. We were so excited when we got the news that I was pregnant. It’s remarkable to me how parents can bond so deeply with a child that they have never yet seen or held in their arms. When it became apparent that we were losing our child, the pleading with God began. In the end, we were left with empty arms. I longed for comfort from God, but I felt like when I needed Him the most He was silent and distant. I felt abandoned. Then came the second miscarriage. Since I’d never addressed the pain from the first miscarriage, this only intensified what I’d already been feeling.

In my heart, I came into agreement with some lies…lies that said that God had abandoned me, that I need never expect to get comfort from God when I was really hurting.

If someone had asked me what I believed about God during this time, I would have told them that God never forsakes His people; that He comforts and loves us. But my PERCEPTION was something different altogether.  I didn’t understand that I had become double-minded. I was trying to hold on to two opposing beliefs about God at the same time. The book of James tells us that the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. The instability caused by believing that God is who He says He is while at the same time believing that He is not who He says He is can be a door-opener to anxiety and depression. This distrust toward God has another name. It’s called unbelief.

One of Satan’s top agendas is to tempt believers to distrust God, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we are tempted to believe lies about Him. Talking about unbelief among believers seems to stir up feelings of condemnation and shame. There seems to be an unspoken expectation that once we’re saved, it is inconceivable that we would ever be tempted by (much less experience) unbelief. This is simply not true. Some of the most faithful men and women in the Bible struggled at times with unbelief. In Luke chapter 1, we are told that Zechariah was “upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments BLAMELESSLY,” yet we are told he struggled to believe God when an angel told him that he and his wife would bear a son in their old age. The important thing is what we do with the temptation to entertain untrue thoughts about God.

So how do we trust that God is who He says He is when tragedy hits? When we look at our life circumstances and ask, “How can any good come out of this? When the way our life is turning out isn’t what we’d hoped for, planned for, worked so hard for?… When we feel that God has turned a deaf ear to our prayers in the midst of a crisis? Sometimes the hand we’re dealt in life makes it hard to trust that God is all those wonderful things He says He is…loving and strong, compassionate, our rescuer, our comforter, our protector.

So where does all this leave us? What should we do once we recognize that our trust in God has taken a big hit? How do we re-establish trust in God and get rid of double-mindedness?

We have a decision to make…will we trust our own perceptions about God, or will we trust what God says about Himself? As long as we continue the exhausting effort of trying to simultaneously believe truth and lies about God, the instability will remain. Stability will return when we decide which mindset we’ll hold onto and which one we will renounce.

Hebrews 6:18 tells us that “it is impossible for God to lie.” His word also tells us that “He never changes.” (James 1:17) Who will we trust when we believe that we have evidence that God has lied? Will we choose to believe our own perceptions, or God’s word?

In order overcome double-mindedness we need to identify any lies that we may have come into agreement with about God.  If you can relate to my struggle with double-mindedness, I want to offer you an opportunity to do this. If you’re willing, let’s look back just long enough to see if there’s any weight of unbelief that we’ve been unnecessarily dragging along. The first step toward overcoming double-mindedness is to ask God to help us. Psalm 139:23 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

If this is something you’d like to ask God for, please agree with me in prayer:

“Dear Lord,

We’re asking you to search our hearts. Please begin the process of restoring our hearts and help us to identify any areas where we may be double-minded. We don’t want to believe any lies about you, so we’re asking you to expose any lies that we may believe.  We ask that you would give us undivided hearts and put a new spirit in us. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

One of my main objectives in writing this blog is to equip participants with practical tools for heart restoration. I want to invite each of you to reach into the Heart restoration toolbox and give it a try.

This exercise has proved to be a powerful tool for restoring trust in God in places where our feelings and/or perceptions may not be lining up with the truth in God’s word. It is designed to teach the concept of identifying areas where we may find it difficult to trust God. It is not intended to be the “end-all” answer. The Holy Spirit knows our hearts fully, and above all, He is the One who is truly able to reveal our own hearts to us.

How to identify areas where our hearts may be finding it difficult to trust God:

This is a 3-step process:

Step one: take the self-analysis, asking the Holy Spirit to guide you. Don’t over-think your answers. Answer the questions based on your perception of God, not on what you think your perception of Him should be. If you feel a little angst rise up in your heart at some of the questions, you may have just hit a nerve. Mark that one. Step two: Compare our perceptions of God with the word of God. This page coincides with the Self-Analysis you just took. For example, if you checked #2 in step one, go to #2 in step two to see what the Bible says about that point.

Step three: Reaffirming and restoring our trust in God. This is where we make a decision: will you continue to trust your own perceptions about God, or will you choose to discard lies about Him and reaffirm the truth? If we have discovered any double-mindedness in ourselves, this is how we cast it off.

Step 1: Trusting God: A Self-Analysis:

Circle any places where you might be finding it difficult to trust God:

  • 1. God is both loving and strong
  • 2. God will never abandon me
  • 3. God is just
  • 4. God will help me when I need it
  • 5. God cares about my pain
  • 6. God is willing and able to restore me mentally and emotionally
  • 7. God loves me
  • 8. God doesn’t play favorites. The rules are the same for everyone
  • 9. God has good intentions toward me
  • 10. God will meet my financial needs
  • 11. God will rescue me when I need it
  • 12. God is my peace. I can experience peace in this life
  • 13. God keeps His promises. He does not lie
  • 14. God is my loving Father
  • 15. God is my Protector
  • 16. God is my guide
  • 17. God is good
  • 18. God will act on my behalf
  • 19. God Comforts the depressed
  • 20. God rewards those who diligently seek Him
  • 21. God answers prayer
  • 22. God is my healer
  • 23. God is my comforter
  • 24. God is kind
  • 25. God wants a close relationship with me
  • 26. Other: ___________________________

Step 2: Comparing our perceptions of God with the word of God:

  1. God is BOTH loving and strong: “One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving.”  Psalm 62:11-12
  2. God will never abandon me: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9
  3. God is just: “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.”  Deut. 32:4
  4. God will help me when I need it: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
  5. God cares about my pain: “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.  The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all He has made.” Psalm 145:8:
  6. God is willing and able to restore me mentally and emotionally: “He restores my soul…”  Psalm 23:3 “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
  7. God loves me: “This is real love–not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4
  8. God doesn’t play favorites; the rules are the same for everyone: “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe.”  Deuteronomy 10:17
  9. God has good intentions toward me: ’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
  10. God will meet my financial needs: “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19
  11. God will rescue me when I need it: “’Because he loves me’, says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.’” Psalm 91:14-15
  12. God is my peace; I can experience peace in this life: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”  John 14:27
  13. God keeps his promises. He does not lie: “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” Numbers 23:19
  14. God is my loving Father: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:12 “…for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God.” John 16:27
  15. God is my protector: “’Because he loves me’, says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.’” Psalm 91:14-15
  16. God is my guide: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”  Psalm 32:8
  17. God is good: “The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.”  Psalm 145:8
  18. God will act on my behalf: “I will cry to God Most High, to God who accomplishes all things for me.”  Psalm 57:2
  19. God comforts the depressed: “But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us…” 2Cor. 7:6
  20. God rewards those who diligently seek Him:“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
  21. God answers prayer: “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.  He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.”  Psalm 91:14-15 “I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!” Isaiah 65:24
  22. God is my healer: “I am the LORD, your healer.” Exodus 15:26 “He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
  23. God is my comforter: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  24. God is kind: “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
  25. God wants a close relationship with me: “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8


Step 3: Reaffirming and Restoring Our Trust in God:

God’s word tells us that He is ALL of these things and more. When our feelings or perceptions tell us that He isn’t, we have a choice to make. Will we choose to agree with God’s word? Or our feelings and perceptions? This is the reality of walking by faith and not by sight. Faith means choosing to believe God even when it looks or feels like God has betrayed our trust. If you have identified areas where you are finding it difficult to trust God, are you willing to reaffirm your faith in this area? If so, let’s do this!

“Dear Lord, I have identified an area where I have been having a hard time trusting you.  I now recognize that this is the sin of unbelief. I have believed the lie that says that you have not been_____________(my protector, faithful, my rescuer, etc.). Please forgive me.  I no longer want to believe lies about you.  Right now I am making a decision to CHOOSE to believe that you are everything that you say you are.  I renounce the lie that tells me that you have been untrue to your nature in any way.  I CHOOSE to believe your word instead of my feelings or perceptions. (Repeat for each area you have struggled to trust God)

“Thank you for revealing your character through your word.  I believe your word is true when it says, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) Thank you for your grace, and thank you that I can trust you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I hope this 3 step process will help you reestablish trust in God’s absolute faithfulness. For me, this hasn’t been a “one and done” process. Life continues to happen. Our trust can feel tattered after traumatic events. I periodically do a “heart check” with the Lord. If depression is caused by double-mindedness, I’ve found that reaffirming my trust in God restores joy instantly. May the Lord bless you with single-minded trust in Him,


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