Debate Team or Wrestling Team?
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:6-8
I went to a small high school of just 200 students, where it was normal to participate in multiple extracurricular activities. Over the winter season, I truly wanted to be on the debate team, but I was also a wrestler. The two activities often coincided, holding competitions on the same Saturdays. My debate coach wanted me to split those Saturdays evenly with wrestling, which simply wasn’t an option. I wanted to be on the debate team, but when it came down to choosing, I always picked wrestling. To my debate coach, my commitment was anemic. To her, I declared that I wanted to be on the debate team, yet I showed up when I wanted and abandoned debate for wrestling whenever there was a conflict. I was double-minded and uncommitted.
Much later, I displayed this same tendency in my addiction. Yes, I desired recovery and a sober life. I intended to follow God. Yet I remained unwilling to get help and every time the cravings came, I went straight back to the pill. I wanted the new life, but my behavior revealed that my commitment was to my old life.
I see this all the time now in others who’re struggling with addiction. In treatment or jail, they swear they want to find faith and recovery, but when they get out, they chase women, hang out in bars, and go back to the same old self-centered lifestyle as before. They don’t go to meetings. They don’t change their lives. And they don’t stay sober very long. They’re double-minded, desiring the new life, but unable to let go of the old one.
Today’s passage speaks to this mindset. In it, James instructed us to ask God for wisdom when we need it. We must, however, ask with no doubting. This lack of doubt doesn’t mean that we become absolutely convinced of the outcome. The Greek word means vacillation. No doubt means no hesitation. It means when we seek God, we must commit. We can’t experience the new life if we’re still clinging to the old one.
Lack of doubt doesn’t mean no uncertainty. It means that to find the life for which we were made, to know faith and recovery, we must seek it as if we truly want it. If we desire the new life, we must commit to it radically and completely, doing whatever it takes to let go of the old.