Do You Believe – I Mean Really Believe? Part 2 of 3
Polonius asked Hamlet, “What do you read my lord?” Hamlet replied, “Words, words, words.”
The average man, I am told, uses only four or five thousand words in his normal speech, however, he is able to understand a great number more when he hears or reads them in context.
I have a keen interest in words. I read that Shakespeare used over twenty thousand words and men like Charles Harrington Elste, a wordsmith and author of many books on vocabulary, including the vocabulary builder “Verbal Advantage”, perhaps uses more words than even Shakespeare did. I am sure there are some erudite individuals who have a plethora of words that they will never use and if they did, few would understand their meaning. When I was in Junior High and High School my vocabulary was not that advanced, probably well below average, it wasn’t until much later that I cultivated an interest in words and their meanings. Social psychologists say that we think in words. Without words all our thinking processes would be limited at best. I believe I can categorically say that words are one key tool that should be paramount in our lives if we are to improve intellectually.
Over the years some words have changed in meaning. Some have drastically changed. In the 1930’s if you had a “bad” car it meant your car didn’t run very well, but sometime in the 50’s and 60’s the word ”bad” began to transmute to take on an entirely different meaning in certain circles. Thus having a ”bad” car meant it looked good and ran fast.
The word “gay” has certainly traduced itself and slithered down a perverted road far from its original meaning. Still other words have been over used, which in my opinion has “dumbed-down” or weakened their original definition. One of these words is love. We have loved the word love so much that we have worn it out. We love everything from chocolate cake to our children. This is especially applicable in our Christian walk and all that pertains to it. The word “believe” is weakened considerably in our Christian circles. I believe many of us do not really believe. We toss it around like other biblical words i.e., grace meekness, worship, and holiness.
In out last issue I wrote about “Selective Belief”. I stated that selective belief is somewhat different than double mindedness. While selective belief is a damning toxin that must be excommunicated from our thinking, double-mindedness is just as noisome and deadly, if not more so. While selective belief is a part time belief, i.e., choosing to believe at one particular time or not, double-mindedness is trying to believe two contrasting thoughts at the same time. In Psychology this is called “cognitive dissonance” The text book definition of cognitive dissonance is: the perception of incompatibility between two cognitions, where “cognition” is defined as any element of knowledge including attitude, emotion, belief, or behavior. In other words, it is the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts at the same time.”
Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia
Being a double-minded man, unstable is all his ways.
What does it me to be double-minded? The word is “disucaus.” “Di” means two and the word “sucaus” means soul. In the literal since we are talking about a two-souled man.
This individual is perhaps the most miserable of all who claim to know the LORD. These people have one hold on the word and a hold on the world at the same time. They have a desire of being conformed to the world and conformed to the image of Christ as well, which is like trying to mix oil and water. The doubled-minded have enough “religion” to make them miserable. We cannot hold onto the world and to Yeshua simultaneously.
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4
A double-minded person is not only unhappy and confused but a truculent individual who often finds himself in spiritual rebellion not only with God but with others.
What is the source of quarrels and conflict among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wages in your members.” James 4:1
A double-minded person is full of himself. One who is double minded is consumed with his own lust. These people never see prayers answered, they are miserable in all they do - they can’t even sin and enjoy it and they can’t communicate with God because there is no communication. They are indeed in a sad state.
A double-minded person finds that when real trouble comes that their walk with God is specious and counterfeit. The word specious connotes something that appears to be right or even good but upon closer examination proves to be artificial and false. When our belief is really tested and squeezed then whatever is in our lives will come out, whether righteousness or self-righteousness/wickedness. We saw this in the aftermath of Katrina, we witnessed the best and the worst of the milieu of that area.
While simultaneously trying to go in two different directions something will have to give and it will eventually be the double- minded individual himself.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24
This kind of spiritual double vision will cause one to believe he can serve two masters, but loyalty to God cannot be divided between wealth or anything else. God wants all of you and not a divided mind.
The word “mammon” in the Greek is “mammanos”. Most translators and commentaries translate it as money or wealth. The world tells us that it’s money that will provide power, provide security, give hope, and dispel fear. What a bonafide counterfeit we have here. For only God can give us power, provide security, hope, and dispel all fear.
What is the cure for being double-minded? James has it, but we like to quote the first part of the package deal…resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7
Let’s quote all of what James is talking about
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts you double-minded.
Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourself in the presence of the LORD, and He will exalt you. James 4:7-10
A Church House God
One, who has a church house god, has just that, a church house god. Their relationship with God is based solely on whatever is going on in the church they attend. Their definition of God is based on fellowship, home groups, preaching and worship. Don’t misunderstand, all these can be fruitful and wonderful expressions of ones relationship with God and about God, even about finding God. But in too many cases they can replace God Himself and can usurp His authority. Take away all the props and many will fall. Many only know God by how their church or prayer group describes Him. I know of a group that is attended by some well meaning people. I know one person very well that attends this group. The group boldly trumpets the love of God, His forgiveness, and His grace. They speak of his acceptance of the lifestyle of all. Yet they seldom if ever mention sin, repentance, holy living. They trumpet loudly about God’s love and grace, but there’s a deafening silence when it comes to His other attributes.
Do we know God in a personal manner? Do we know and believe the God of the Bible? If there were no church, if Sister Sarah was not there to take your phone call, or Brother Sam to meet you for coffee, if the prayer group did not exist and Pastor Dan preached no sermons, would you still believe? Would we still know God? What if there were no Sabbath meetings or Torah studies, would you still believe?
It’s Grace - No, It’s Works
We must change our way of thinking if we are to believe, I mean really believe. Our minds must be totally renewed, our thinking must be under the control of the Holy Spirit. If not our minds will be our downfall, our own worldly thoughts will be our captors.
Even so faith, if it has no works is dead being by itself.
I grew up a Southern Baptist and we were good at several things other than explosive business meetings and dinner on the grounds. We were good at promoting grace and demoting works. While most Catholics will base their total salvation on works we evangelicals ride the grace train through the most sinful tunnels. Both grace and works are in complete sync, they walk in complete balance.
For just as the body without the spirit is dead, faith without works is dead. James 2:26
Believing is more than head knowledge. The demons believe. You better believe they believe.
You believe the God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
James 2: 19
The King James says the demons tremble. They see the spiritual world with great acuity, so much that they actually tremble. Do you tremble? Do you shudder? Do your actions reflect your belief?
However, it is possible to tremble at one moment and the next not only deny God but rebel against Him
The Children of Israel heard the voice of God and they trembled. They trembled and stood at a distance and pleaded with Moses that he alone speaks to them for if they keep hearing the voice of God they will die.
But when Moses had been on the mountain of God for forty days and nights they forgot about the voice of God, they lost the ability to tremble and they rebelled and a golden calf was made.
The word believe, I mean believe in its fullest sense is tantamount to works and action.
Action can be full of motion or it can be quite still. Sometimes being still can show the most action. Such is the case with an incident in the life of Joshua that can almost be overlooked.
Please read all of Exodus chapter 24. This is a short but difficult and important teaching and in my opinion it is one of the strongest Torah teachings anywhere in scripture on believing, but it’s almost invisible and seldom taught. I believe this teaching is the Ramah teaching of the Torah, i.e., the deeper, esoteric hidden part. I first was introduced to this short but powerful teaching in part from Monte Judah years ago.
Moses is about to receive the Ten Commandments.
Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel.
Exodus 24: 9
Who all is in this group? There is Moses, Aaron, the two sons of Aaron, the 70 elders, but a few verses later we discover there is also Joshua. Look at verses 12 and 13.
Now the LORD said to Moses, come up to me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandments which I have written for their instruction. So Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and Moses went up to the mountain of God.
But what is really going on here?
Moses goes up the mountain, the others go down, in verse 13 Moses arose with Joshua his servant, and he Moses went up to the mountain of God. Where did Joshua go? Moses was instructed to go up alone. Moses said to the elders, but we will return to you. Who are we? Joshua and Moses. Joshua was with Moses but yet he wasn’t. The others had gone back down to the camp. Where did Joshua go? Joshua apparently went with Moses but not all the way. Moses said I am leaving Aaron and Hur in charge to take care of legal matters. They were to take care of matters down below in the camp. Moses went up, but where is Joshua? Where is Joshua and what is he doing? The Torah does not tell us plainly but we can conclude that Joshua is part way up the mountain. He is halfway between that holy place where Moses is having that all inspiring involvement with God and the camp itself. Joshua is sitting part way up on the mountain. He is not all the way up, but he is not sitting in the camp either.
Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. Exodus 24:18
Moses had been on the mountain forty days and forty nights. We know what Moses was doing, at least part of the time. He was in the presence of God receiving the Ten Commandments. We know what the Children of Israel were doing. But what about Joshua, what was he doing? There was a lot of action taking place at least with Moses and those in the camp. But what action was taking place with Joshua. What was he doing? He was believing and his believing was being manifested by his obedience and his obedience was simply to wait and it was a forty day and forty night wait Joshua just waited. Near the end of the forty day and night wait Joshua knew something was going on in the camp that shouldn’t be, but he didn’t know what. He also knew Moses was in the presence of an all powerful God receiving the Ten Commandments but as for Joshua, he was just in between the two places, believing and waiting. He is a servant; he is an obedient servant because he believes. He has been told to wait and he waits. Now we know in Exodus 32:17 Moses comes off the mountain after forty days and nights. Moses meets up with Joshua again who is still waiting. Joshua knows something is going on in the camp, he thinks it is a sound of war. Perhaps he could see a little or hear faintly but he doesn’t know because he is separate from the camp, but he had not been with Moses either. However, Moses knew for the LORD had told him in verse 7 of chapter 32 that the people had corrupted themselves. This was the time when they summoned Aaron to make the golden calf.
It is not the sound of the cry of the triumph, nor is the sound of the cry of defeat; but the sound of singing that I hear.
All this time Joshua’s job was to wait. He was to wait for Moses to return. He was actually between holiness and the complete antithesis of holiness and he was obedient because he waited. Joshua believed and he proved his belief by his obedience. Moses was in the presence of God, the people in the camp were corrupting themselves, but Joshua was just there waiting. Joshua, Joshua, believing waiting Joshua, how your life is a witness to us all. His believing and obedience was rewarded years later. Moses had two sons but God told him to choose Joshua. The great and dying prophet Moses anointed Joshua to be the next leader. Moses gave Joshua this charge.
Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give them for an inheritance. The lord is the one who goes ahead of you, he will not fail or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:7-8
The LORD Himself gave Joshua a charge after Moses.
...Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9
I began this article writing about words and their meaning. I trust when you see and use the word “believe” you will grasp the full gravity of that word and all that it entails. Do not dilute it, but embrace it for all it is. Our definition must transcend to the extreme boundaries of that word. I ask again: Do you believe, I mean really believe?
Now may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless you through His Son Yeshua.
In His Service,
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem