The Stumbling Block of Self Protection - David Mitts
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Being steady in the storms of life comes from a certain kind of thinking, a certain perspective. The opposite of that perspective is called a stumbling block, a perspective that causes instability or a double-mindedness, a divided heart.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.(Jas 1:5-8).
How do we ask in faith without doubt? Well, the real question is how does doubt come into our thinking? What is the origin of doubts in our heart? What actually is doubt? When we say, “I doubt it” what does that actually mean?
Doubt is a feeling of uncertainty about something. James describes doubt like the surf of the sea. He says it is like being tossed by the wind. It is a condition of the heart that arises out of something called being double-minded, which is described as being unstable.
So what is double-mindedness? I thought for many years that being double-minded was a condition where I was vacillating between having faith and lack of faith or doubt. But then I realized that the double-mindedness was actually doubt, not going back and forth between faith and doubt. It isn’t that I have faith and doubt but only doubt. So, why is it called double-minded if it is only one thing? Because doubt is a kind of thinking rooted in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is the thinking that separates us from God and thus keeps us from receiving from God. It is duality, which is the nature of the thinking from that tree.
It is the thinking which is at the root of all suffering, all poverty, all sickness, all mental and emotional health issues. Let’s look fresh at the tree account one more time to see what I am talking about.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."(Gen 3:1-5)
What the serpent was offering was doubt based thinking. What doubt was called by the serpent, was “being like God by knowing good and evil, double-mindedness.” What does it mean to know good and evil? It means to become the judge in our own experience, to make conclusions about life and live out of those conclusions. In that, an illusion is created that we call reality, and truly we are acting as if we are God. This is the cause of all our suffering including the idea that we can die.
The question is what in our lives is the power generator for the Tree, the duality, the double-mindedness, doubt driven, wind-tossed life that James describes, apart from God?
Yeshua called this the stumbling block. He says it his way: "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! (Mat 18:7).
When I read this, I thought I don’t want to be that man! When I began to think a little deeper, I realized that it wasn’t any particular man, but the man through whom all stumbling blocks come!
Who is that man? Adam. What powered Adam? The lies of the serpent. His stumbling block brought woes to the world. Double-mindedness is the stumbling block. It comes from “good-evil” knowing. It comes directly from the accuser, the devil.
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
This the power generator for double-mindedness, for misery. It is the system that powers the fallen world. How does it work? What is the scheme or plan of attack on God’s sons and daughters? Well, it all goes back to that first conversation, the prototype of listening to the voice of the enemy.
The son and daughter listened to doubt. They listened to accusation. What was the accusation rooted in, anchored by? A lie about the love of God. Love means that someone has your best interest in their heart. They would sacrifice their own interests for you. They would lose, if losing meant you would win. They would lay down their life for yours. The serpent deceived the son and daughter of God by speaking his native tongue, accusation. He breathed a lie about the trustworthiness of God, about His love nature. He actually accused God of being like himself, a being whose native thoughts and reality are about needing to control others through doubt and control.
When the son and daughter listened to that voice and allowed it to enter their heart, they already ate of the tree of duality even before they physically consumed of its fruit.
Everything works by words and the thoughts that enter the heart through believing in those words, even if they are lies.
When the words of the accuser were received, a stumbling block occurred. Those who walked with God in the cool of the day stumbled. They got tripped up and lost confidence in their walk. The stumbling block is called skandalon in Greek which also is translated elsewhere as an offense. It literally means the snare of a trap.
An offense, a snare, a stumbling block, the power of double-mindedness, duality, all suffering, being alienated from God. How does that happen? Well when we get offended, we ascribe pain to an individual or circumstance. We give power and reality to an idea. The idea is that we cannot trust God to love us and instead chose to freeze reality through fear and believe that the reality we think has the power to kill us in some fashion.
You say, “wait a minute, that isn’t what happened when I got offended.” Yes it is! You just don’t realize it. It is a deception from the father of lies so it seems real but it is an illusion based on an idea rooted in fear.
When we get offended, we stumble in our walk because we allow the offense to cause us, because we don’t like the pain which reminds us of death, to want to control the pain by deciding how reality is and then we freeze the true reality of God’s life into our own double-mindedness, our own duality thinking of right and wrong, good and evil. Our attempt to control our pain leads us to make decisions about a person or a circumstance which has legitimately hurt us, but that decision is rooted self-preservation and thus is fear based and brings us to think of ourselves as mortal beings who will die.
That is NOT who we are. We are who God says we are. We are eternal beings having a brief mortal interaction which we will one day soon trade in for our real nature which is immortal and eternal. I don’t want to get too much into who we truly are today because I want to address the double-mindedness, the stumbling block, the offenses which are used by the enemy to deceive us into self-protection which is a lie of mortality, the fear-based reality which keeps us from walking in our true nature as sons and daughters of the true eternal lover, our tender, and compassionate God.
So, if offense is the engine that powers the lie-based reality of the world then what is the solution? How can we become those who walk on water? We can through the example of Yeshua who overcame the world. His final action on the cross is our call to life, the key of the kingdom. He forgave. The cross wasn’t just the forgiveness of our sins. It was the mechanism to show us how even when the body, the temporal earthsuit we wear for a short while, is destroyed by sin, dies, even then, forgiveness is the key for release eternal life into our experience both now and forever.
We have to forgive the offense. Offense is the strategy of the accuser, his stumbling block. Forgiveness, which is really the release of any decision against another or a situation, like our race, our family story, our education, our social standing, anything we have empowered above the absolute dependence on the absolute love of God who died for us and would again and again. Forgiveness releases us from the frozen reality of double-mindedness. Forgiveness is really His love through us and transforms us back to those who have overcome the world, water walkers.
Activation: What have you been offended by? Who has hurt you that you allowed to darken your experience of the light? It’s time to release them because God loves them and you. Hold no offense. Be free from the law of sin and death and walk in the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.