“I hate double-minded people,
but I love Your law.”
Psalm 119:113 NIV
Two strong, emotionally-charged, words come out in this verse – “love” and “hate”. In meaning, they are opposites. But in the context of this verse what is the connection between being double-minded and God’s law? Is the implication something to do with the reality that we must be single-minded when it comes to following God and His ways? Is being “double-minded” something that is at odds with a Godly life?
First of all, what does “double-minded” mean? One dictionary definition says that “double-minded” means “wavering in mind, vacillating”. Perhaps we get some idea what these verses mean from James 1:6-8, “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because 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.” What James is describing here is a person who has divided loyalties. On the one hand he or she wants to follow God and His ways, but on the other hand they still want to live a worldly life. They are “double-minded”.
But surely “hating” the “double-minded” isn’t right. I think the Psalmist uses such strong language to highlight the importance of not wanting to keep a foot in both camps. There is no middle ground. I think we have all seen videos of someone who has tried to step out of a small boat onto dry land, only to end up in the water because the boat wasn’t attached to the bank. It’s a bit like that – if we try and keep both feet dry, we will end up wet in a place we didn’t want to be! We need to “hate” the thought of trying to be two things at once. In Revelation we read about the message from Jesus to the Laodicean church. He said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth“. Jesus used strong language in referring to double-minded people.
In our pilgrimage, we can’t afford to be double-minded. We have to press on towards the goal that Paul described in Philippians 3:14. If we persist in pursuing other goals we will fall by the wayside, unable to finish the race. The key in doing this is the second part of our verse in Psalm 119. The Psalmist said, “I love Your law.” Single-mindedly, we pursue God and His ways, sure of our destiny, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 3:1). There is no other way.