Anselm (1033-1109) said…

O Lord our God, grant us grace to desire Thee with our whole heart; that, so desiring, we may seek, and seeking find Thee; and so finding Thee may love Thee; and loving Thee, may hate those sins from which Thou hast redeemed us.

James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? 8 Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James said that a person who doubts is as unstable as the waves of the sea (1:7, 8). Why do we doubt? It has to do with the focus of our faith and prayers. From James 4 it is clear that people with double hearts are not completely committed to God. They want to live according to worldly standards (4:4). It causes them to be in direct conflict with God and their fellow human beings. When they pray it is not about God or their fellow human beings, but about themselves and their own desires (4:2, 3). Their motives are wrong.

James writes to a divided congregation. They quarrel, fight and discriminate. They humiliate and oppress the poor (James 2 en 5). How can we worship God and expect the blessing of God while we follow the “wisdom” of the world (3:14-16)? Just as in the Old Testament, God closes his ears when we worship him from our hearts, but in the same heart, there is no place for other people. No, before we pray, we should make sure that our focus is right. There is no place for double-mindedness before God. We should confess it, mourn about it and remove it from our lives (4:8, 9). God asks that we serve him with a single mind, and undivided heart. It means that we should humble ourselves before Him. God wants our lives for Him alone (4:5). Only then, our focus will be correct. Only then, there will be stability in our lives, because our focus will be right. Then it is about God, not about us. Then we may expect everything from Him.

Lord, transplant your heart of love into us and remove our double hearts, by the power of your Spirit. Amen.