Double lives aren’t just for spies. I was reminded of this reality when the double life of a young woman I’ve been mentoring was recently exposed. On the outside she seemed to be living her life for Jesus. She smiled a lot. She wore Christian T-shirts. She never missed church or youth group, and she talked the talk about faith and purity and living to please the Lord. That’s why those of us who love her were undone when we discovered that she was secretly choosing a life of sin. For months, she has been living a double life—one as a young woman committed to Christ and one as a young woman choosing to sin repeatedly.
I’m close enough to the situation to know that when double lives are exposed it doesn’t look like a James Bond movie. Hearts are broken. Lives are torn apart. Sin’s power to deceive and destroy is on full display.
It worries me to think that some of you may be leading double lives. You’re one way at church or with your families and someone else entirely behind closed doors. You’re locked in a pattern of sin you feel you cannot break free from, but you refuse to confess your sin and ask for accountability. You’re choosing to stay in a secret romantic relationship that has been forbidden by your parents. You put on a mask of happiness when you’re with others, but inside you’re miserable and you’re convinced that you can’t tell anyone.
While doing research for Lies Young Women Believe, we discovered that many young women are using media to lead double lives. Most of the girls we interviewed said that they thought it was okay to be one person at home and a different person with others … especially online. We found that professing Christian girls were often likely to gossip, use mild to wild profanity, talk causally about sex, send or receive illicit text messages, and target other girls with mean and aggressive comments while online. These same girls sang in the praise team at their church, led small group Bible studies, and gushed about how important their faith was to them. They were one person online and someone else entirely at church, at home, or with their Christian friends. They were living double lives, and they didn’t see the harm in it. It is a trend that we’ve seen continue since LYWB hit the shelves.
Hear me … the result of living a double life is always pain.
Living a double life happens when you justify two different kinds of behavior in your mind. The Bible calls the thought process behind living a double life being double-minded. James 1:8 says that a double-minded person is unstable in everything that they do. James 4:8 says, "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
Jesus despised the double-mindedness of the religious rulers of His day. That’s why He often called the Pharisees out on their hypocrisy.
In Matthew 23:27–28, He said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."
Being double-minded is a sin. Living like two different people isn’t God’s plan for you. What’s the remedy for double-minded living? According to James 4:8, it’s coming to God and asking Him to make us clean.
Are you living as an authentic Christian with a whole heart toward God? Or are you living a double life divided into who you are in public and who you are in secret? I know that my friend whose double life was just exposed would warn you that the cost of your hypocrisy is higher than you can imagine. It hurts, but she’s decided to leave her double life behind and ask Jesus to permeate every corner of her life. Do you need to do the same?
Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name (Ps. 86:11).