Inspired by “Go In Peace” by Joe Antonelli
Every Christian feels their faith being tested from time to time. Doubt is something all Christians experience. When bad things happen to us, we wonder why God isn’t there making it all better. When people ask us questions about God that we can’t answer, doubt rears its ugly head. How do we overcome doubt and believe in what we can’t see?
It’s first important to understand what causes a Christian to doubt God. Perhaps the primary cause is Satan. (Genesis 3:1-6) Just as God, Jesus and the angels work in a spiritual realm to draw us heavenward, Satan and his demons work to drag us away. One of their weapons is to plant seeds of doubt. When we doubt the existence of God, the power of God, the love of God or the Sacrifice of Christ, we give the enemy a foothold in our minds. Once Satan has a foothold, he has an invitation to work away at our mind. We’ve given him permission to do so by agreeing with him that there is cause for doubt. At this point, we have a choice, to go on agreeing and be pulled away from God or to seek help in pulling out the weeds of doubt. We don’t give up our feelings of doubt right away; we rescind the invitation that we gave to Satan by our agreement with him. Once we decide to seek the truth, we regain control of our minds and can pursue those things that would reassure us in our faith.
Related to doubt, but not quite the same is the state of unbelief. Doubt says, “I don’t think that can happen.” Unbelief says, “No way that can happen.” Zacharias was an example of unbelief. The angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that his wife would conceive, even though she was beyond childbearing years. (Luke 1:18-20) He refused to believe even with an angel standing in front of him! Unbelief is what doubt grows into. Somewhere within Zacharias was a preconceived notion that there are limits to what God can do. When confronted with a miracle, the seeds of doubt bloomed in Zacharias’ mind. This point is important because we never know what God has planned for us. What if He comes to you with a miracle someday and you lose out because your seeds of doubt bloom into unbelief? We must always guard against doubt. All around us is testimony to the power of God. The intricately delicate world that is our habitat and the amazing bodies that we live in testify to a Creator every day.
Spiritual instability will cause the seeds of doubt to bloom. To combat this, we must be diligent students of Christ. Just like the disciples, we must follow Christ, learning His teachings and learning His ways if we are to ever become stable in our faith. How can anyone make a wise choice if he is uniformed? How can anyone make a decision about something she knows nothing about? Before you can doubt, you must first examine all the evidence. To do so, you must know the Word of God and the claims of Christ. To know these things, you must study and discuss the teachings, seeking clear interpretation from knowledgeable teachers. Only when we have done this can we fairly decide whether there is room for doubt. To do otherwise is to allow someone else to decide for you.
The Bible gives us instruction on how to deal with doubt. In Judges 6:36-40, Gideon put God to a test asking Him to show a sign. Gideon threw out a fleece on the ground and asked God to surround it with the morning’s dew but let the fleece remain dry. Gideon’s challenge was met and the fleece remained dry. Sometimes, and not always, it can help to ask God to give you a sign he exists. Yet, be prepared that He may not do it. Remember, Gideon asked for a sign and he got it. However, signs are sometimes more subtle and we miss them. Also, sometimes God just wants our unconditional faith. It may just be helpful to look at the everyday signs that God is with us. They can be called “everyday miracles,” like a helping hand or the sun shining in the sky. Sometimes we don’t have to ask for signs, because they surround us everywhere.
So, once you understand why you doubt your faith, you can begin to do something about it. The easiest way to deal with it is to pray about it. Spend some time alone with God talking it out. When we reach out to God in prayer and take our doubts and concerns to Him, He gives us answers and guides us to help. Don’t try and hide your doubt from Him, question Him and seek answers. Let Him know what you are facing and ask him to strengthen your faith. Even if it is hard to believe He is listening, because sometimes He feels so far away when we have doubts, He is there.
Another way to deal with the idea of doubt is to talk about your thoughts with someone else you trust or feel comfortable with. Most parents, pastors or close friends have had their own doubts from time to time and may be helpful in processing your thoughts and feelings. They can talk to you about your doubts, point you in directions that may help ease them, and even help you continue to grow in your faith as you overcome those doubts.
If talking is not your thing, then you may look into doing some research in order to quell the questions running through your mind. The Bible is a great place to start. Acts 17:11-12 encourages us to search the Scripture for answers. Look up scripture about things you question. If you still have doubts, look at books, podcasts, articles, and lectures that address what you need to know. While none of those things may answer your questions definitively, they can help guide you toward your own answers. In the end, faith is still a matter of believing in something you cannot see. So, sometimes it is just a matter of overcoming the doubt by realizing you may not see what you think you want to see, but that you just have to have faith that one day God will show you.
The brilliant mathematician Blaise Pascal addressed the issue of doubt in a work of Christian apologetics. He came to the conclusion that while God could not be proved or disproved conclusively, that it was safer to wager on God’s existence. If, after death, the believer is wrong, he has lost nothing. However, if, after death, the non-believer discovers he is wrong, he pays for his error for eternity. This is known as Pascal’s Wager and it addresses the issue of doubt nicely. If all other attempts to overcome doubt fail, you are still safer to believe than to not believe.
Tim Ewing is the founder of Kindred Concert Ministries. You can learn more about Kindred by going to www.facebook.com/kindredconcerts or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Antonelli is a singer/songwriter from Wynnewood, PA. Walk By Faith is from his debut CD titled Walk By Faith which can be purchased on itunes, CD Baby or on his website. For more information about Joe Antonelli you can go to his website at at http://joeantonelli.com
Want to read other devotionals written by Tim? Go to: https://www.facebook.com/notes/kindred-concerts-for-christ/kindreds-devotional-series/463516160364310