Doubt is unavoidable part of living a life of faith. Faith is not the absence of doubt. Faith is the reality of certainty. Faith is being “sure of what you hope for and certain of what you have not seen.” Many believers take the words sure and certain to mean that they should never have disquieting or uncomfortable thoughts or questions about what they believe.
Faith, however, is the choice of will to believe any when you have a question. Faith is certainty in the one you believe in even when you struggle to see them in and from your life. Doubt comes to us all. I spoke plainly about that this past Sunday as I preached from Matthew 7. “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
After my message Sunday I received a great question via email. This follower of Christ boldly proclaimed their faith and their certainty in Christ, but then admitted that they still have doubts at times. Their question, however, was the right one. “What do I do when I doubt?” Now that is a great question and one worth answering and worth sharing.
What do we do when we doubt?
#1. Do not fake it till you make it. Faith is not fake…ever. Don’t fake it – face it. Bring your honest questions, doubt, or fears to God. Share them with other believers who can help you find answers in God’s Word.
#2. Go to the Word “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
God’s word reveals more than thoughts, but intentions. Through his Word God can bring us to the right place in our hearts as we also discover the right truths with our heads. They go together. Often when we doubt we try to feed the head but ignore the heart of we try to jumpstart the heart but we ignore the head. We need to learn truth and lean into the truth in seasons of doubt.
1 John 5:13 says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” It does not say so that you may think or that you may hope – but that you may know. These things have been written. The Scriptures exist so we can live in certainty not doubt.
Fill your mind with truth. Memorize Scriptures that declare the grace and effectiveness of God in salvation.
Here are a couple of good verses to memorize when dealing with doubts. Hebrews 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Romans 6:10-11 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
#3. Learn more than your questions. Ask questions. Seek out answers to those particular issues by asking season believers and reading intelligent and Scripture-honoring authors, but don’t just seek answers to your questions. Seek the truth and the One who is True. Some times we cause ourselves more questions if all we seek are specific answers. We stop nurturing our personal growth and only seek to solve our current faith struggle. That struggle is a part of a larger relationship with God. Treat it as such.
#4. Pray Spend personal time with God in prayer. Do not stop doing the acts of faith when doubt clouds their significance. You will not believe in the Lord more by ignoring him. You will grow in your faith by pursuing him.
#5. Repent I put this last because I want to spend the most time on it. Doubt is never an isolated issue. The majority of doubt is birthed out of disobedience. Rarely do people struggle with doubt when they feel they are in a right relationship with the Lord. Typically people who are struggling with doubt have experienced other spiritual issues in their lives. Some times it is circumstances that are beyond their control, but the majority of doubt is birthed out a place of sin. People living in rebellion against God are going to have a difficult time experiencing the peace found in the Spirit of the Lord. You are asking God to make you feel comfort and peace and he is calling you back to Himself. He has not rejected you. He has not forgotten you – your name is still in the Book. You simply are no longer in a position for his peace to reflect clearly upon you.
Repent. Turn away from your sin. AND trust the goodness and grace of God.
Stop asking God for peace when you know He should bring conviction and restlessness into your life. Sin will not condemn you again, but it will prevent you from experiencing the fullness of a right relationship with God – as it should.
#6. Recognize spiritual warfare for what it is. The thief has come to kill and to steal and to destroy, but I have come that you might have life and that life to the full. John 10:10
We have an adversary. He is the accuser. He is the prince of deception. He wants you to live in doubt. We face struggles that are not of flesh and blood but of spirits and principalities. I do not encourage you to worry with what it is you face as much as I challenge you to call upon the One who has already faced every battle own your behalf…and won!
Satan’s greatest tool is doubt. He asks the first question in the Bible, “Did not God say…” His quest is to get you to say did not God. Doubt is a distraction; not a death sentence. Doubt cannot kill faith, but it can kill faithfulness. When you feel doubt…fight.
One key weapon is this truth found in 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Take captive every thought with OBEDIENCE. Do what you know is right even when you are not sure you feel like all is right. Take captive the thoughts of doubt with actions of faith.
Doubt is something every believer faces. Those who come out of such seasons stronger – face their doubts head on with the truth and in the power of the True One.