O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
Doubt is a dirty word in Christian circles. It’s something we don’t talk about just in case the pastor is listening. And we pretend that we don’t feel it because we think our friends will look down on us if we admit it. But the truth is, we all have doubt. Every single one of us. I have doubt, and I bet you do too. Having doubt doesn’t mean we are bad or that we don’t love Jesus. It just means that we’re human. Because it’s human nature to doubt what we can’t see. We think if we can’t touch it or hold it in our hand, then maybe it’s not real. Sometimes doubt is just a fleeting thought. It comes to us in an instant and leaves just as quickly. But other times doubt lingers. It plays tricks with our mind, tears us apart on the inside and robs us of our joy.
Before we go into how to overcome doubt, let’s look at where it comes from. If we can understand the source of our doubt, we can easily quiet it when it comes calling.
All Christians have an enemy in Satan. He seeks to destroy us and doubt is one of the many tactics he uses against us. He will search for a way into our lives to achieve his goal of utterly demolishing us. Once he has found a way in, He is relentless in his attack. He will slink in, like the snake he is, and put doubt in our minds leaving us feeling hopeless. Then slink off again to look for some other poor soul to terrorize. But we don’t need to fear Satan or listen to his lies. Jesus has already defeated him. However, we need to be mindful of his plan to place doubt in our hearts and minds and learn to recognize his devious actions.
#2 Outside Sources
We are called to live in the world but not of it. But sometimes living in the world leaves us vulnerable to doubt. These outside sources are the things of this world that distract us. They could be the people we surround ourselves with, the things we read or watch on TV, social media, etc. Anything we put into our minds can cause doubt to form if we allow it to influence our thoughts.
Sometimes our doubt is much closer to home than we would like it to be. At times, we can be our own worst enemy. Our view of ourselves can leave us feeling like we’re not good enough or that we’re a failure. These negative thoughts can cause doubt to creep into our minds if we allow them to take hold.
God, in His infinite wisdom, knows the innermost workings of our minds. He knows we have doubt and He knows that we wonder where He is when everything goes wrong in our lives. He understands our hearts and He has not left us alone to face doubt on our own. We can recognize what causes doubt and quickly overcome it with one simple God given tool…our Faith!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
In Matthew 14:31, Jesus said to the disciples, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” The disciples had been with Jesus and they saw Him perform miracle after miracle. They had the unique opportunity of being an eye witness to the ministry of the Savior and they still had doubt!
At some point each of us made the decision to give our lives to Christ because the Holy Spirit showed us the truth of who Jesus is. Unlike the disciples, we have not physically witnessed the miracles of Jesus. But we know for a fact that God is real and that Jesus is the Son of God because of our faith. We may not be able to reach out and touch God or witness the miracles of Jesus with our own eyes, but we can see what He has done in our lives, around us and for us. We have seen the hand of God at work. This is the evidence of our faith. When doubt enters our minds, we can remember those times when we were so close to God it did feel like we could touch Him. If we look around we will see His goodness surrounding us.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
We have the most powerful weapon on earth at our disposal, God’s Word. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and understanding the truth within it. We can grow our faith by reading the Bible and storing it in our heart. When we become firmly grounded in God’s truth, doubt will no longer have a hold on us. Instead of allowing doubt to destroy us, we can simply turn to the Scriptures and lean on the promises of God to get us through. Because God’s word is real!
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”
This is a prayer of a man who had doubt in his heart but still wanted to believe. It’s an honest and heartbreaking cry to the only One who could help him in his suffering. We all know how he felt because we’ve been there, on our knees begging God to help us in our pain and unbelief. When doubt creeps in, we have a direct line to God. We can shoot up a prayer to Him in a second and ask Him for strength and guidance.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Our prayers are not effective because we have great faith or because we are faithful to God. They are effective only because we are righteous through our belief in Jesus. This is our promise from God… He is always faithful to us and He will hear our prayers when we call out to Him.
Yes, we all have doubt, but doubt doesn’t have to keep us from experiencing the loving touch of God’s hand in our lives. It’s okay to have questions. And it’s okay to ask God to help us when we doubt. But we cannot afford to let doubt penetrate our minds and our souls. We must recognize it for what it is and stop it in its tracks. Our faith is the tool that helps us to overcome our doubt and seek God’s face in times of need. So today, I pray that each one of us will turn away from doubt, seek the Father and grow our faith in Jesus. God bless!
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It’s easy to be a Christian on Sunday. We go to church and we are around other people who believe as we do. We sing and worship together, and we listen to the sermon to find inspiration for the week ahead. The challenge comes when we leave that church building. Waiting for us outside those doors is a world filled with people who oppose our beliefs and want us to be silent. In their eyes, it’s okay if we believe our silly little thoughts as long as we don’t talk about them or try to persuade anyone else to believe them. Have you ever had someone tell you that you shouldn’t talk about your faith? I know I have! And it always takes me by surprise. Yes, they want us to be silent. But our faith is bigger than them and it’s bigger than us too. Jesus said “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32. We have the truth because we have Jesus. We know who we serve and we know what has been done for us. So it’s our job and our privilege to share our faith with the people around us. To stand up and tell them the good news so that they can have the same assurance and freedom in Jesus Christ that we have.
Here’s what the Apostle Paul had to say about this challenge that every Christian faces.
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (NKJV)
Within these two verses there are five distinct commands for us to follow. Let’s explore each one together.
As women we are taught to watch what is going on around us when we’re in a public place. Our parents teach us when we are young girls not to talk to strangers. When we get a little older, we’re told not to park our car in a dark parking structure or next to a van. They say don’t go on long walks alone in a neighborhood park or on a blind date with someone we just met online. We are taught all of this in order to keep us safe from someone who may want to harm us physically. But this command, “Watch” is directed at our spiritual wellbeing. There are people out there who are against our faith. And they would like nothing more than to cause us to doubt our beliefs. So, we should take this warning seriously. Be on alert and be aware of who we surround ourselves with and what their agenda may be.
#2 Stand fast in the faith
As we just talked about there are unsaved people out there who would like to put doubt in our minds. But there are also many false teachers and so much confusion, not only in other religions, but within our own. These false teachers have a watered down view of Christianity or what I like to call the “rose colored glasses” version of the Bible. They are not doing us any favors by misleading us about what the Bibles says! It is up to us to know what the Bible teaches and to stand fast in our faith, or as the NIV translation puts it, stand firm in the faith. I love that word, “firm”. It makes me think about Jesus being my firm foundation and the rock that I can stand on no matter what circumstance I face. I hope that when you hear the word firm, you will have a similar image in your mind. Because our faith is built on the firm foundation and truth of Jesus Christ. But it is our job to stand fast in the faith. We are responsible for knowing the truth of God’s word for ourselves, to understand what is in it and to not allow false teachers to lead us astray.
#3 Be brave
It’s never fun to be called out and have to defend yourself. I get it, and I feel the same way. I don’t like confrontation either, it’s awkward and uncomfortable. But we live in a world where our faith will be tested. We will be challenged and we will be asked questions. So when this happens, we have to be brave enough to face the challenge head on. We can be ready with an answer and be willing to share our faith with an unbelieving world because we know the truth of God’s word.
#4 Be strong
Our society tells us that we are supposed to be politically correct. We shouldn’t say anything that might offend someone else. If we don’t agree, then we should just be polite and keep our mouth shut. But God has not called Christians to be silent, He has called us to be strong. Instead of silence, we should speak openly and plainly about our faith with those people who hold different beliefs and have questions about ours. And we should be mindful that our words are always grounded in biblical truth. If they are, then we should be strong enough to speak these truths with confidence knowing that God’s word never returns void. (Isaiah 55:11)
#5 With Love
The four previous commands are forceful, maybe more forceful than we feel we should be sometimes. But our Christian love for other people is the most important part of this equation. Love is what binds us together and our love for the unsaved should be what motivates us to share our faith. God doesn’t ask us to be judgmental or to beat people over the head with a Bible. Our kindness and love for our fellow man will go a lot farther than browbeating them ever could. God wants us to show His love to an unbelieving world so that when they look at us they can see Him. Together we can show the love of Christ to those who need Him the most. With our love, we can be the beacon of light that shines the way to Jesus.
Sundays are a great day for us get fired up for Jesus, and to connect with other Christians. But our challenge is to live our life for Jesus every day of the week. It’s true that actions speak louder than words. And our actions are important because the world is watching us. What will they see? Will they see someone who loves them with the love of Christ? Will they see someone who is living out their faith every day? Or are we just casual Christians going to church on Sunday and living our lives as we see fit the rest of the week? I hope that I am not, that I will have the courage to live for Jesus every day. So, my prayer today, is that I will be able to stand firm in the faith. And that I will have love for those people that God puts in my life in order to share Jesus with them.
How about you? Will you stand firm in the faith? Will you shine the way to Jesus today? I pray that you will join me in taking up this challenge to live for Jesus today and every day! As always, May God bless you!
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Connie Rowland is the creator of Master's Hand Collection, A series of Christian digital artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Join "In the Studio" for your Free Printable Artwork.
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