This is a post for Tuesday at Ten, the weekly blog link-up where you have six days to post a blog using the prompt word or phrase that Karen gives us. This week’s prompt word is DOUBT.
As I began to do some research for this blog post, I was surprised to learn that doubt and unbelief aren’t synonyms. Doubt is a response of the mind that causes us to feel perplexed and waver in our faith. But unbelief is a choice of the will to not believe what God says about His Word, His works, His worth (character), His ways, and His will.
Or as Mike Hubbard, Pastor of Genesis Church in Eureka, Missouri says: “Doubt is the reality that we have questions, and those questions are deep and difficult to answer. Yet, with that doubt, when we say, “Even in the midst of this, I will choose to trust you,” God will use the doubt to drive faith deep. Unbelief on the other hand comes when a person takes the issues of doubt and adds to them a hardness of heart that refuses to struggle with God to find the answers. An attitude of unbelief is looking for reasons not to believe the claims of the Gospel and the reality of the resurrection of Jesus. A heart of doubt will keep seeking hoping that God will reveal himself.”
One of the best quotes I found that differentiates doubt and unbelief was from Os Guiness, a British author and social critic who was born in China. He said: “When you believe, you are in one mind and accept something as true. Unbelief is to be of one mind and reject that something is true. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at the same time, and so to be in “two minds.” That is what James calls, in Chapter 1, a ‘”double minded man,” or as the Chinese say, “Doubt is standing in two boats, with one foot in each.”
Even Billy Graham, one of the best known preachers in America admits that he has had doubts, “Doubts are a normal part of life. We doubt things on earth, so it’s easy to doubt things of God.” James makes it clear that doubts will keep us from receiving from the Lord, so the issue isn’t whether we will have them but rather what we will do with them when they come.
How to Handle our Doubts
- In the midst of doubts, make the decision to trust God. This builds the foundation upon which restored faith can be built.
- Recognize that many (but not all) doubts are planted in our minds by Satan. As James says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”(James 4:7-8a NIV)
- Next, talk to Jesus about your doubts. Even John the Baptist needed to do this when he was thrown in a dungeon and he couldn’t understand how this fit into God’s calling for his life. (See Luke 7:20 – 23) Jesus did not condemn John; He simply reminder him of his calling using some Old Testament Scriptures John was very familiar with.
- As Jesus reminded John of Scripture, our next step should be to turn to God’s Word, with expectancy that He will speak to you.
- If one or two verses stand out to you, meditate on them, increasing your understanding. The Internet has some helpful tools to help with this: Bible Gateway, Bible Hub, and the Blue Letter Bible are just a few of the websites that I’ve found helpful in uncovering the meaning of a verse. These all are available as apps and websites.
- Finally, I recommend choosing one verse that particularly fits the area you are struggling with and memorizing it. By doing this, God’s Word will be stored in your heart for when the enemy comes to attack. One of the best tools I’ve found for memorizing Scripture is Scripture Typer, available as an app or a website. It not only helps me learn a verse, but it also sets up an automatic review schedule that helps me truly keep verses available when I need them.