Summary: If we want to share in the glory above, we must follow Him into sufferings below. The glory on the mountain helps us deal with the garbage in the valley.
If you’re having a bout with doubt, let me mention seven ways to move from doubt to faith from Ray Pritchard. A few of these are found in his booklet called, “If I Believe, Why Do I Doubt?” We have some copies on the Resource Table. We also posted a free link on “Sermon Extras” on the app and our website.
1. Admit your doubts and ask for help. That’s what the dad did in our passage. In the parallel account in Matthew 17:20, Jesus says that our faith need only be the size of a mustard seed. We often think we need “big faith,” but actually just a tiny amount of faith in a big God is all we need. It has been said that no truth is so strongly believed as that which you once doubted.
2. Recognize that faith is a choice, not a feeling. When Jesus saw that his disciples were faltering because of their feelings, He asked this question in Luke 24:38: “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?”
3. Don’t be afraid to “borrow” some faith. I’m reminded of the man who was paralyzed and was brought to Jesus by his friends in Mark 2:5: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”
4. Act on your faith, not your doubts. As Jesus turned to Thomas, he says to us, “Stop doubting and believe” (John 20:27). One of the most helpful things I’ve heard Ray say is this: “Biblical faith is belief plus unbelief…and then acting on the belief part.
5. Doubt your doubts, not your faith. Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts. Too many of us allow our doubts to define our lives. The most important thing to do when faced with doubt is to follow Jesus Christ, one step at a time. Jesus still gives this invitation: “Come, follow me” (Matthew 4:19). Joni Erickson Tada says, “Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.”
6. There are some things you will never understand until heaven. If you are waiting until you have everything figured out before you’ll put your faith in Him, you’ll be waiting forever. One pastor puts it like this: “God is bigger than you, so get over it!” Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God…”
7. Keep going back to what you know to be true. Don’t doubt in the darkness what you know to be true in the sunshine. Sometimes you believe because of what you see; sometimes you believe in spite of what you see. 2 Timothy 1:12: “But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed.”
After the father cried out and said that he had low faith but asked for it to grow, Jesus went to work in verses 25-27: “And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together [Jesus avoided crowds when he thought their motives were unworthy], he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ [these words must have brought great comfort to the father] And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.” We see both the power and the tenderness of Jesus here and are reminded that according to 1 John 3:8, Jesus came to “destroy the works of the devil.”