Summary: We all face times of doubt in our life and the most critical part about doubt is how you manage it in your life.
Questions of Doubt?
Thesis: We all face times of doubt in our life and the most critical part about doubt is how you manage it in your life.
Opening Illustration: Clip from Backstage Volume 1 by Blue Fish TV. This Interview is with Jars of Clay as he talks about “Seasons of Doubt”
Doubting - That which is uncertain; that which distrusts or hesitates; having doubts about something.
Joel Smith seeks to define doubt in light of how we define faith. Listen to what he says:
What is faith?
By definition you’ll see that faith is not the absence of doubt. Here’s a description of faith straight out of the Bible.
It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)
Faith is belief. The opposite of faith is not doubt. It is unbelief. There is a difference between doubt and unbelief, so let’s define it as well.
What is doubt?
Doubt literally means “two minds.” The doubting person vacillates between two points of view. In the Old Testament, the prophet, Elijah called the people to make up their minds about who was really God. He defined doubt quite well:
“How long will you waver between two opinions?” 1 Kings 18:21 (NIV)
Doubt is best defined as the inability to decide if something is right or wrong. Doubt is not unbelief but it is the inability to decide which way to go. One day you go one way the next you go another way.
Doubt affects everyone at different points in life. It can surface in tough times, in good times, or even in the midst of a miracle. Doubt’s come and go in life and the key is learning how to mange doubt in a constructive way. Think about those times in your life when doubt started tugging at your mind. What happened?
Have you ever doubted God’s presence in your life or God’s direction in your life?
The reality check is we all have at one point or another doubted or had questions about God and about His ways in dealing with things in this life. Peter doubted after he had listened to the Lord and walked on the water. He trusted the Lord and he did walk on the water but then when he was out there on top of the water he got sidetracked and started to doubt. His doubt surfaced when he started looking at the circumstances surrounding his miracle walk that’s when he started to sink. Jesus asked Peter “Why did you doubt?” Mt. 14:31. Truth is we have all had similar experiences like Peter. We trust the Lord we move out and then the waves of doubt flood our minds. Praise the Lord that when we doubt and start to sink we can always call upon the Lord to help us up.
The key to understand about doubt is how do we respond it? God is not afraid of our questions to Him. He is not upset with us when we get a thought filled with doubt. He knows we will have those moments of doubt. The key is how do you handle those moments of doubt?
Do you take your eyes off of Jesus?
Do you run away from God?
Do you abandon the ways of God?
Or do you turn to God for answers and ask for a response to your doubt filled thoughts?
Matthew 21:21 tells us to have faith and do not doubt.
The reality is doubt does come into our lives at different points and we must learn how to deal with thoughts of doubt. Jesus tells us to combat doubt with faith. Faith is the trust in God that He will work out the situation and that we need to let God handle things His way because He knows what is best.
We are told to believe not doubt, to not allow doubt into our hearts (Mk. 11:23) the idea in the teachings of Jesus is focus on faith not doubt. Doubt will rob you of your faith if you give it place in your life and in your heart. Doubt will destroy your faith if you allow it to take root in your heart and control your life.
Denis Haack has this to say about the questions of doubt:
Just about everything about doubt is unsettling. It’s unsettling to doubt, especially if the stakes are high and if we find ourselves doubting when everyone else seems content. It’s unsettling to discover that sometimes our very best reasoning isn’t sufficient to resolve our doubts, or that the search for answers simply increases our uncertainty. It’s unsettling to meet Christians who never seem to doubt, and who are unsettled instead by the fact we doubt things they consider settled. And it’s unsettling when non-Christian friends hesitate to believe, and raise an endless stream of doubts instead. Unfortunately the church speaks only rarely about doubt, and often in terms that cause doubters to hide their doubts rather than resolve them. “Christianity places a premium on the absolute truthfulness and trustworthiness of God, so understanding doubt is extremely important to a Christian,” Os Guinness writes. “Of course, faith is much more than the absence of doubt, but to understand doubt is to have a key to a quiet heart and a quiet mind. Anyone who believes anything will automatically know something about doubt. But the person who knows why he believes is also in a position to discover why he doubts. The Christian should be such a person.” Without doubt, doubt and its relationship to faith, knowledge, and unbelief is worth some careful reflection by the discerning Christian. Understanding doubt is important not only for our own faith, but also if we expect to help others come to faith and resolve their doubts biblically.