“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” – James 1:6
What is DOUBT??
Doubt is an unsettled opinion about the certainty of something. Doubt is NOT unbelief. (Unbelief is different and more dangerous.) Unbelief is refusal to believe something regardless of any evidence. Doubt is just unsettledness; unbelief is refusal to believe. However, doubt, if left alone too long, can lead to unbelief. Doubt is a lack of confidence or assurance that God will keep His promises.
What you believe about God is the most important thing about you. It shapes your life and determines how you deal with good and hard things that come your way. It has everything to do with how your life will be lived and how much victory or defeat you will know.
· Cancer of the soul
· A machete to your garden
· A match to your house
· A toxin that eats away at the fabric of your relationship with God
**Can you think of a time you doubted that God would keep His promises?
Where does doubt come from?
Doubt comes in many forms and ways. It may be triggered by hardship and suffering, or by the painful realities of life. Someone you love dies. Innocent people suffer. You lose a marriage, a job, or your health. You are struggling with your “place.” Struggling with unanswered prayers, the decisions of others, or understanding His timing. (ex: watching the news)
Doubt may also come from legitimate questions. Perceived contradictions in the Bible, miracles like the virgin birth, phenomenal acts like creation, Noah’s Ark, Jonah & the whale, etc. (Doubt surfaces when faith is required for belief.) This is why studying the word & apologetics is so important. Faith is essential, but so is being rooted in the Truth of God’s Word.
When we struggle with doubting God, we need to ask ourselves: “What do we know about God and His character? How does He work? How do we know this? What does the Word say? How does all this relate to the current situation?”
The children of Isreal had no reason to doubt God’s promises because every time He said he would do something, He did it.
- Performed incredible signs and wonders on 10 separate occasions & kept the Israelites safe every time (Exodus 9:26, 14:29)
- Days after their miraculous escape at the Red Sea, they still struggled with faith (Exodus 14:12)
- During their trek to the Promised Land, God miraculously provided for every need they faced. Water (springs from a rock to quench their thirst), food (manna from Heaven), cloud (as shelter from desert heat), blazing fire (for desert chill), clothes and shoes never wore out
- God promised victory in Canaan, but the people refused to believe God was bigger than “the giants”
-Read Hebrews 4:11-12. What can we take from this Scripture??
Lessons from the Wilderness of Doubt:
1. The circumstances of life will either shrink or stretch your faith.
2. Doubting comes easily when surrounded by doubters.
3. It’s a short journey from doubt to despair.
Consider this: Has there been a situation in your life lately in which you’ve doubted what God has promised to do? Ask the Lord to reveal to you an area where you need to trust Him.
Biblical examples of doubt:
**John 11:16, John 14:3-4. 19:25 (Doubting Thomas)
**Job 19:25-26 (Job)
**Lamentations 3:22-24 (Jeremiah)
**Psalm 42:9-11 (David)
**2 Corinthians 4:8-12 (Paul)
Instead of talking often about God’s grace and recalling His miracles and thinking about all that He has done, people choose to focus on obstacles; they welcome doubt. Once you get that wave going in a group, everybody rides it.
-Doubting is contagious. (It’s easier to catch than a cold!)
-Doubting is passive. (Doubting is what takes over when you do nothing.)
-Doubting satisfies our tendency toward self-protection. (We don’t want to be let down, so we lower our expectations. It’s easier to just not trust God.)
-Doubters are easier to find than friends of faith. (Faith does not grow in isolation- it grows in context of fellowship with other believers. How many true friends of faith do you have?)
Questions to Ask if You Are Doubting:
1. Have I had consistent time in God’s Word on my own?
2. Have I given time and attention to conversations with the Lord? Am I developing intimacy with Him in times of crisis AND good times?
3. On what basis has the Lord disappointed me? Where in God’s Word has He promised these things? Could I be expecting these things of Him that He didn’t promise?
4. What do I know to be true about hos God acts on behalf of His children?
5. Do I believe that God will allow me to face any trial without making a way to endure it?
6. Am I separating emotion from faith?
How to Help Someone Else Who is Doubting:
- Try to determine the source of doubt.
- Ask key questions.
- Use Scripture wisely.
What the Lord is Showing Me About Doubt:
Ø There is a big difference between doubt and disbelief.
Ø God places regular tests of faith in front of His children. Those tests will shrink or stretch your faith.
Ø Doubt sees the obstacles; faith sees the opportunities.
Ø When surrounded by doubters, doubting comes easily.
Ø Even godly people can be tempted by doubt. The secret is not being tempted long and getting back to God’s Word, promises, and character.
Ø A cause of doubt could be grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit.
Reference: MacDonald, James. Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (April 1, 2008)