Steps For Dealing with Christian Doubt
Many Christians Struggle with Doubt
Doubts can be intellectual where we doubt that the Bible is really inspired by God or that Jesus really resurrected from the dead. Doubts can also be emotional. When a person has experienced great sorrow or disappointment, such as the loss of a job, a divorce, or the death of a loved one, they might doubt the goodness, love, and care of their heavenly Father.
Whether intellectual or emotional, having doubts of any kind can be scary. It makes people wonder if their questions mean they are not a Christian. However, the Bible contains many examples of Believer’s who doubted. See Abraham in Genesis 17:17, Zechariah in Luke 1:20, and the Apostles in Luke 24:38, Luke 17:5.
There is a difference between unbelief and doubt. Unbelief is when people willfully set themselves against a biblical teaching. They choose not to believe. John 12:37 says that “even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.”
Doubt is when people have an intellectual or emotional barrier to a more solid faith in a biblical teaching or to God. They want to believe, but they just need some help to believe. Mark 9:14-27 illustrates this when the father of a demonic possessed son looks to Jesus to cure him and says to Jesus “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” The father acknowledges that though he has faith, he struggles with some doubts. Jesus still honored this man’s faith and heals his son. This clearly shows the presence of doubt does not mean the absence of faith! What is important is what you do with your doubt.
Steps to take when you begin to have doubts:
Whenever you have doubts, ask God for His help. Be specific with the doubt you are having. God will increase your faith, and give you the peace He promises that guards our hearts (feelings) and minds (thoughts) from future doubts. Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7.
2. Change your thinking
2 Corinthians 10:5. Much of our doubt comes from how we feel, not what we know. “I don’t feel saved; I don’t feel loved; I don’t feel God has forgiven me”. Your faith should never be based on how you feel but on what you know! We must remind ourselves what is true regardless of how we feel.
John 17:17 says “your word is truth,” and Romans 10:17 says “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Faith is the opposite of doubt; therefore the way to get rid of doubt (emotional or intellectual) is to replace your doubts with truth.
Find answers to your questions in God’s Word and Apologetic material such as Who Moved The Stone, The Case for Christ, and The Case for Faith. Our faith isn’t a blind faith. We can know by evidences that Jesus is from God, that His teachings are true, and that He really is who He claimed to be. In John 7:17 Jesus says, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”
The greek word for “find out” is ginosko, and it means “to be taking in knowledge, to come to know, recognize, understand.” This “taking in knowledge” of who God is comes from studying the evidences.
Whenever we worry or doubt, we should repeat this process. Practice it when everything is going well and especially when we’re being overwhelmed by emotions. Study scripture when you’re not doubting, so when you do doubt, those scriptures come to mind.
You can grow in your faith and mature as you deal with doubt! So if you find yourself doubting, there’s nothing to be ashamed of; you just need to find out how to deal with it.
So the keys to overcoming doubts are:
- Admit you have doubts – be specific about what they are and ask for God’s help.
- Remember our faith is not based on how we feel but what we know!
- Fill our thoughts with truth – God’s Word.
- Study the evidence that proves what you believe is true!
- This is not a one-time remedy; it’s a habit we need to build into our lives.