Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Have you ever struggled with doubt? Do you wonder whether Jesus was really raised from the dead, or whether the Bible is really the Word of God? Have you found it difficult to believe that Almighty God would leave heaven to become a baby born in a manger? Or wondered whether some other religion might be the true one?
I have. Many times over the years I have faced doubts. Satan has whispered in my ear and I have wondered whether everything I live for is a lie.
Here are a few things I have learned over the years as I wrestle with my faith.
First, having doubts is no more sin than is temptation. One might say that doubting is nothing more than a temptation to reject faith.
Second, knowledge cannot remove doubt. We are finite, which means that we cannot know everything. So we must choose to trust someone who does. Thus the need for faith in someone else, and the opportunity for doubting the one in whom we have placed our faith.
Third, walking faithfully with God does not mean that we never doubt. I am convinced that doubts are a gift from God given that we might learn to “walk by faith, not by sight.” (II Corinthians 5:7) Only those who doubt may be assured. (Hebrews 11:1) Our assurance does not come from logic, nor from evidence, but from the Spirit of the Lord. (Zechariah 4:6, I Corinthians 2:14)
So how do we walk by faith? First, we need faith. It is a gift only God can give us. John 6:65 tells us that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father grants it to him. And John 3:3 tells us that in order to even see the kingdom of God one must be born again, something which one has no control over. Ephesians 2:8 tells us that grace is a gift, and I Corinthians 15:10 tells us that it is by grace that we are what we are. Faith is first and foremost a gift from God.
Second, continued faith is both a gift and a choice. Abraham learned to trust the Lord over many years. He sinned several times because he did not trust the Lord, but as he witnessed God’s faithfulness and hand of protection, Abraham increasingly walked by faith. God patiently taught Abraham faith through many trials.
When we face doubts, we must take those doubts to God in prayer and choose to walk in the faith which God has given to us. We who are born again may face doubts, but “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4
If someone were to ask me today why I believe in Jesus, I would tell them that there are several reasons why I believe. I believe because God has convicted me of my sins through the scriptures. I believe because God has demonstrated His love to me through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I believe because I know that I have done many evil things and I need a savior who will not only forgive me of my sins, but pay the penalty for my sins. I believe because Jesus is the only God who died for the sins of His people. No other religion offers me a loving God who paid for my sins. No other religion offers me the hope of eternal life, for they all teach works, and I have no works worth mentioning. I believe because Jesus said He is the only way to heaven. (John 14:6)
I have come to agree with Isaiah 64:6, my best works are so stained by sin and selfishness than they are like filthy rags. I place my hope and my faith in Jesus because I have no other hope, no other righteousness. It is my prayer that we will all cling to and share this same hope. For we are assured that when we do, we will not be disappointed.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1