Something we rarely discuss in Christian culture is doubt. Christians who struggle with periods of doubt and disbelief are often afraid to share their thoughts with others. Though they want and need to process their thoughts and theology, their doubt quickly compounds into guilt, keeping them silent on this very important issue.
If you’re struggling with disbelief or doubt, don’t let fear keep you quiet! Now is the time to get your questions answered. If you’re not sure where to start, here are four questions to ask yourself that may help you move beyond disbelief into a thriving faith in Christ.
1. Are you letting God speak to you, or are you constantly questioning Him?
Sometimes our doubt springs not from the absence of God’s answers, but our own unwillingness to hear His side. This is especially difficult when we’re dealing with difficulty. Our prayers during trial often focus on the difficulty itself, to the point where we can’t hear what God is trying to teach us in that season.
In times like these, we have to stop waiting to “feel” like we believe and put faith in who God says He is. We start this process by reading about who Jesus is in Scripture—where He has revealed Himself most clearly as Savior, Friend, Comforter and Rock. We then choose to put faith in who He says He is, because Jesus either is who He says He is—the Son of God, savior of the world—or He is a liar! Faith in Christ is all or nothing.
We are allowed to ask God questions. But we must be careful not to spend so much time questioning that we never hear God’s voice, and blind ourselves to His truth.
2. Are you depending more on your own interpretation of Scripture than Scripture itself?
Another way doubt creeps into our lives is through doubt of God’s Word. We must be wise in how we handle and interpret God’s Word, especially when drawing conclusions from that Word. God’s Spirit can and does guide our understanding, but it is also important to acknowledge literary context, historical context and the author’s intent when studying a passage. If we come to Scripture more concerned with our own interpretation and application than with letting the Word speak for itself, doubt can creep in.
We can guard against disbelief by reading the Bible with the support of commentaries and older, wiser Christians who help us understand difficult passages in the context they were intended to be understood. This helps alleviate some of the doubt surrounding difficult topics that Scripture approaches.
3. Are your desires clouding your judgment?
Sometimes we confuse the Spirit of God with our own loud desires. Other times, we can’t hear the Spirit at all through the cacophony of what we want! How can we make wise decisions when ruled by our emotions? The answer is: We can’t!
If you’re struggling with disbelief, think about the desires in your life. Have they taken control of your thoughts and habits? Are you consumed with finding a relationship, getting a great job, being liked or being popular? These things can distract you from a thriving walk with God and make you doubt His love and goodness. When our priorities are out of order, we tend to shift our eyes from faith in God and put faith in material things.
4. Have you asked God to help you believe Him?
Finally, if you continue to struggle with doubt, do as the man in Mark 9:23-25—who asked Jesus “Help my unbelief!”—did. You don’t have to walk this road alone. God is ready to help you believe and trust Him. All you have to do is ask.