I confess. I have been a doubter. I have felt the wave of doubt roll over me more times than I like to admit. I have splashed around in it, taken a bath in it, wallowed in it and gone fishing in it.
I have never, to my recollection, suffered with unbelief; I mean unbelief in Jesus and the salvation he accomplished on the cross. Daniel L. Aikan explains how the “sin” of doubt is expressed in various ways through-out the Bible. Here is his commentary on the matter:
In the Gospels the word “doubt” consistently carries with it a negative aspect, and the object of doubt again is always the Lord in some sense. Peter doubted Christ’s ability to keep him from drowning ( Matt 14:31 ). Here doubt is small or weak faith. Peter became doubtful as to the Lord’s reliability and power to sustain him. The Pharisees doubted Christ’s messiahship and asked for another sign ( Matt 12:38-42 ). If we have faith in God and do not doubt, we can move mountains and receive our request through prayer ( Matt 21:21 ; Mark 11:23 ). Here doubt is the antithesis of faith. In John 14:1 Jesus encourages the disciples to not have a troubled (doubting?) heart with regards to the future, but to believe in him, to trust him for their future needs. Some of the disciples, including Thomas, doubted the reality of the resurrected Lord ( Luke 24:38 ; John 20:27 ). Here doubt is not outright denial or unbelief, but an attitude or feeling of uncertainty. Thomas is not severely rebuked, but nether is his skepticism commended. “Stop doubting and believe” is the word of the Lord to his disciple.
“Stop doubting and believe,” these words are for me. I know that the enemy, Satan, “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). One of his most successful tactics from the beginning of Creation was to get Adam and Eve to doubt the goodness of God. This was “sin” because we are told that “whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). After going through countless trials over the past few years I have often felt as though my heart had become a pin cushion; It felt something like being run over by a semi-truck a few times and raked over a hot bed of coals. I was struggling to see God’s goodness in all the pain. I was angry. I felt God had let me down.
I started to recognize the fact that although God’s promises say He will do this or that; it doesn’t however say, when, He fulfills them. I think I have always wanted everything…..now, right away. God’s timing is perfect. My problem is often, when it comes to me and my life, I often want to “control” the when and how. If I don’t see things “happening” the way I think they should, I can fall prey to discouragement. Well, in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” I know that the past few years has put my faith to the test. I am happy to report I am still standing.
I am reminding myself daily to put on the full armor of God. Without it, I don’t have a chance. David Michael makes a strong argument why the Children of God must be on guard, in respect to daily spiritual warfare:
“We are standing to oppose the power of the devil. Satan means to do us harm. Nothing but your eternal damnation and the damnation of your children will satisfy Satan and his army. Against this we stand. Consider Ephesians 6:
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places….In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.
This devil is a formidable enemy; this is not a child’s war, and he must be met with strong weapons. If we were struggling against mere flesh and blood, against false teaching, against men, against cultural influences, then human armor would do. But we are coming against the spiritual powers.” (David Michael from Children Desiring God).
This clearly is one area I had become complacent in. I need to be reminded, and perhaps so do you, to put on the amour we need to stand against the enemies “lies”. He will do anything to get us to doubt and twist the truth, ever so subtly. I take a stand to stop doubting. With God’s help,
I will not longer be a wave tossed to and fro on the sea.