Friday, October 11, 2013

Fighting Doubt

Although my father-in-law typically steers clear of religious humor (out of reverence for our Lord and Savior) he does like to tell this poignant joke:

Satan decided to hold a garage sale.  The whole neighborhood showed up for the event, of course.  Among the various bric-a-brac, there was a collection of tools.  Some were clearly ancient and well-used, while others looked newer and shinier.  Someone picked up a familiar-looking tool and took it to Satan, to ask him how much he wanted for it.  "How did this get in there?" he replied in disbelief.  "I'm sorry but this one is definitely not for sale.  Why, Doubt is my very best tool!"

You can actually substitute any of Satan's tools in the joke (discouragement, temptation, greed, laziness, etc...), but there is little... err... doubt that this is one of his best.

For our weekly Bible studies, we've been watching several excellent apologetics DVDs from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.  Last week, we watched a Q&A held at a secular university, and one student asked Ravi how to combat spiritual doubt.  Ravi confessed that he never had any doubt in Whom Jesus is and went on, instead, to address hypocrisy in those who profess to be Christians.

Perhaps he misunderstood the question (or maybe I did), but regardless of his own personal experience, doubt is very real, and we, as Christians, need to know how to recognize it and combat it before it sabotages our very faith in God.

The Bible reminds us over and over how instrumental our faith in God and His Word is in living according to His Divine Will.  When we begin to doubt whether He can help us with a problem, or perhaps whether He even exists, we distance ourselves from Him and become hardened to His calling and instruction.  We also forsake the power which He gave us through the Holy Spirit.  And without that power, we cannot live holy lives.

When you consider that the world-at-large has forsaken God, having thrown itself into the clutches of the devil, it's no wonder that doubt is knocking at the doors of Christian hearts.  We are surrounded by a world that denies Christ, and even professing Christians (some very prominent) show signs of departure from (and sometimes outright abandonment of) God and His Holy Word.  It can make us doubt our own experience, our own faith, our own hopes that are in Christ.

How do we fight it?  Through continued study of God's Word, building on our relationship with Christ and other like-minded Christians, and reaffirming His influence in our lives.

A popular slogan of the computer age is, "garbage in, garbage out."  Continued exposure to worldly messages that deny the Christian faith and even the very existence of God works like water upon a rock, slowly wearing it down, until it is entirely washed away.  Instead, put into your mind the Word of God.  Study your Bible daily, not just to read it, but to learn what God's will is for you and to understand how to apply it to your own life.  His Word has the amazing effect of pushing out thoughts of the world and putting in His own thoughts.

You cannot maintain a friendship if you do not spend time with that person.  The Apostle Paul says to "pray without ceasing."  Talking with the Lord builds your relationship with Him.  How can you doubt a friend you know almost as well as yourself?  Likewise, scale back your relationships with worldy people, seeking instead the company and fellowship of like-minded believers.  They will encourage you, and you them.

Lastly, remember what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and those around you.  Remind yourself of your own salvation experience and how the Lord brought you out of tough spots that you had no strength or knowledge to deal with on your own.  Share your experiences with other Christians and, in turn, listen to their testimonies.  It will reaffirm to you that we serve a great and awesome God, whose love for us knows no limits!

And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Luke 12:29-34).