An excerpt from “Loving Jesus More" by Philip Graham Ryken
Doubt is a struggle to be acknowledged—an ordinary dimension of spiritual experience for God’s faithful people in a fallen world.
But doubt is also a temptation to be resisted. The main person who wants us to disbelieve is the Devil, which is why dealing with doubt can be such a dark struggle. The contested ground between faith and unbelief is a spiritual battlefield, and like any form of warfare, it calls for armed resistance.
Some believers spend too much time doubting their faith, and not enough time doubting their doubts. Yes, there are some reasonable questions that thoughtful people have always raised about the Christian faith. But there are also some very good questions that faithful people should raise about their spiritual doubts:
- Have I studied what God has to say on this question, or have I been listening mainly to his detractors?
- Am I well aware of how this doubt has been addressed in the history of Christian theology, or has my thinking been relatively superficial?
- Have I been compromising with sin in ways that make it harder for me to hear God’s voice and diminish my desire for the purity of his truth?
- Is this a doubt that I have offered sincerely to God in prayer, or am I waiting to see if God measures up to my standards before I ask for his help?
All of the doubting believers that I mentioned earlier knew how to fight for the assurance of their faith. When Asaph had his doubts, he went to the temple and worshiped God anyway. Once he was there, he perceived, correctly, that turning away from God would only end in destruction (Ps. 73:16–28). When David had his doubts, he talked them over with God in prayer. And when the half-believing, half-doubting father in the Gospel of Mark wondered if his son would ever be delivered, he went to Jesus and prayed for the gift of triumphant faith.
These are all God-honoring ways to deal with spiritual doubts. Even doubting is something we can do to the glory of God, as long as we do it with God, and not against him. So as you seek the assurance of God’s love, be sure to doubt your doubts!
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