"Stop doubting and believe."
- John 20:27 NIV
As followers of Christ, we are called "believers." But all too often, it would be more correct to call us "doubters." Doubt and unbelief are robbing God's people of their purpose in life, as well as their victories, blessings, and rewards. How can we cooperate with the Lord to dispel doubt and unbelief, and to lay hold of all that He has in store for us?
First, we need to acknowledge our doubts, and to confess them as sin before the Lord. The Bible says: "See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God." (Hebrews 3:12 NIV) Once we acknowledge that our doubts are a sin against God, we position ourselves to receive His forgiveness and cleansing. Scripture says: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9 NKJV) This kind of repentance releases divine power into the believer's life that will increase our resistance to temptation and sin, even where doubt is concerned. Perhaps you're thinking, "Well, I can't help it if I doubt sometimes. I just don't have the faith that some others have." But that's simply not true, because the Bible says, "God has dealt to each one a measure of faith." (Romans 12:3 NKJV) You already have faith. You just need to exercise the faith you have, so that it may increase. Don't wait until you have something big to believe God for. Practice using your faith in little ways. Believe God for a parking space, a good seat at a restaurant, or a fast-moving line at the grocery store. Then, when you need to believe God for something major, your faith won't fail you, and you'll be able to receive the big blessings He longs to give you.
Second, when we're struggling with doubt, we must recall past deliverances, and declare our future deliverance in the face of daunting circumstances. The apostle Paul declared: "He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us." (2 Corinthians 1:10 NIV) As Paul stated, "He has...He will...He will continue to deliver us," he affirmed his belief in God's ability and willingness to protect and provide for him, no matter what or who might come against him. Think about the times the Lord healed you, provided for you, and protected you--times when you wondered if He would come through for you. Thank Him for those blessings, and for the ones that He is still in the process of preparing for you right now. When you begin to doubt, declare, "My God, whom I serve continually, shall deliver me!" (Daniel 6:16) Claim your deliverance before it manifests, not just by thinking it, but by speaking it out loud. And tell others that you are trusting the Lord to help you. As Scripture says: "Oh, how great is Your goodness to those who publicly declare that You will rescue them. For You have stored up great blessings for those who trust and reverence You." (Psalm 31:19 TLB)
Third, if we're to have victory over doubt, we must meditate on God's Word and promises. Scripture tells us, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17 NKJV) As we make an effort to read, study, listen to, and speak God's Word regularly, we will sense faith rising in our hearts. As we become grounded in God's truth, as expressed in the Scriptures, we will not be easy targets for Satan and his deceptions. Isaiah 62:6 (AMP) says: "Put the Lord in remembrance of His promises." The Bible contains more than 7,000 promises for God's people. The Lord has gone ahead of us and provided us with divine promises of victory and success for every trial and challenge we will ever face. By saying, "Lord, Your Word says..." in every situation, we remind Him that we believe Him, and that we are looking to Him for help.
Lastly, when we are being assailed by doubt, we need to pray. The psalmist said: "Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer." (Psalm 94:19 TLB) Doubt causes inner turmoil and torment, but faith fills us with peace, joy, and hope. A desperate father once asked Jesus, "Help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24 NIV) The Savior graciously responded to this man's heartfelt prayer, and He will respond to ours, too.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to confess that I'm struggling with doubt whenever I sense my faith faltering. Help me to recall instances of Your past faithfulness, and to remind You of Your promises to me. Thank You that as I cooperate with You for the enlarging of my faith, I will be able to heed Your command to "stop doubting and believe"! (John 20:27 NIV)
- J. M. Farro