Handle doubts that challenge belief in God and our faith.
Examine and confront doubts on the path to ever stronger faith.
Doubts are healthy if questioned!
The results of my ongoing evaluation has indicated to me that ‘creating a lasting relationship with God’ is essential in our search for belief in him. And of course building Christian faith itself. In effect we need to engage with God. Open ourselves to him.
(I am from a senior auditing background and the majority of my advisory team are Christian clergy. To glimpse the ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ of this website please click here.)
But it is a fact that every believer has the occasional doubt about his or her faith. Granted that most believers have their own ways of knowing that God does exist, but the fact that he does not normally have an ‘in your face’ presence in our lives has to work against that at times.
We can have a whole range of doubts confronting us over our entire journeys of faith, from beginner to experienced Christian. We do need to look for answers. And I am sure they will be there awaiting us.
2. DOUBT’S POSITIVE OUTCOMES
The most important thing to remember about religious doubt, is that it is not an altogether negative frame of mind at all. That is unless we choose to make it so.
A previous church leader of mine told our congregation from the pulpit, quite rightly, that ‘doubt’ and ‘faith’ are not really opposites. In fact, he maintained that they should coexist with each other so as to help us to grow our faith and belief.
He actually understood the process of human doubt as a gift from God. In essence it opens us up to deeper levels of understanding and closeness with him. And I certainly have proved this to be the case for myself!
3. THE CHOICES
Fundamentally then, doubt is a process that should bring us closer to God, rather than the reverse. Actively confronting these types of thoughts, analysing their causes and looking for answers, can provide us with positive results. They offer the means for achieving ever stronger belief and faith. And that in turn strengthens the purpose and contentment in life we can access through the practise of Christianity. That is, we get to receive exactly what faith offers each of us.
On the other hand, by suppressing doubt or ignoring it, we place ourselves in the vulnerable position where faith can unravel when it is needed most. That might be for example at the onset of a genuine life crisis. Yes, doubt is an important issue on the journey of faith.
I have tried in the articles following this one, in the little subsection titled “Dealing with doubts”, to offer guidance on dealing with doubts applicable to:
Answers simply do need to be found as and when doubts arise. Obviously this requires some work on our part. But, do not think that it is beyond you! It is common for each of us to be tempted with that thought at times too.
From my lengthy use and evaluation of Christian faith, I consider there is too much to be gained through “Sound faith” to let those rewards slip through our fingers!
4. THE FINAL WORD
Finally, the following Bible verses, written by St Paul to the church in Philippi, can be applied to guide us when faced with doubt:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is
excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me,
or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
The lessons from these verses when applied to doubt and faith are:
- Don’t be stressed and duly pray about those issues;
- Remember what holds us to faith;
- Put the scriptures into practise with that faith;
- God will protect our faith through both our emotions and reasoning; and
- The God of peace will therefore always be with us.
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