Monday Morning Devotions-November 23, 2020
No Doubt About It
Ask in faith and without any doubting for one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6
Doubts! We all have them, right? From time to time doubts are bound to creep into our minds in various situations in life. The trick is not to let those doubts take over.
Maybe as a Christian you might feel guilt at times when you have doubts about things. You might worry that your doubts will be viewed by God as a lack of faith.
Paul Tillich, a Lutheran Protestant theologian, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century said: "Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith."'
The Josh McDowell ministry elaborates on that thought: "God knows that we will have questions and doubts because we can't see the big picture like He does. That's why He repeatedly tells us, in His Word, to trust and chill (i.e. Do NOT fear!). But God also tells us to pursue the development of our faith. Doubt is a great motivator to fuel this pursuit."
Ann Sullivan author of "Permission to Doubt: One Woman's Journey into a Thinking Faith" writes: "We don't want to appear vulnerable or confused. We were taught that our inquiries are a sign of disrespect or unbelief. We are afraid our faith will buckle under the bright lights of interrogation. And some of us, she adds, sidestep investigation altogether, just to make sure God doesn't get mad at us. But if God is really God, she queries, how could He ever be threatened by us. If our faith is rooted in truth and our ability to reason is a gift from God, shouldn't He be able to handle any question we come up with?"
Pete Enns, a noted college professor says: "Doubting God is painful and frightening because we think we are leaving God behind, but we are only leaving behind the idea of God we like to surround ourselves with---the small God, the God we control, the God who agrees with us. Doubt forces us to look at who we think God is."
When we talk about doubts in relation to people in the Bible poor old Doubting Thomas comes up. It's kinda like on the Saturday morning program I always watch---'Game Day" ---they have this feature called: "You Had One Job." In it they point out big mistakes that occurred in games that in hindsight, are humorous. The idea is that the featured person had one big job and they blew it. Certainly, these players/people did some things right, but they messed up this one big opportunity and that's the one that gets featured.
Well, the disciple Thomas probably did a lot of things right, but he made that one big mistake°he doubted. He had it proven to him as we read in John 20:25: Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe."
From Zondervan's on-line Church Source: "We often judge people by one mistake. We never let them forget it. Further, we never let the world forget it. This is what happened to Thomas. No doubt he showed great faith many times, but we remember him because of his doubt. Today when someone is skeptical, we call that person a doubting Thomas.
One time my alma mater Florida State was playing a crucial football game against archrival Miami. With time running out and the game on the line FSU had an opportunity to win the game with a field goal. But, their kicker, who had one job, missed the field goal. Sadly, it sailed wide right and his team lost. I won't mention his name because the poor fellow has suffered enough over the years. Can you imagine the agony he feels every year when the two rivals play again and invariably the television game producers haul out the video of that "You Had One Job" infamous missed field goal? He must suffer all over again.
As fate would have it the next year another FSU kicker suffered the same fate and they lost again on another wide right field goal. Today, if you mention either of those kicker's names the first thing that comes up will not be all the kicks, they made good on, but the one they didn't.
What should we do when doubts arise? Charles Stanley says:
First-Act in obedience. Not on how you are inclined to act but choose to act in line with the truth. The truth that comes from the Lord and what he reveals to you when you pray about it.
Second, Focus your attention on God. If you get wrapped up in focusing on and worrying about the circumstance you will surely meet defeat.
Third, Set your mind on scripture. Through His word He faithfully promises to deliver you from evil. His word is always proven true.
There's no doubt about it. The opposite of faith isn't doubt, but it's unbelief.
Always remember that your hope is in Jesus because He is trustworthy.
Prayer: Lord, when we have doubts help us to focus on your answers not our own.