by Omolola Oriogun
Have you ever doubted your faith? Ever imagined “can GOD do this? We all have doubts from time to time. We may doubt that our boss really hit a hole-in-one at the golf course last weekend, or that our best friend really caught a fish as big as the one he claimed to catch, or that the strange looking guy on that light night TV show was really abducted by alien beings from a distant galaxy.
Sometimes the things we doubt aren’t really that important, but other times they are. And the more important something is to us, the more personally invested we are in it, the scarier it can be to start having doubts about it. So when Christians begin to have doubts about something as significant as the truth of their Christian faith, it’s quite understandable that this might worry or even frighten them.
For many Christians, merely having doubts of any kind can be scary. They wonder whether their questions disqualify them being a follower of CHRIST. They feel insecure because they’re not sure whether it’s permissible to express uncertainty about GOD, JESUS, or the Bible. So they keep their questions to themselves and inside, unanswered, they grow and fester, until they eventually succeed in choking out their faith.
What can we do if we find ourselves struggling with doubts about the truth of Christianity?
First, we must always remember that sooner or later we’ll probably all have to wrestle with doubts about our faith. “But any Christian who is intellectually engaged and reflecting about his faith will inevitably face the problem of doubt.” Doubts can arise for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes they’re largely intellectual. We might doubt that the Bible is really inspired by GOD or that JESUS was really born of a virgin. But doubts can take other forms as well.
Why do such doubts arise?
If a person has experienced great sorrow or disappointment, such as personal wounds from family or friends, the loss of a job, a painful divorce, the death of a loved one, or the loss of health, they may be seriously tempted to doubt the goodness, love, and care of their heavenly Father.
How can we rid ourselves of these taunting Goliaths?
Whenever doubts come and whatever form they take, we must each deal honestly with our doubts using the word of GOD that says “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for GOD to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even JESUS, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec… Heb. 6:18-20.”
To ignore them is to court spiritual disaster. But facing them can lead ultimately to a deeper faith. “A faith that’s challenged by adversity or tough questions… is often a stronger faith in the end.”
Sometimes people have sincere doubts about the truth of Christianity, intellectual obstacles that hinder them from placing their trust in CHRIST. In such cases, we Christians have an obligation to respond to the person’s doubts and make a humble and thoughtful defense for the truth of Christianity. Nevertheless, it’s important to realize that “doubt is never a purely intellectual problem.” Like it or not, there’s always a “spiritual dimension to the problem that must be recognized.” Because of this, sometimes a person’s objections to Christianity are really just a smokescreen, an attempt to cover up the real reason for their rejection of CHRIST, which is often an underlying moral or spiritual issue.
I once heard a story about a Christian apologist who spoke at a university about the evidence for Christianity. Afterward, a student approached him and said, “I honestly didn’t expect this to happen, but you satisfactorily answered all my objections to Christianity.” The apologist was a bit startled by such a frank admission, but he quickly recovered himself and said, “Well that’s great! Why not give your life to CHRIST right now, then?” But the student said, “No. I’m not willing to do that. I would have to change the way I’m living, and I’m just not ready to do that right now.”
In this case all the student’s reasons for doubting the Christian faith had, by his own admission, been satisfactorily answered. What was really holding him back were not his doubts about the truth of Christianity, but a desire to live life on his own terms. To put it bluntly, he didn’t want GOD meddling in his affairs. He didn’t want to be morally accountable to some ultimate authority.
The truth is that a person’s intellectual objections to Christianity are rarely the whole story. It is observed that, “A man rejects GOD neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects GOD because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God.”
As HE came down the mountain, JESUS was met by a large crowd of people. A father had brought his demon possessed son to JESUS’ disciples, but they were not able to cast the demon out. In desperation the father appealed to JESUS, “If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” JESUS answered, “If You can believe! All things are possible to him who believes.” The father responded, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
Can you identify with the father in this story? I know I can. Oftentimes as Christians we find that our faith is in precisely the same state as this father’s. We genuinely believe, but we need help with our unbelief. It’s always been an encouragement to me that after the father’s admission of a faith mixed with doubt, JESUS nonetheless cast out the demon and healed the man’s son. But of course no Christian should be content to remain in this state.
If we want to grow in our faith and rid ourselves of doubts, what are some positive steps we can take to accomplish this?
Well, in the first place, it’s helpful to be familiar with the “principle of displacement.” As we know, the Bible teaches the principle of “displacement.” That is, rather than trying to make thoughts shoo away, we are told to replace them with what is good, true, and perfect (Phil. 4:8). As the truth comes in the lies are displaced—much like when we fill a bathtub too full of water, and when we get in, our bodies displace the water, which flows out over the top of the tub.
Once we grasp this principle, a number of steps for dealing with doubt quickly become evident. For one thing, we can memorize and meditate upon the word of GOD. We can also listen attentively to good Christian music. Apostle Paul speaks to the importance of both in Colossians 3:16… “Let the word of CHRIST dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to GOD.”
In addition, we can read good Christian books that provide answers to some of the questions we might be asking. Great Christian scholars have addressed almost every conceivable objection to the truth of Christianity. If you have nagging doubts about some aspect of your faith, there’s almost certainly a work of Christian scholar that speaks to it in detail. Finally, we must never forget that this is a spiritual battle. So let’s remember to put on the full armor of GOD so we can stand firm in the midst of it!!!