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Do You Ever Doubt God?

by David A. DePra


     If you read the gospels and epistles, it is clear that unbelief,

or doubt, is not just something that is bad. It is absolute poison.

     Notice just a few verses on the subject:


But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to

God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that

diligently seek Him. (Heb. 11:6)


Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of

unbelief, in departing from the living God. (Heb. 3:12)


And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of

faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. (Rom. 14:23)


     Now, if you are the average Christian, these verses scare you.

They scare you because you know that you have plenty of doubts

about many things having to do with Christianity. And you may even

go so far as to condemn yourself for those doubts. 

     Most Christians think that when God commands us to believe that

He is doing so "under threat of punishment." We think He is saying,

"Believe or else!" So we believe! The trouble is, our "faith," in this

case, is not faith. It is more of a emotional state we have created

to insulate ourselves from honest questions.

     So what IS faith? What does it mean to believe? And what is

unbelief? Answering those questions will clear up most of these

other issues and unnecessary problems.




     Most people would define "doubt" as "being unsure whether

something is true." If I don't know for sure, then I DOUBT. I am not

certain of it's truth.

     There are reasons we might doubt something. The primary

reason is that we don't have all the facts. Or perhaps we don't know

if we are interpreting the facts we do have correctly. These are

valid reasons for doubting. By definition, it is impossible for me to

believe something I am unsure of.

     Now let's ask a big question: Does God expect us to believe

and embrace things we are NOT sure of? In other words, does

God command us -- under threat of punishment -- to believe certain

things? I mean, even if we are uncertain of them?

     No. Absolutely not. If I am honestly unsure about something,

then God never tells me to force myself to ignore my doubt. If I did

ignore my doubts, then I would have no safeguard against error.

I'd just force myself to believe and embrace everything.

     Instead of ignoring doubts, God wants us to be totally honest

with Him about them. He wants us to take them before His throne,

without fear, and to open them to Him. Then, in time, God will show

us the Truth.

     Those kinds of doubts -- doubts which I take before God -- are

totally normal for a Christian. If I think I am not going to have honest

doubts -- and lots of them -- then I am deluded. All of us have many

areas of ignorance. And ignorance leads to doubts. Yet this is not

necessary a bad thing. The doubts spawned from ignorance may

be a sign I am treading new ground in Christ. The important issue

is whether I am facing my doubts on my knees before God, and

unconditionally seeking Him for the Truth.

     Now, UNBELIEF -- under the Biblical use of the term -- is NOT an

honest doubt. It is, in fact, a DIShonest doubt. In effect, unbelief is

not ignorance, or an inability to believe. It is a REFUSAL to believe.

     If I am walking in unbelief, I may give a show of taking my doubts

before the Lord. But in my heart my agenda is set. I will say I want

the Truth, but on my terms. I will go only so far with God. There are

certain answers to my doubts which I will not accept or consider.

     Those who are guilty of unbelief refuse to open themselves to

God. That is why unbelief is "hardness of heart." But this does not

mean they consciously know everything about the Truth in question,

and are refusing to surrender to it. No, rather it is more likely that

they COULD know the Truth but refuse to know it. Those who have

a hardness of heart before God have conditioned themselves to

refuse anything as being of God which does not adjust itself to

their own will.

     It is important to understand this. Faith allows God to adjust us

to the Truth. It is open to this even before we understand what the

Truth is. But unbelief seeks to adjust the Truth to fit us. And again,

this is done in our hearts. We may not even understand the full

ramifications of what we are doing. But we do it regardless.

     God does upbraid us for unbelief. That is because we have no

excuse for it. It is not ignorance, or a sincere doubt. It is not an

emotional or intellectual issue. It is a moral issue. We are resisting

God Himself.

     Now, this should be both sobering and good news at the same

time. On the one hand, it should tell us that it is ok to have doubts

about things. It is ok to doubt whether we are hearing God correctly,

or properly interpreting Him. It is ok to have uncertainty during the

certain seasons and phases of our life in God. These we can take

to God that He might bring us into the Truth. But it is not ok to refuse

to be moved by God. It is not ok to tell God what we will accept as

the Truth. This is unbelief and certain disaster.




      Faith is belief and trust in God Himself. It operates completely

independent of having all the facts, and of knowing for sure whether

I am interpreting them correctly. For even if I have doubts about

where God is leading me, I can still trust the One doing the leading.

Even if I don't fully understand, I can trust the One who does. Even

if I have doubts about what God MEANS, I can trust Him, for He

knows what He means.

     I can believe God even if I have uncertainty about what He is

doing! Isn't that a contradiction? No. God Himself, and how I

interpret Him, are mutually exclusive. I can easily trust the Person.

But I may be completely surrounded by uncertainty regarding

what that Person is doing.

     The Bible states this Truth without disclarity. It says,


Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own

understanding. (Prov. 3:5)


     Clearly, we ARE to trust God --- using what? Our understanding?

No. Our minds? No. Our emotions? No. We are to trust God with

our hearts. This means that we may indeed not understand. We

may not "feel" like we have much faith. But we can still trust Him

with all of our hearts.

     And as if it needed to be any clearer, God gives us the opposite

of what it means to trust Him with all of our hearts. He says, "Lean

not unto thine own understanding." This means that we should not

put our faith in our ability to understand God. We should not put our

faith and confidence in whether we have God "figured out." Also,

we are not to give away our faith because we do NOT understand

the Lord. This too, is placing our faith in our understanding. We

need to trust Him in our hearts -- as a concrete moral decision.

     Have you doubts? Take them before God. Ironically, it takes

FAITH to take your doubts before God. But doing so is a sure sign

that your faith is in the Person of God, even if you have many doubts

as to whether you fully understand Him or what He is doing.

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