Every person lives by faith. Christians live by faith and atheists live by faith. Scoffers live by faith and martyrs live by faith.
For some, faith becomes doubt.
You can develop a certain pride in considering all the facts – considering yourself to be open-minded. You may even smirk at those who say, “Jesus came to die for our sins.” You believe in Jesus, “But, doesn’t He love everyone?”, and “We have to be careful about the Bible since it was written so long ago.”
The Passion Translation writes Hebrews 3:12 as: “So search your hearts every day, my brothers and sisters, and make sure that none of you has evil or unbelief hiding within you. For it will lead you astray and make you unresponsive to the living God.”
The Bible teaches a growing faith in a relationship with God. It is the only religion based upon relationship, grace, and mercy. All of us have uncertainty in relationships. In a marriage or any committed relationship, faith leads to a growing trust. Faith is forgiving.
Doubt makes us unresponsive to God and ruins our relationship with Jesus. There is a doubt that leads to discernment and a doubt that leads to a vacillation. I hear the following too often: “I’m skeptical of those who believe that you must be saved”, or “There are so many differing opinions, I’m not sure of just one way”, or “Scripture was written by men a long time ago, with a cultural perspective that seems so narrow.”
When doubt becomes the faith of any relationship, this doubt ruins the relationship.
Following Jesus is a relationship. Does trust grow through skepticism and intellectual accumulation? There are facts about any relationship but do facts give life? Of course there will be questions, of course there will be disagreements, of course we will not understand things.
Jesus died on a cross. There are facts to our faith. We live by faith. Doubt skews facts toward skepticism while faith breathes understanding and acceptance.
Focusing on doubt will ruin a relationship with your spouse, your friend, your church, or your Savior. Doubt as a faith brings the harsh reality of judgement that backfires upon your ability to love.
Say to someone that you love, “There are other people to love”, or “I have a list of items that I don’t understand about you”, or “Sorry, since I have doubts, I can’t commit to you anymore.”
The Passion Translations writes: “Make sure you are empowered by confident faith without doubting that you will receive. Being undecided makes you like the rough seas driven and tossed by the wind. You’re up one minute and tossed down the next.” – James 1:6
Is doubt your faith? There is nothing wrong with careful consideration. I have met men and women with stellar trust in our age of questions. I have witnessed a turning in others as the doubt drains life and sprouts weeds. Their supposed new freedom of thought gets stuck in anger and constant dispute.
I have many reasons to doubt. But I have one reason to trust – Jesus met me on a beach in Florida in 1971 and changed my life.