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3 Effective Ways Christians Can Overcome Doubt

Hispanic girl with long dark hair and bangs sitting with her knees pulled up and her hands clasped in front of her face looking discouraged

As Christians, it's not easy to admit that we doubt God.  It feels like we are committing the "unforgivable sin".

It is one thing to renounce God and His teachings, but it is a completely different thing to doubt Him.

In fact, the Bible shares accounts of both men and women of God, who doubted, yet they were not condemned...

Look at doubting Thomas!

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the 
disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and 
put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. 
Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace 
be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. 
Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; 
blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:24-29

Jesus understood Thomas' weakness and not only that, He turned that weakness into a blessing for all  who have not seen Jesus, yet believe in Him for salvation.

What causes doubt in a Christian's life?

So what does doubt look like in a Christian's life?  To have a better understanding, let's look at the definitions of doubt and faith...

Doubt:  feel uncertain about; fear; be afraid.

Faith:  complete trust or confidence in someone or something

What happens when we doubt God as Christians?  We are not doubting His diety or what He has done for us.  Instead, we may be feeling uncertain about a situation or the future which may also be causing us to be fearful or afraid.

We are essentially placing God in a box or ourselves in a box, ascribing human ability on Almighty God or believing that God won't do for us what His Word promises to do.

There is also an element of control on our part, a lack of willingness to accept God's will for our lives, whatever that might look like, especially if it does not align with our hopes and dreams, which causes doubts to rise and anxiety within.

Which leads us to the root of the problem of doubt, a lack of trust, especially when our worlds are in chaos.  We are too busy looking at the waves rather than the One who can calm the seas.

As we saw, the definition of faith means simply having complete trust or confidence {in God}.  By having complete trust and confidence in God, we will render doubt impotent.

What does the Bible say about doubt?

And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 
‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.
Matthew 21:21

Now that's complete trust and confidence in what God can do through us!

There is something about doubt that can sabotage anything.

Years ago, when my children were younger, we went to a Young Life Christian Camp.  One of the events was an intense obstacle course where the kids climbed ladders into trees and then walked across a thin piece of wood to get to the next platform.  The kids that kept their eyes fixed on the goal before them powered through and quickly made it to the next pedestal.  But there were some kids who, understandably, succumbed to the height and became fearful, focused on falling rather than on the finish line.

We too can succumb to the heights of our problems, becoming fearful, with rising doubts causing us to take our focus off the One who can move mountains through us.

The best way to overcome succumbing to doubt is to just do the thing!  With full and total confidence in what God can do through you.

Three Effective Ways to Overcome Doubt

The  Christian's best defense against overcoming doubt is to feed your faith and starve your doubt

Doubt in Prayer

I have shared before that I have no doubts when it comes to praying big for family and friends, but for some reason, I don't often pray big for myself because I just assume the answer will be no.  How silly is that?!  I don't know if deep down, because I am uncertain about whether the hoped for answer to my prayer is God's will, I am afraid of the outcome and just don't pray at all.  Whatever the case, even if I were to pray, I am praying with doubts in my mind...

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, 
for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea 
that is driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6

Here we see a sorry consequence for being doubtful in prayer -- to be in a state of whirling emotions and anxieties is not at all pleasant...  And we are only hurting ourselves...

But take heart, our doubts do not stop God from action.  God's will for a situation happens whether we pray or not...

if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 2:13

Now I don't say that to excuse a lack of prayer.  Quite the contrary, I say that to encourage you to overcome your doubt in prayer by boldly coming forward to the throne room of Grace with your requests and petitions.

The most effective way to overcome doubting prayer is to trust God no matter what the outcome may be.

He will not allow your foot to be moved.
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Psalm 121:3

Doubt in the Word

Even though we spend time in the Word, maybe even memorize some of God's promises, when push comes to shove, and we feel the flames of the fiery trial, we can find ourselves doubting that God's Word will do for us what it says it will.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:5-8

This verse sums up in a nutshell the importance of trusting the Word of God and believing it for all it's worth as a means to overcome doubt -- using Scripture as your plumb line for everything that touches you and everything you do. 

The Bible contains the Treasury of Heaven's wisdom.  Imagine that?!  Right there!  For us to read, consume and practice!

Indeed, sometimes things happen that we do not understand, let alone can even wrap our heads around, yet we have the Word of Life to steady us when we feel like falling into the hopelessness of uncertainty and the uncomfortableness of fear.  The Bible speaks comfort and peace over a child of God.

When you preach the Truth of God's Word to your doubting heart, you will overcome.

Doubt in Who God says He is

As I mentioned at the top of the post, I think Christians really can beat themselves up when they succumb to doubt and fear concerning God and His Word.  It shows the tenderness built into the born again Believer to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind and to believe every Word that comes out of His mouth.

But our gracious God is merciful, even to the doubting Christian...

And have mercy on those who doubt
Jude 1:22

God understands our weaknesses.  Not only does He understand, but He shows compassion in the midst of our doubting.   He takes those opportunities to show us His character, His attributes, His power and His faithfulness.

In my own walk as a Christian, there have been several times where things looked hopeless,  and I doubted God because it appeared that the complete opposite of what I had hoped and prayed for was going to happen...

But  God, being rich in mercy and love, not only answered those prayers, but He exceeded my expectations and did WAY more than I had hoped or imagined for the situation.

Again, this is not to encourage you to doubt to get a big answer, but to remind you of Who God is.   The Lord shows us time and time again in Biblical account after Biblical account all the ways He intervenes for His children and blesses them in amazing ways!  That same God is our God.

When we own the Truth of who we are in Christ Jesus and Who God is, doubt will find no place in our heart, and we will overcome.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Jennifer! And thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

  2. I could so relate to this, dear friend. SO sorry to say that after all these years and all of the answered prayers and all God has done, I still tend to doubt when faced with a new impossibility or challenge. Why do I do that? I have NO idea. It is like the enemy always places that thought in there that this time could be the time that God fails or that I may not make it this time. I hate how satan can mess with my mind. God, help me. This post is very convicting and edifying as are all of your writings. Sending love and gratitude to you to day for your faithfulness to God's call upon your life.

    1. Hi Cheryl, Oh dear friend, I can relate to your struggle soo much! I am the same way! May the Lord strengthen us both to trust Him and to take Satan's lies regarding God's loving care to the obedience of Christ.

      Sending you much love,

  3. True that I can have faith for another but not for myself. Great post!

    1. Hi Sue, Thanks so much for your kind words. And thank you for stopping by! Blessings,

  4. Thank you for the good word. I read somewhere that we should be reading Isaiah 40 every single day to remind us of how majestic God is.

    1. Hi Michele, You are very welcome! That sounds like a wonderful idea! Amen!

      Thanks so much for stopping by. :-)

  5. You have challenged me to pray big - even for myself. Thanks!

    1. Praise God!

      You are very welcome!

      Thank you for stopping by. :-)

  6. It's comforting to know that God has mercy for our struggles with doubt. I think that most often I struggle with doubt that God will use his power to answer ME or doubt that I've made a right decision, and I suppose that in a way that is doubting God's promises and wisdom or his grace.


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