In this world of conflicting ideas and philosophies where many do not acknowledge the Lordship of Christ, or even the existence of God, Christians may struggle with doubt and unbelief. It is not just an issue faced by the young; in our workplaces, places of study and communities, we are all bombarded by world views, ideologies and opinions that conflict with our faith in God and the choice we make to build our lives His way.
There is a divide between the flesh and the spirit, the material world that we see and feel, the immaterial world that can only be perceived by some. The material world, although once good, has been corrupted by sin and is ruled by Satan, for now. Therefore, the messages received from this world are to deceive and blind us to seeing the truth, this is Satan’s plan. The tactics used to execute the deception are numerous, but the result is the same.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8
The aim is to prevent us from seeing ourselves as we really are: fallen sinners in need of a Saviour, and seeing God as He really is: holy, righteous, just and loving.
The enemy used the same tactic on Eve in the Garden of Eden and through deceptive, yet persuasive words, he sowed seeds of unbelief in her heart, and it worked.
We all experience these battles each day, and it always starts with a seed of doubt. Doubt is not helpful and, if left unchecked, grows into unbelief. Now the Bible is very clear in how it refers to unbelief.
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:12-13
It describes the unbelieving heart as an evil one, which I know is not a word I do not want to be associated with. Unbelief is an evil, and as with all evils, we ought to flee from them.
Thankfully, there is help for us in preventing the seeds of doubt to grow into roots of unbelief.
There is nothing that we can’t take to God in prayer. Now, it may seem strange to ask God for help if you are struggling to believe He is even there. But God is near to those who come before Him with a heart that is humble and broken, and honest before Him.
The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
We build up faith by meditating on God’s word and reminding ourselves of the truth that the enemy tries to undermine. This means reading passages of scriptures with a humble and receptive heart. We must not just read it, but receive it onto our souls
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21
Talk to people you trust. Now that is important because as you know, in this world are people going in the opposite direction to God, so you must choose people who will build you up, not further deceive you (Colossians 2:8). They should be people you trust to put you on the right path and encourage you.
We must actively reject the enemy’s plans to deceive and confuse us. Satan is very intentional and focussed in his approach; it is his mission. We must not be naïve to his tactics, but rather, purposefully reject thoughts and ideas that are contrary to the knowledge of God.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
You must also protect yourself, your salvation is precious, it cost Jesus His life! Therefore, you must do whatever you can you protect it, and protect the Word that you have hidden in your heart. This may mean avoiding situations where the culture is very anti-Christian, distancing from people who speak very convincingly about their own lack of belief and watching programmes and reading books that have anti-God ideals.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
In my own journey of faith, I have experienced many dark moments of doubt and sometimes they can be stifling and confusing. But our God is faithfully, and although we will never fully understand Him or His ways, we can always be secure in His unchanging love for us.
This encourages me to press on.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Philippians 3:12