Archive for September, 2011
Circumstances are actually the number one reason people doubt God. When our prayers are unanswered, when a tragedy strikes, when we’re faced with an impossible situation.
In Mark 4:35-41 Jesus is out on the Lake of Galilee with His disciples. He’s asleep and a great storm comes up. So, they wake Jesus up and say, “Jesus, don’t You care if we drown?” That’s a typical reaction when we get under pressure. We start doubting God and say, “Don’t You care God?”
That’s a typical reaction when we get under pressure. We start doubting God. We doubt if he knows what’s happening in our life. We doubt if he cares what’s happening to us. We even doubt if he is able to do anything for us. Those are the kinds of doubts that people have when they face severe circumstances.
After Jesus finished feeding the thousands of people with the five loaves of bread and two fish, he made his disciples get into a boat to go back across the Sea of Galilee while he went up on a mountain to pray.
When the disciples were far out at sea a storm came up. So, Jesus came to them by walking on the water. At first the disciples thought it was a ghost but Jesus calmed their fears and told them, “Don’t worry! I am Jesus. Don’t be afraid.” Peter was so confident that he even got out of the boat to walk to Jesus. But along the way he took his eyes off Jesus and realized how strong the wind was and how big the waves were and started sinking. Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and helped Peter. Now look at what Jesus said to Peter in this next verse.
Matthew 14:31 …”You surely don’t have much faith. Why do you doubt?” (CEV)
That’s what circumstances can do. They can cause you to doubt God.
In the movie, “The Count Of Monte Cristo” Edmond Dantes, a young sailor with a strong faith in God is betrayed by his best friend and then wrongly imprisoned. In his cell, he sees an inscription on the wall that reads, “God will give me justice.” Edmond clings to that hope, but year after year, God is silent and Edmond is severely tortured. Gradually, due to his circumstances, his hope fades and he begins to doubt God. And eventually his faith and love turn into anger and revenge.
How do you keep your doubts from defeating you? How do you stay confident without having any doubts?
That’s what I’m going to be speaking about this Sunday at The Bridge Church. If you’re in the area, come check us out and listen to what the Bible says about, “The Solution To My Doubts.”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are often troubled, but not crushed; sometimes in doubt, but never in despair; 9 there are many enemies, but we are never without a friend; and though badly hurt at times, we are not destroyed. (TEV)
Not only can doubts arise in your heart because of your critics but sometimes they can also be as a result of your CONSCIENCE.
Have you ever done something and felt guilty about doing it, then start having doubts about it? Whenever we feel guilty we have a tendency to rationalize our beliefs so they’ll better fit your lifestyle.
1 Timothy 1:19 Cling tightly to your faith in Christ and always keep your conscience clear, doing what you know is right. For some people have disobeyed their consciences and have deliberately done what they knew was wrong. It isn’t surprising that soon they lost their faith in Christ after defying God like that. (LB)
If you have a guilty conscience you’re going to start denying your beliefs. I got a speeding ticket in Norco a few years ago on 6th street. The speed limit there is 35 mph, but I was going 45 mph. Even though I believe in the law and know that 35 mph is safe, the first thing I thought when I got the ticket was, “I think that 35 mph speed limit on 6th street is stupid and I believe it should be 45 mph!”
This happens all the time in other areas of our life. We say things like “I don’t care what God says. I believe …” Or “That’s your interpretation, but I believe….”
Your conscience can cause you to doubt your beliefs and cause you to rationalize your actions or lifestyle. That’s because our morality determines our theology and the way we act.
So, your critics can cause you to doubt God and your conscience can cause you to doubt God. Tomorrow we will look at the last reason why we sometimes doubt.
Romans 4:20 But Abraham never doubted or questioned God’s promise. His faith made him strong, and he gave all the credit to God. (CEV)
Having doubts are normal for every Christian. Even some of the greatest people mentioned in the Bible had doubts.
Maybe the most famous doubter of all was Thomas. Alias “Doubting Thomas”.
John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” (NRSV)
Why is it that we sometimes have doubts? Over the next few days I’m going to share three reasons.
The first reason why we sometimes doubt is because of CRITICS.
Critics are those people who challenge and ridicule our beliefs. It’s like the atheist who challenged the preacher. The Atheist asked: “Do you honestly believe that Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a whale?” The Preacher said: “I don’t know, sir, but when I get to heaven, I’m gonna ask him about it.” The Atheist replied: “But what if Jonah isn’t in heaven? To which the Preacher said: Then YOU can ask him!”
Some people say, “I only accept what I can understand.” If that’s the case, you’re going to doubt a lot because there are a lot of things we just can’t understand. I don’t understand how Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, but I believe he did it. If God could be completely understood then He wouldn’t be God. The Bible says a lot about scoffers and critics. David had to deal with a lot of them.
Psalms 73:8-11 They scoff at God and threaten his people. How proudly they speak! 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut through the earth. 10 And so God’s people are dismayed and confused… “Does God realize what is going on?” they ask. (LB)
Critics can’t stand to be around joyful Christians. They want us to be miserable just like them. So they’re always trying to criticize and cause us to doubt. But instead of listening to our critics, we need to listen to God and his word.
Psalm 119:39 Deflect the harsh words of my critics— but what you say is always so good. (MSG)