Doubting Your Doubts
“The world’s sin is unbelief in me” (John 16:9 TLB).
I have always been more interested in the root cause of a problem rather than dealing with the results of the problem. As Christians we talk a lot about sin, particularly the separation of the sinner from God and the forgiveness of sin due to the blood of Jesus for those that repent and earnestly seek His face.
However, I wonder if we truly understand the basis behind our sin. Some would argue that the root cause is a desire to live in the flesh, pursue our own desires rather than discern His will, the natural consequence of original sin, or perhaps another reason. I think all of these are valid answers but there may be something a little deeper that we can explore.
I believe that at the root of every sin rests at least a momentary doubt about God. In John 16:9 Jesus says, “The sin is unbelief in me.” When we don’t believe the divine or sovereign nature of our Lord, that is the root of all sin.
At each visit to my doctor, my body temperature and blood pressure are checked to indicate my physical health. Our emotions are an indicator of our spiritual health. Some emotions reveal an inner doubt in God and will surely lead to sin and a separation from the Father.
As we grow impatient, it reveals doubt in God’s perfect timing. God has a plan for our lives, but His time is often different from our time but it is always better and perfect. Scripture teaches in 2 Peter 3:8-9, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
God is never going to be in a hurry. In John 11 we read that Jesus delayed His departure for two days after receiving word that Lazarus was dying. How often do we want things to happen our own timetable? How often do we take action to accomplish our desires without waiting to allow God to act at the perfect time and perfect manner?
Another indicator emotion is resentment or bitterness. These emotions reveal doubt in God’s wisdom. We easily trust God during good times, but we truly trust in Him when we follow Him in bad times. During the bad times do you become disappointed in God? Also, during bad times do you doubt that He can bring good out of bad as promised in Romans 8:28.
Guilt is a negative emotion that reveals an unbelief in God’s forgiveness. I think short term guilt is healthy because it can serve to prevent us from making similar poor choices in the future. However, the duration of your guilt should be commensurate with the time needed to confess your sin. Long-term guilt result from an inability to forgive yourself because you don’t believe God has forgiven you.
At times we feel inadequate, which reveals we doubt in God’s power. Scripture tells us repeatedly that God does not call the empowered, but He empowers those that He calls. As Christians, we have all been called into ministry through our baptism and profession of faith. True power never comes from the flesh but rather from the Spirit. There is no power on this earth that is remotely close to His power.
If you have these negative emotions and want to gain victory, then you need to start doubting your doubts. If you believe in God’s Word, you can trust what it says about the nature of God and His love for you. He keeps His promises, has perfect timing, is wise, forgives you, and works powerfully through you. The right next step to victory is to read Scripture AND believe His promises and reject any doubt that is from the enemy. .
Prayer: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;* the third day He rose from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic** church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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