These questionings in our mind are a tactic of Satan to undermine our belief in the truth of what God has said. “Did God really say that?” was an opportunity for Eve to remind herself and speak out God’s words, instead she listened to Satan and fell into his subtle trap (Gen 2:16,17, 3:1-6).
Doubts are a negative mental response. To overcome them focus your mind with faith in God’s promises, and praise Him for the blessings already received. Do I regularly feed my mind on the promises of God and praise Him for His hand on my life?
Challenge your doubts with the promises of God’s Word
can help us clarify our beliefs and strengthen our faith, but they are also dangerous times when wrong decisions can be made if our feelings dictate the response and not the promises of the Bible. Doubts often arise because we analyse a situation by the natural mind whereas faith is seeing the problem from God’s perspective. If there is a conflict between God’s promises and your reasoning or understanding of the situation ask the Lord to increase your faith as doubts prevent us from receiving from God (Lk 17:5; Jas 1:5,6). By doubting, we forfeit the peace of God.
A by-product of our inherited sin nature, mankind is essentially negative, with doubts anticipating failure and defeat. As these traits are not beneficial to our Christian walk, they must be ‘taken captive’ and made obedient to Christ and submissive to His Word (the Bible), being replaced by good and uplifting, yet realistic thoughts (2 Cor 10:5; Phil 4:8).
Thomas, one of the original disciples has been called 'doubting Thomas' because he did not accept the verbal accounts of the other disciples that Jesus had risen – however later when Jesus connected with Thomas his words were, "My Lord and my God" as his apprehensions were replaced when he saw the proof (Jn 20:24-28).
Doubt your doubts, not your faith
Wilful and unrepentant sin is an indicator of an untransformed heart (Rom 6:1,2; 1 Jn 3:6,9). The presence of doubts does not necessarily indicate a lack of salvation, nor the absence of doubt confirm salvation, although it is healthy to challenge your assumptions to ensure you are a Christian (2 Cor 13:5). While we are new creations in Christ, sin easily entangles us and we all stumble and sin in many ways (2 Cor 5:17; Heb 12:1; Jas 3:2). As believers, our response is to repent and ask for forgiveness (1 Jn 1:9). Then we take steps not to repeat the sin: proving by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God (Lk 3:8). Recognising and struggling with sin in your life shows the Holy Spirit is at work within – co-operate with Him. Persistent guilt over past sins is another ploy of Satan, "the accuser" (Rev 12:10). We all have regrets about past wrongs, and coupled with accusations can create much doubt. Yet if we have repented of those sins about which we feel guilt take hold of the promise, "As far as the east is from the west God has removed the sin from us" (Ps 103:12).
When we are spiritually dry and not feeling close to God, we can have doubts but feelings are untrustworthy indicators. The promise of Scripture is, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (Jas 4:8). He will come nearer to us whether or not we feel Him. We walk by faith, not by sight and the input from feelings or moods (2 Cor 5:7). It is as we focus our attention on Jesus and what He has done rather than being absorbed by our own thoughts we will come into victory (Jn 1:12, 3:16-18; Heb 12:2).
Self-doubt disempowers, so don’t let it control you, rather you master it. Do the opposite to what self-doubt suggests; push out your borders. Counter negative, destructive, limiting self-doubt with positive faith and confidence. If the positive is greater than the negative, you will be winning the battle. What we believe we can achieve, what we doubt we do without! Confidence in yourself plus preparation will help you have faith. When we experience doubt, we must increase our dependence on God in prayer and feeding our faith through reading the Word of God.
See also: assurance, declare, dependence, desert, disillusioned, double minded, faith/crisis of, fear, negative, positive mental attitude, promises, questions, Thomas, unbelief, worry.