Do Real Christians Doubt?

  • Psalm 73 – the doubting can be seen at the beginning, while he simultaneously follows God (e.g. 73:13).
  • Matt. 11:2-19 – John the Baptist doubts Jesus while in prison, but Jesus commends him
  • Mark 9:24-27 – Jesus heals the son of a man who says, “I believe, help my unbelief”
  • Matthew 17:20 (and similar places) – Jesus speaks of needing faith that is only the size of a mustard seed (which is extremely small)
  • Matt. 28:17; Mark 16:14; Luke 24:38; John 20:27 – Doubting occurs in all 4 gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection – note that this was doubting by those closest to Jesus, the very people who would shepherd his church when He’s gone! (also, as an aside, I find this a remarkable defense of the truthfulness of Jesus’ resurrection: no one making up a Jesus-resurrection story inserts so much doubt into Jesus’ closest comrades!)
  • Acts 12:6-17 – the very people who prayed for Peter’s release didn’t believe he could actually be released!
  • Jude 1:22 – “have mercy on those who doubt”
  • 2 Cor. 4:8 – Paul says he was “perplexed.” Though not strictly the same as doubting, the meaning of the word can include an element of doubt.
  • 2 Tim. 2:12-13 – here being “faithless” is contrasted with “denying” Christ. Those who deny are denied by God. But those who are faithless, God remains faithful to. I take this to be the difference between having less confidence in Christ (= doubting) and renouncing Christ altogether (= denying).

So, yes. You can truly follow Christ/God and yet have doubts.

God’s Goal

Though God receives and shows kindness to those who doubt, He does not want us to maintain or celebrate a weak faith filled with doubts. Instead, he wants faith in Christ to grow more and more (2 Pet. 1:5-8; Jude 1:20; etc.).

Grow Your Faith

Faith…

  • Comes through God’s Word (Rom. 10:17) – thus, reading/hearing Scripture is an important step in bringing faith
  • Rests in God’s power (not human intellect) (1 Cor. 2:1-5) – at the core of biblical faith is a supernatural work and revelation of God. This does not mean our reasoning has no place, but it is not the ultimate place our faith should rest.
  • Grows through Spirit-led prayer (Jude 1:20)

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