Jesus tells us to “Have faith in God.”1 And we do! But then . . . 😟 sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we doubt. We doubt that God will remember all his promises regarding us. Doubt will slip into our minds and settle in our hearts and cause the very ground beneath us to shift. Doubt is Satan’s greatest weapon. It infiltrates our faith. What do we do when we begin to doubt? Fight back! But not before we are ready for battle. Paul tells us to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.”2 Our faith is a shield that can prevent us from being shaken. Without it, we will be hit with “flaming darts,” which are not only painful but debilitating and cause us to doubt.
So “in all circumstances”2 we are to hold out our shield of faith. However, not all shields are the same. Wait! 😦 What? You see, if our faith is weak, so is our shield, and a weak shield is only good for a short while. During our battles, we will discover how strong or how weak our faith is. If we find out our faith is weak, we often quit because the battle is too long and hard. And we say, I just don’t have enough faith. 😟 And we justify our doubts. We convince ourselves that we should quit. That we have already lost. We believe that God is not fighting for us, that he has left us. And there is nothing to believe in anymore. And we don’t just lose the battle, we lose our faith. It is gone. Doubt has won. 🙁
But what we fail to realize is that the battle is the place where faith becomes strong. In fact, it is the only place where faith grows. So, when someone says to me (as a friend did recently) You just have more faith than I do, my reaction is—Poppycock!! (Excuse my strong language! 🙄) It’s not a matter of having more faith; it’s a matter of staying in the battle! Not quitting. The battle is our testing ground. It is where the weak become strong. Where the fearful become fearless. Where the hopeless find faith. You know, faith: “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”3
If we lose faith, then all we are left with is doubt. You know, doubt: the assurance of things feared, the conviction of things seen. It’s the opposite of faith. Without faith, we believe that what we fear can happen—will happen, and what we see—is all there is to see. To live in doubt is to trust only in our past disappointments and to doubt that anything will ever change. It is to live in despair.
How do we not give in to despair? Simple. Have faith! 😏 It’s not a matter of having more faith. It’s a clear-cut choice. Either God can be trusted or he can’t. Either I have faith or I don’t. Is there really an in-between stage? 🤔
One day Jesus was approached by an anxious man who doubted if Jesus could help him. Jesus boldly told him, “All things are possible for one who believes.”4 And the man cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”5 To which I say, Poppycock!! 🤨 You either believe, or you don’t! Here’s what happens to those who ask God for help but have doubts that God will really help. “For the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose he will receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”6
There is no use praying unless we believe God can be trusted with our prayers. There is no use praying unless we have faith. But you know what? I am beginning to believe that everyone has faith. The thing is though—some people have faith in their doubts. 😯 I prefer to have faith in God. 😉
1Mark 11:22 2Ephesians 6:16 3Hebrews 11:1 4Mark 9:23 5Mark 9:24 6James 1:6-7