• Word Of Life Church

"The Doubt Route"



“The Doubt Route”

“Everything is possible for one who believes…

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

-Mark 9:20-24

“Doubt”, in and of itself, is neither good nor bad,

however, it seems to hurt us more than help us.

After you have thought through, prayed through, and talked through your doubt, there are one of two things that you can do.

1. You can “doubt”.

(And not act upon it)

2. You can “doubt your doubt”.

(And act upon it even though you feel doubt)

Do I take the “Doubt Route”

or do I take the

“Doubt my Doubt Route”?

Whether doubts belong to you or to someone else, you will always have to deal with them in one way or another.

If you are in sales, will you make the deal or not?

You will typically have some level of doubt.

If you are a student, will you get an A, B, C, D or F?

When I was a student, I always had some level of doubt as to how well I would perform on the test.

If you are a juror, you will be asked if there is “Reasonable Doubt” or is the evidence “Beyond the shadow of the doubt” with respect to the verdict of guilty or not guilty.

If you are a gambler, what are the odds?

How doubtful, likely or unlikely is a bet?

What is the payout?

The payout will determine the level of doubt that the gambler is willing to accept.

It seems very hard at times not to doubt, so

let’s make sure that we handle doubt in

a God-pleasing way.

Since God wants faith to be the answer to doubt, let’s look at the kind of faith that

He wants us to have.

THE KIND OF FAITH GOD WANTS IS A…

1. A faith that Considers doubts as a natural part of life.

Do NOT assume that “Faith” is the

“Absence of Doubt”.

“Faith” is not the absence of Doubt,

it is the “Means to Overcome” it.

2. A faith that Considers, thinks about, and “admits” areas of personal doubt.

Don’t be embarrassed about your doubts.

It is not weakness to have doubts.

Consider the weakness to actually be in NOT admitting your doubts to yourself.

3. A faith that does not allow doubts to stop you in your tracks.

Walk through the doubt to get to the promise/blessing.

4. A faith that is active “Even Though”…

“EVEN THOUGH” & DOUBT

Two beautiful, powerful, faithful LINKING words...... “Even though”

They Link contradictory Thoughts & Feelings together.

Perhaps the most famous “Even Though” to help us deal with doubt is found Psalm 23.

The example of David:

(Psalm 23)

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

4 EVEN THOUGH I walk

through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever.”

David is saying, I feel secure “even though” I’m afraid.

The Example of Martha:

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

22 BUT I know that EVEN NOW God will give you whatever you ask.”

She is really saying, “EVEN THOUGH” Lazarus died, you can still do something about it.

But, note that later she appears to have doubts as to how Jesus was going to raise Lazarus.

38 Jesus…came to the tomb… 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

BUT, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

-John 11:21-39

So the question is;

Does she believe that Jesus can raise Lazarus of not?

She seems inconsistent with her doubts.

She did not realize that we will have to use the phrase “Even though” over and over again in order to get through challenging situations in life.

Q: Where are you inconsistent or “double-minded” with your doubts?

James 1:5-8

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and NOT DOUBT, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

ASK GOD TO HELP YOU IN YOUR AREAS OF DOUBT

“When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything,

take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus.

“Everything is possible for one who believes.”

24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed,

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

-Mark 9:20-24

Can you identify with the dad here?

You want so badly not to be plagued with doubts yet you have them.

You’ve used the “Even though” approach, but something new comes up where you have to use it again and again.

God can help you to trust in him in the face of any doubt.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.”

- Proverbs 3:5,6

GOD WILL HELP US OVERCOME OUR DOUBT AND UNBELIEF

WHEN DOES DOUBT, WIN-OUT?

1. When we don’t Meditate/Think/Pray enough.

2. When we Meditate/Think/Pray too much.

3. When we don’t balance the use of the Microscope and the Telescope.

4. When we get stuck.

5. When we are weak (spiritually, physically, relationally, mentally, financially, emotionally, etc)

6. When our experiences are different than our expectations.

Example of John the Baptist.

John’s Expectation was the Jesus would come and clean house punishing those who were persecuting the Jewish people, but instead John heard him talking about forgiveness, love and peace.

Matthew 3:7-12

“When he [John the Baptist] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. BUT after me comes one [Jesus] who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 Hiswinnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

[Judgement]

Then John says about Jesus;

Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

-John 1:29

This was at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

Note John the Baptist later on in Jesus’ ministry.

Later on, John doubts because Jesus doesn’t seem to be putting the hammer down in judgement upon the Gentiles who oppose the Jewish people.

He seems to be lovey-dovey, preaching love and forgiveness rather than taking control and bringing the wrath of God.

This seems to cause him to doubt what he said about Jesus in the beginning.

Matthew 11:2-6

“When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

[Doubt]

Note that “Incomplete” beliefs about things can very easily become a sources of doubt in our life.

If we only believe that God is a loving God, then we will expect him to always act loving.

When he seems to act in non-loving ways, we will be tempted to doubt him as a loving God.

Whenever He allows something bad to happen, we may say “How can a loving God allow this to happen?”

Because we expect a loving God to always act and allow only loving and good things in our lives, when it appears that he allows bad things to happen, we may doubt him as being loving, or may even doubt whether he exists or not.

The “complete” belief about God is that he is loving AND he is just.

However, we may only see the balanced and complete picture of God “IN THE END”.

4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me”.

7. When we take our eyes off of Jesus.

Example of Peter

Matthew 14:13-31

13 When Jesus heard what had happened,

[The death of John the Baptist]

he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.

[Though Jesus was not having a crisis of faith or was questioning God, for us, Traumatic news can make us question things and doubts can arise.

When we hear traumatic news, take it to God rather than trying to handle it alone. When we don’t go to God, doubts usually have opportunity to be planted, watered and grow, grow, grow.]

14 When Jesus landed

and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick…

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

[Jesus Walks on the Water]

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them:

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

30 BUT when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink,

[Fear can very easily produce doubt.]

[Fear and doubt often come when we take our eyes off Jesus]

cried out, “Lord, save me!”

[Always focus your eyes back on Jesus whenever you have taken them of him. For he is our source of rescue. Here Peter cries out “Lord, save me!” and Jesus did. He always does!]

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.

[Jesus will always start the “process of rescue” right away. He will always give you at least a little something to hold on to.]

“You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

[The answer could involve many things, we don’t really know exactly, but here are some possibilities.]

1. He could have prayed too quickly not being fully ready for Jesus’ answer to walk on water when he actually took his first step out of the boat.

2. His human reasoning could have drowned out the faith that he demonstrated getting out of the boat.

3. He found himself in brand new territory and could have simply panicked.

4. He of course obviously took his eyes off of Jesus.

“BUT when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink…” (v.30)

WHEN DOES DOUBT, LOSE-OUT?

When we humbly walk with Jesus.

When we humbly walk with Jesus.

When we humbly walk with Jesus.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,

and he will make your paths straight.”

- Proverbs 3:5,6

DO NOT GIVE CENTERSTAGE TO DOUBT

FAITH is not the absence of Doubt.

It is the means to OVERCOME it.

YOU WILL HAVE DOUBTS,

JUST DON’T LET THEM BE DEAD ENDS.

“Everything is possible for one who believes…

I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

-Mark 9:20-24

“Blessed are those who fear [respect] the Lord, who find great delight in his commands… They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.”

- Psalm 112:1,7

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All