Risen: Evidence – how to deal with your doubt.
Experiencing spiritual doubt can be a lonely experience, but according to a new study from Barna, it’s more common than you think. Most Christians have at some point experienced a time of spiritual doubt when they questioned what they believed about their religion or God. We desperately want answers to our questions, but we are afraid to ask. God actually wants us to come to Him with our doubts and questions.
Something To Talk About:
You’ll never know what God would have done in and through your life if you allow your doubt to take over. Doubt whispers, “is it true?” But Jesus whispers “if not Me, then who?” Doubt loses its power when held up to the light and power of the resurrection. When doubt enters your mind, consider the following:
- I doubt when I see so little evidence of God at work around me. As a Christian, it is inevitable that you will most likely have seasons of your life when you feel far from God. There are times when you simply feel like Jesus is far away for no reason at all. You find it difficult to pray. Or you pray and cry out to God but it seems that God is deaf because He doesn’t answer. But even in those times, He is real and He is there, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Jesus has promised that He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The apostle James says to “draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8 ESV). Because God is already near (He is omnipresent), this means that when we draw near to God we will be blessed by feeling His presence, His love, and His grace. The Bible reveals a God who provides evidence of His existence. That evidence is all around us, but sometimes God seems distant.
- Bring your doubts to God: In times of doubt we know our Savior to be consistent, faithful, powerful, and perfect. He has proven He is the almighty Son of God. It is in all of us to be a bit like Thomas in John 20:25: “They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” Thomas already had a history of seeing Jesus’ miracles time and time again; it’s like he too forgot who he already knew Jesus to be. As He did for Thomas, Jesus has grace for you and me in our days of doubt. He doesn’t judge us or punish us when our faith wavers. Jesus is not afraid of your doubt and he will meet you right where you are. He wants us to bring our doubts to Him. He wants us to lean into Him on extraordinary and ordinary days. If we look around we will find evidence that He is with us and He is at work, no matter what doubt tries to say. Lean into the doubt; God can handle it.
- Tell people about Jesus as you doubt: Here is the pivotal question: If we are going to stay focused on God, we have got to continue to include the things of God in our daily lives. Sharing the Gospel is one of our most important callings as a follower of Jesus. We believe in the power of the Gospel to save sinners, and the power of biblical truth to change lives. The Great Commission was given also to the doubters – We are committed to sharing the Gospel of Jesus with others like in the parable of the sower in Luke 8. It is our hope and prayer that as we share the Gospel of truth, it falls on good soil. Doubt does not negate our responsibility to bear fruit. We must continue to play our part. Fulfill your call. Make our contributions to the church and the world.
- What is one thing that causes doubt to creep into your faith?
- It’s not uncommon to doubt God when life gets hard. What does this imply about what we believe about God?
- Why do you think it’s difficult for some to admit they have spiritual doubts? What prevents you from speaking out about your doubts? What makes you feel safe and unafraid to honestly open up with others about your spiritual questions?
- How would it change things if you saw your doubts as opportunities to grow deeper in your relationship with Christ, and not a reason for alarm?
- The evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us a solid footing in times of doubt. Agree or disagree and why? The changed lives of the witnesses substantiate Jesus’ resurrection. How so?
- Is doubt just a lack of understanding? How can a person know whether his doubts are sincere or whether they are just an excuse?
- The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus substantiate His resurrection. Agree or disagree and why?
- You can doubt and follow Jesus at the same time. How does that statement challenge your understanding of the relationship between faith and doubt?
- Why is it crucial to base our faith on the fact of Christ’s resurrection rather than on our personal religious experience?
- What part of this message touched you? Why?
- How can we apply this message to our lives this week?
Take One Thing Home with You
Doubt is an everyday occurrence in the life of most Christians. Yes, we believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, but sometimes we can doubt His abilities and promises. When Peter walked on water he doubted. When Christ was crucified, His followers doubted. And, despite the mountains of evidence, we have today that tell us God is real, Christ walked the earth, died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, we can still have doubts. When Christians begin to have doubts about something as significant as the truth of their Christian faith, it’s quite understandable that this might worry or even frighten them. If you wait to trust in Christ until all of your doubts are cleared up, you will go to your death alienated from the Savior. There is more than adequate evidence to support a reasonable faith that Jesus Christ is the risen Savior. The question is, will you lay aside your doubts and trust in Jesus as your Savior and Lord?