Doubt and Faith
Read James 1:1-8
"For the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind."
In a post-modern world, when truth becomes relative and based upon one's perspective, the concept of absolute truth has become passé. In a world of relativity, to affirm that truth is eternal and binding upon all people of all ages and all cultures are regarded as arrogant, old-fashioned, and even harmful. Instead of pursuing truth, we celebrate intellectual diversity where doubt becomes not only acceptable but even admirable. One writer posted an article in the Washington Post, "Why doubting the Bible is good for Christians." But is it? Are doubt and faith intricately interwoven or polar opposites?
One of the reasons we struggle to answer these questions is because, deep down, we all struggle with doubts at times. While we affirm the truth of the Bible, circumstances (especially adversity) can quickly lead us to question the message of the Bible, especially the statement that "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28). We suspect the Bible when it contradicts our personal views and perspective on morality and truth.
While doubts are a struggle we face, for James, doubts short-circuit our spiritual growth. For James, faith is more than intellectual agreement; but it is life-changing as our faith in God results in obedience to his word (2:17-22). Genuine faith involves the surrender of one's will to God and finds expression in our commitment to obey him. However, when we doubt God, it undermines our faith, for it reveals that we are double-minded (1:8). The Greek word for "double-minded" is literally translated as "double-souled." It speaks of one who is characterized by two opposing desires or thoughts so that they lack decisiveness. Instead of adhering to the truth of God, they become uncertain about truth. In the end, they become driven by the latest winds of morality. They follow the latest trends and have no secure foundation of life (vs. 6).
In contrast to doubt stands faith. For Paul, faith is grounded in and affirmed by one's commitment to the scriptures. "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). Faith believes in God's word and acts upon it even when it contradicts our understanding and experience. Abraham believed God's promise even when God asked him to sacrifice his son and thus destroy the hope of the promise (Genesis 22, note especially verses 5 and 18 as well as Genesis 15:6).
Do you find yourself struggling with doubt? The answer is found in our trust and faith in God's word and the promises he made to us. Instead of conforming Scripture to your worldview or moral compass, conform your moral and spiritual vies to Scripture. Then your doubts will be replaced with the certainty of faith.