The Struggle with Doubts and the Assurance of Faith.
Read James 1:2-8
“But he must ask in faith without any doubting.”
We live in an age where people, even those within the church, struggle with their faith. As the world in which we live becomes increasingly secular, it further highlights the chasm between our understanding of the world and the worldview, morality, and teaching we find in Scripture. The result is that we are thrown into confusion. The Bible teaches one thing, and the world is telling us another. This conflict of worldviews is evident in many different areas. We find it in the battle between creationism and evolution. It is evident in our understanding of the definition and purpose of marriage and sexuality. We see it revealed in our knowledge of evil, injustice, and suffering. In almost every major intersection of life and morality, there seems to be a conflict between the perspective of the world and the teaching of Scripture. The result is that we can easily be thrown into a state of doubt and confusion regarding the teaching of Scripture and our modern perspective of life.
James anticipates this struggle. For James, the effort to understand our world and understand God’s activity and Word becomes even more evident when we encounter trials and difficulties in life, especially when those trials come because of our faith. James recognizes that when our faith and belief come into conflict with the world, as evidenced by persecution, it can cause us to begin to waiver. We begin to wonder, “If the majority of people are rejecting our message, perhaps our message is wrong.” Doubts about the truthfulness and validity of the Bible begin to arise.
However, doubt is the opposite of faith, for doubt arises as we attempt to conform God to our thoughts and attitudes instead of surrendering ourselves to God and trusting Him explicitly. This is the reason James condemns those who lack faith. Struggling with doubts goes to the heart of unbelief.
We all struggle with doubt at various points in our life and experience. We question God’s promises, especially in times of trials. However, this takes us to the heart of faith. Faith is not trusting God when He has fully answered all our questions, and He acts in ways that correspond to our expectations. Faith is trusting in God’s infinite wisdom and power when we do not understand. It is living in submission to His Word even when it seems to conflict with our perspective. To ask for wisdom is to surrender to God to gain a view of His wisdom. It is to ask God to give us eyes to see things through His perspective rather than our own. It is to ask God to provide us with the ability to live as He wants us to live. When that becomes our prayer, when we surrender entirely to God and His Word, God delights in revealing His Word to us. It will not answer all our questions, but it will teach us to rest in Him without all the answers. When you find yourself struggling with doubts about God’s activity, His morality and standard, and the teaching of His Word, simply surrender to Him. When you do, doubts are replaced by confident faith as you learn to trust God even when you don’t understand.