Monday, September 22, 2008

I am dealing with a lot of doubts in my Christian walk. How can I strengthen my faith?

Q: I am dealing with a lot of doubts in my Christian walk. How can I strengthen my faith?

A: With my own faith struggles (and, to some extent, I must deal with them daily), I try to take it one day at a time. And most importantly, I really have come to believe that I must above all surrender to God's grace. My doubts, my struggles, my very flesh...these are part of who I am. Frankly, I would have some trouble fully comprehending a person who says they never struggle. To be human is to struggle.

Most of the important figures in Scripture struggled; the list is long and impressive. In reading scripture, it almost seems as though the struggle against the world and our flesh is one of the few motivators for drawing nearer to God. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10— And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch. Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Herein lies the mystical dichotomy of the Christian walk: In pain, we experience growth. In our weakness, we are made strong. In our doubt, we are compelled to seek a deeper faith.

Belief in the risen Christ requires nothing more and nothing less than a full suspension of belief in all that we know of this world; belief in things not seen. As the world presses in around us, and the enemy attacks us (in both overt and covert ways), it is inconceivable to me that we would not by nature of who we are and who God is wrestle with our faith. But, remember the psalmist who, though crying out to the Lord for explanation, still ends his song with praise and adoration.

Again, Paul presses forward against his inadequacies, refusing to let doubt or discouragement sway him from his Lord: Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise minded, this also shall God reveal unto you: only, whereunto we have attained, by that same rule let us walk.

So, why not try a little grace...on yourself? Jesus does not struggle with your doubt...only you do. Jesus loves you completely, both in your weakness and your strength. He loves you…and you are powerless to make Him stop. To believe in Him when all is well is relatively easy; to believe in Him even when He seems that's faith.

For indeed we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but that we would be clothed upon, that what is mortal may be swallowed up of life. Now he that wrought us for this very thing is God, who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight); we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:4-8


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