It may startle you as a Christian if you take a moment and reflect. Reflect on the fact that you have sold your soul to someone. Jesus that is, but still. The only things you can really give are time, life and the soul. You just gave them all away to God. Most days it can be a relief to know whose hands you are in, but there are other times when you may be frustrated with God.
I can’t help but feel that the worst moment is when you doubt God completely. When you look at your hands and wonder if praying is ridiculous if the whole thing is mad. You can compare yourself to others, it’s always a bad idea, but you can do it. And then you may find a terrible chill in your spine because you can’t remember what got you fixed on Christ in the first place. You try to sort it out in your head what exactly you have done and where your life is headed.
There’s a tick in your head. Hold on a moment and I’ll tell you what that is.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
So this verse describes you. This is what faith is. You trust God. You believe that Jesus was crucified so you could be forgiven for your sins. How in the world did you come to believe something like this? Well, there’s many reasons, but don’t wrongly think that you believe in God because of your own ability. The only reason you believe in God is because you are already known by God.
“We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” 1 John 4:6
Only through the Holy Spirit can you believe in Christ.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
To those who do not have the Spirit guiding them the message of Christ is nonsense (1 Corinthians 1:18). God chose the foolish out of the world. He chose the broken, the weak and the sick (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). All of these people are his. Sadly, this is because they are the only people who would listen to God’s message about his son. There is an entire parable about this which Jesus told. Here it is if you want to read it: Luke 14:15-24.
Take a moment and think about the reasons you became a Christian. If you’re still reeling let me offer a very obvious suggestion. Sin. I took a philosophy class not too long ago and I remember being baffled at one male student’s comment. He said that he did not believe in good or evil, but that things just happen.
You must understand that this is not right what he said. How could feelings of guilt or shame exist if there was not a cause for them? Those feelings are the effect of something that is wrong. Rape and terrorism and abuse and human trafficking…you’re telling me this just happens? So uh, I don’t know if you’re a parent, but imagine you had a little girl. Now imagine her being raped right in front of you. Does that…strike you as wrong? Yes, no? This is “human nature” at work. I agree that it’s nature because human nature is full of sin. We crave what kills us. It’s in our blood.
Maybe you’re okay with the concepts of good and evil. It’s important to pray about all things of course (Philippians 4:6, Ephesians 6:18). So can we pray not to doubt? What about faith? Can we pray for more faith? That kind of sounds familiar.
“The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ He (Jesus) replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” Luke 17:5-6
God has given us each faith in varying amounts (Romans 12:6), but all Christians have a certain amount of faith which is needed to believe in Christ. If you are comfortable with your faith already then you should keep this verse in mind.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8
But doubt, oh, wretched doubt! Is it not a constant companion? Such a shame.
“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.” James 1:6
Yes, this verse is indeed right. We must believe in God’s son and trust him and we know this we know this, but does it ever work out this smoothly? With sin every plan for perfection is beaten out of us.
“Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May you never bear fruit again!’ Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. ‘How did the fig tree wither so quickly?’ they asked.
Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.’” Matthew 21:18-22
There’s a catch to this. You must pray for God’s will to be done. This is showing your faith. This is doing the right thing. Be very glad that a selfish prayer goes unanswered. Indeed, if you received the ill-gotten desires in your heart you would not be satisfied. You’d be worse off than before.
Remember there is an infamous story. Jesus walking on the water. The disciples are afraid of the wind and water. They see Jesus and think he is a ghost. Peter asks to be called out if it really is Jesus. Jesus calls Peter out. Peter begins to walk on water because of his faith, but as soon as he doubts he begins to sink. The beautiful thing about this verse is that we are all Peter. This happens all the time. We doubt and we sink, but if we cry out to God for help his son catches our hand and keeps us from slipping under the waves.
Seriously, this has happened multiple times today and you don’t even know it.
I have often cried over God because I believed he wasn’t listening. His timing isn’t ours you must understand (Ecclesiastes 3:1). If you are wandering and forget who God is then just read your Bible, engage in some fellowship and pray. Confess to God that you doubt him. That’s the thing. Your sin is ugly, but just tell God you need help.
Remember I said there was a ticking sound earlier…that’s eternity. God has set eternity on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He also does impossible things (Mark 10:27, Matthew 19:26, Luke 18:27), yet we always doubt. We are so forgetful.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
The sad thing is that we cannot uphold this verse all the time. We are prone to wander. Find your way back. Call to God and he will answer. He’ll bring you back and set peace in your minds and hearts.