My recent Doubt Dungeon post led to further thoughts about how doubt blocks faith. So here is a fresh analogy for the place of faith and doubt in our lives.
I pointed out in Doubt Dungeon that doubt blocks our will. When we have doubts we are afraid to engage our will to make a choice, since we might be making the wrong choice.
So doubt is a terrible force to allow into your life as it destroys your capacity to make choices and move forward.
The Bible speaks about how doubt disables our will, so this is not some mere psychological observation, but a principle that we need to be aware of. When you have doubts about the choice to make you “halt”. You are blocked from moving forward. The ancient Hebrew word used for halt speaks of dancing from one foot to the other, unable to step forward.
“And Elijah came to all the people, and said, How long will you halt between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” 1Kings 18:21
Having doubts leads you to struggle between two opinions, so you become “double minded”. And that makes you unstable. You cannot make clear, effective decisions that you will stick to.
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8
To give practical form to how doubt and faith work in your life I suggest the idea of a Faith Springboard. Imagine you have a springboard, similar to those used in athletics to launch a person forward.
Faith is a Springboard that launches you forward in the things you are believing for. With faith you connect with God and receive His blessings. God is pleased when you use faith.
However, your faith springboard must be plugged in. While normal springboards don’t need any power source, your faith springboard needs to be plugged into something. It needs to be plugged into your Will.
Unless you “choose” to believe, your belief machine (springboard) sits idle and gathers dust. No matter how many times you look at it or talk about it, your faith will not work until you activate it with your will, by choosing to believe.
So, to get the picture clear, you have a springboard of faith that will catapult you forward in the things of God, but your must activate it with your will, by making a choice to believe.
Faith is choosing to believe. Faith and the will need to work together. It is “you” who believes God, with your will.
Abraham Believed God
The most famous man of faith in human history is Abraham, who believed what God promised him. God told Abraham he would have a son by his wife Sarah. Abraham and Sarah were already too old to be parents, but Abraham made a choice to believe God.
We know from the New Testament that faith is the only thing that pleases God.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God: for he that comes to God must believe that God exists, and that God rewards those who diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
When Abraham chose to believe God, God was pleased and God blessed him.
“For what does the scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3
Abraham believed God. He didn’t get carried away in some emotional high, but he chose, with his will, to trust and rely on what God told him. When Abraham chose to activate faith, by his will choosing to believe God, God credited Abraham with righteousness.
And that is the model for salvation in every generation since then. We are not made right with God by anything we do, except the choice of our will to believe what God says. Since Christ’s sacrifice for us 2,000 years ago, we must choose to believe in Christ as our saviour. Then we are forgiven and made a child of God.
Just as Abraham had to use his will to choose to believe God, we also must use our will to choose to believe God.
When doubt comes into the picture it has the effect of pulling the plug on our will. Faith needs our will to make the choice to believe. Doubt pulls the plug, so our will is no longer connected to our faith.
When we ‘doubt’ we suddenly have a dead springboard. It doesn’t work any more. That’s not because doubt is greater than faith, but because doubt disconnects our will. When we won’t “choose to believe” our faith lies dormant.
Faith in God is still the most powerful force we can activate. But it cannot help us until and unless we make a personal choice to believe. Doubt frightens us off making that choice, and so our faith sits like a broken down machine, unable to do for us what it is designed to do.
We all need to activate our faith. We need to choose to believe in God and to trust God’s Word.
If you activate your faith you can keep on springing forward in the things of God. If you let doubt disable your will, faith will be of no effect to you.
Faith is a choice, not a feeling or some emotional state you get into after hearing a positive message. It is a choice made in the cold light of day, that you will believe God to be God and believe His Word to be true. Those who get swept along could easily be swept away, but those who activate their faith, by a choice to believe, squashing their doubts and stepping onto the springboard of faith, will be able to enter into the salvation and blessing God has for them.
So, the lesson is “Choose to Believe”.