January 2013

Dealing With My Doubts

Sandeep Poonen

Deear Sandeep,

I am dealing with doubts about God. If you truly ask me about what I believe in, I know that there is something special about Jesus and Christianity. But I just don't feel that I connect with God .I try to pray every day and humbly ask God to be with me. And once in a while, I feel like God does answer my prayer and I have a good day. But on most other days, I just don't feel that God is with me.

So now I am beginning to doubt my faith and my beliefs about Jesus, and whether He does answer prayers and things like that. What should I do? I do not want to have these doubts, but I can't seem to do much to stop them.

These are some of my short thoughts on these doubts:

1. You are not alone
Almost every Christian goes through periods like this. I do not believe that this ought to persist throughout one's Christianity, but it seems to be part of most people's growth process. So, you should not be discouraged. But at the same time, it is great that you are taking this very seriously, and here's whyÖ

2. Your faith is most important
When Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him three times, He specifically mentioned Peter's faith.He prayed to the Father that Peter's faith might not fail (Lk.22:32). So, in times of failure and doubt, tending to our faith is so much more critical than questions about whether we are gaining victory over sin or fully serving Him. And since it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb.11:6), it is your faith, first and foremost, that determines whether you are pleasing to God. So how should you tend to and protect your faith?

3. Maintaining your faith
I use Hebrews 11:6 to remind me about how I practically maintain my faith. "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him." So in this verse, I see two practical actions that I must do to maintain my faith:

a. Remind myself that God is. If I were told to believe that God is love, I understand that. If I had to believe that God is holy, I understand what that entails. But what does it mean to believe that God is? For sure, you could say that the expression "God is," is an expression of the underlying existence of God more than any of His virtues and attributes. But I see something more real and practical for you and me with that statement.

Acknowledging that 'God is' also means fully acknowledging that 'Iam not'. God is the only reality that truly matters. Compared to Him and what He is, my world doesn't matter, my work doesn't matter, even I and my family are irrelevant. Only He matters.

When I come to God every day, I come to Him with a faith that tells Him that He is, and I am quick to acknowledge that I am not. So I throw away my agenda. I quickly discard all the grievances and complaints that I might have as I approach God's throne. I try my best to embrace in my spirit the truth that I deeply believe that, at the end of the day, only God matters.

However, this alone is not faith. This is just an acknowledgement of the reality about ourselves and our condition. What makes this faith complete is that it is coupled with a belief that God still encourages us to draw near to Him.

b. God will reward those who diligently seek Him. Once I have assumed the proper posture in the presence of the Almighty King, I must embrace the beautiful truth that God deeply desires to reward those who are committed to seeking Him.

And when I think of seeking Him, I don't see this primarily as acts of prayer or Bible study. Now these are definitely acts of seeking Him. But much more than that, I see that our entire day is where we demonstrate a life-style of seeking Him.

So, on my way to the office, I take a few moments to commune with God and tell Him that I deeply desire Him. And yes, He already knows this, but I telling it to God is a way of reminding myself of what matters (since I am so prone to forget), as well as a way of guarding my heart from other trivial worldly matters (Prov.4:23).

And as I go through my day, I continue to have short and silent conversations with God, where I tell Him that I want to stay open to hear what His Spirit might have to say to me today.

Through things like this, I try to maintain an attitude and heart of desiring God.

So I concentrate on these two things that God has prescribed in Scripture. And then I wait for God to do His work in my heart in His time. God and His Spirit will reveal Himself to me and help fortify my faith into a rock-solid foundation. Then, as I use these actions to continue to walk with Christ daily and to grow in Him, I will notice over time that my foundation of faith is becoming more and more unshakeable.

God bless you in this journey.

Editorial: SCHEMERS - Jacob Ninan

DO NOT GLORY IN YOUR FAMILY BACKGROUND - Zac Poonen

EMBRACING CHANGE IN OUR LIFE - Shantanu Dutta

PAULíS MINI AUTOBIOGRAPHY - M. J. Jacob

WITHOUT GOD MANíS LIFE MAKES NO SENSE - P. Samuel Manoharam

KNOWING GOD - J. K. Joseph

Dealing With My Doubts - Sandeep Poonen

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