Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Monday, April 8, 2013

Doubt vs Belief

One of the things that frustrates me about long standing norms in churchlife is the assumption that doubt is the opposite of belief.  The implication is that, if you have any doubts at all about anything, you must, therefore, not be a believer.  For many reasons, this is unreasonable and not biblical.  

But it is important that you settle on the foundational questions of faith:  
  • Is God real?  
  • Was Jesus the Son of God...God in the flesh?  
  • Was Jesus, who died a physical death, resurrected from the dead?  
  • Is Jesus still alive? 

These are important questions to wrestle with, investigate, ponder and pray about.  But at the end of that investigation, you have to choose.  To continue pondering into perpetuity is to choose not to believe.  I know this is harsh, but consider Jesus' words to Thomas in John 20:  "Stop doubting and believe!"  

Jesus' imperative to Thomas is the same thing He is saying to many people today:  "Stop doubting and believe!"  Jesus was (and is) talking about the belief that Jesus is alive.  That he rose from the grave.  That he is God!  Thomas' words at the revelation that Jesus was alive reflect the response that we are also to have at the same revelation: "My Lord and my God!"  

Many people I know start out their spiritual investigation with great fervor.  They are on a mission to discover the Truth about God.  But over time, the zeal fades and with it, the need to come to a conclusion.  So, many of these folks continue to come to church out of habit or because their family does or because they genuinely enjoy the services.  But the sense of urgency to make a decision is gone.

I think yesterday reveals the urgency from God's perspective.  Is it ok to doubt?  You bet.  As I said, the story of Jesus IS a tough pill to swallow.  

But you also need to come to a moment when you realize that you will never satisfy every question with a concrete, provable answer.  The belief in Jesus cannot be proven, at least not all of it.  That's why we call it faith!  It takes faith to believe that Jesus is alive.

It reminds me of when Moses was about to lead the people of God out of Egypt.  God said to Moses:  “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” (Exodus 3:12)  It's not much of a sign, is it?  The sign would happen AFTER Moses responded in faith!  Then, after he followed God, Moses would be proven right.

The same is true for you.  AFTER you set aside your doubt and choose to believe in and follow Jesus Christ...AFTER you go all in, you will know and experience His presence like never before.  Few people got to touch him like Thomas.  But Jesus says to us, "Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed."  

It's time to cross the line of faith for a lot of people.  Stop doubting and choose to believe.

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