When they saw Him, they worshiped, but some doubted.—Matthew 28:17
A man whom I regarded as truly converted said to me: “I am riddled with so many doubts that I sometimes feel I am not a Christian at all.” When I pointed out to him the nature of doubt—that it is not the same as unbelief—I saw a new expression appear on his face. He grasped me by the hands and said: “How can I ever sufficiently thank you? You have released a pressure that has been building up inside me for years.”
I met him years later, and he told me that the simple insight I had given him concerning the nature of doubt was all he needed to face his doubts and deal with them in a spiritual way. I say again, no misunderstanding causes more anxiety to the heart of a Christian than that which concerns the nature of doubt.
Let’s put unbelief under the microscope for a moment, for by doing so we will see the nature of doubt still more clearly. Unbelief is a willful refusal to believe, resulting in a deliberate decision to disobey. It is a state of mind which is closed against God, an attitude of heart which disobeys God as much as it disbelieves the truth. It is the consequence of a settled choice.
Doubt is not a willful decision to disbelieve but a suspension between faith and unbelief. To believe is to be in one mind; to disbelieve is also to be in one mind, but to doubt is to be caught in the halfway stage between the two—suspended between the desire to affirm and the desire to negate.
“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Partake of the Bread
In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Partake of the Cup
Father, while I am relieved to discover that doubt is not the same as unbelief, I nevertheless long to live a doubt-free existence. Break down any barriers within me that would hinder the flow of faith. In Christ’s name I ask it. Amen.