Thursday, 11/22/18 – Discipleship: Assurance (Faith & Doubt)

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

Every believer wrestles with this plea at times but for the new believer initial doubt can be devastating.

The new believer has no or little journey of faith behind him to look back on and see past victories of faith over doubt, or the faithfulness of the Lord through trials, or the hope and strengthening of the Word and prayers and brothers and sisters in Christ. The new believer may just have come to faith in Christ and then, awakening the next day, wonder if it was all just an emotional high.

Jesus likens the reception of the gospel into one’s heart to the reception of good seed into the earth.

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown. (Luke 8:5-8)

close up photo of rice grains during daytime

When his disciples later asked Jesus about the parable, Jesus explained that the seed represents the Word of God and the various soils represent various threats to the new believer’s spiritual growth.

• the devil takes away the Word from their hearts (v.12)
• they have no root… they fall away (v.13)
• life’s worries, riches and pleasures (v.14)

dead end road sign

The believer must guard against all three of these threats by basing their assurance of salvation on the Word of God not charismatic leaders, emotional feelings or expectations, by being discipled by another mature believer and establishing daily spiritual habits in the Word of God and prayer, and by avoiding the temptations of this world. You must hear, retain, and persevere (v.15)

One of the ways the devil tries to snatch the Word from our heart is by planting doubt in our mind. He has done this from the beginning: “Did God really say….?” (Gen. 3:1). Every believer must know how to use the Word of God to fight through the lies of the devil. I like how someone once put it…

Faith is to Doubt what Courage is to Fear.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6), yet without doubt it is impossible to step forward in faith. Doubt is the backdrop which makes faith possible.

Our enemy the devil wants to paint doubt in a different light… (or perhaps ‘darkness’ would be more accurate.) The devil wants us to view doubt as an evidence of having no faith at all. That is as inaccurate as saying that fear is evidence of having no courage,. Courage is moving forward despite your fears. The fearless person cannot exhibit courage, only foolhardiness. Faith is moving forward despite your doubts. But faith must be based upon the truths and promises of God. If not, you are just acting presumptuously.

Satan’s plan for doubt…
1. Satan deceives by making you think that God can’t forgive, that God can’t give you strength, that you are unworthy of his love. (Read Romans 8:31)
2. If you believe a deception, you will act as if it is true.
3. Satan will try to get you so discouraged that you will quit.

God’s plan for doubt…
1. To point out a weakness in our walk with Jesus.
2. To develop faith.
3. To increase knowledge.

First Steps, One-on-One Discipleship, p.19

Press on in confidence, knowing this:

“…neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ?
Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey and take the very first of the First Steps by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

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