“I Struggle with Doubts. Any Advice?”
OCTOBER 16, 2019
Q. I am really a Christian, but I struggle with doubts about my salvation and about the veracity of Christianity, and always have to some extent. Any advice on being more certain?
A. Remind yourself of this truth: Don’t doubt in the dark what God has taught you in the light. Read some books on apologetics—the defense of the faith—and a lot of C.S. Lewis. And talk with your pastor (especially about the veracity of our faith) or qualified Christian counselor (about the obsession over doubt, especially if you see this uncertainty and worry in other areas of your life and want to work it through). Both can help with guidance and support.
But more needs to be said.
You’re not alone. The dark doubts are a part of every honest servant of Christ. They may vary in intensity, but they’re there. What we believe is unbelievable and unbelievable in big ways. No sane person would believe any of it and that, by the way, is one of the reasons I do believe it. I just wouldn’t make up this stuff. I would make up something far more “reasonable,” “balanced” and “provable.” The fact that I do believe it suggests that it might be true…and has a source other than us. Paul calls it “foolishness” to Greeks. We’re Greeks, our thinking is Aristotelian, and the Christian faith just doesn’t make sense.
Bottom line, anybody who says he or she never has any doubts is a fruitcake. Don’t buy a used car from them.
Let me give you a witness. I’m an old guy and I’ve been a Christian for a long time. The more I serve him, the more I love him, and the more real he is. Someone once said that he didn’t doubt that God existed…he doubted that he existed. The doubts I have now are quite different than the ones I had when I was much younger. I’m far more cynical and doubtful than I once was, but my cynicism and doubts are about me far more than about the faith or about God.
There is also the “fake it until you make it” thing from John Wesley. When Wesley was first walking with Christ, he asked a Moravian friend what to do with his doubts about faith. His friend told him to “preach faith until you have faith and then, because you have faith, you will preach faith.” In other words, “fake it until you make it.”
Of course that would be silly if what you were “faking” wasn’t true. What we believe really is true. But for thousands of years, men and women far smarter than we are have tested and lived what we believe. There is a good chance that as we “fake” believing what is true…it will become more and more real to us.
I suggest you write down what you would do if you knew that all this was true—what you would think, what you would say, and how you would live your life. And then do it.
Then once you’ve done all this, trusting that God is really real, faithful, and sovereign, go get a milkshake. He might just want one too.
This is Steve’s personal response to a real question from a Key Life listener.