In this new series, we will explore many topics that bring doubt into our hearts. How can Christianity stand alone among all the world's religions? How can there be a loving God when so many bad things have happened to me? How can God compare to the scientific truths around us? Why is the Bible so special; isn’t it just written by ordinary men?
Pastor Miles brings answers to the church through this message series, explaining what to do with our doubts and how we can learn to trust God.
Biblical definition: Doubt [diakrino] = to separate, distinguish, judge or evaluate. A process of evaluating and judging competing ideas, convictions, ambitions, and commitments.
Sometimes God does things through our doubt, even when we haven't asked questions. He never answers our prayers based what we deserve – He give us more than we deserve.
In Mark 9, Jesus encounters a man whose son is possessed by an evil spirit. Although Jesus casts out the evil spirit in the story and this can still be done by believers today, we’ll discover that this story is not about how to cast our spirits, but rather about surrendering our doubt to the Lord.
When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:14-23
The story of the Father gives context to our doubt. Mark 9:14-23
What does your doubt tell you about your place in your God story?
The Bible is a story. In each story within the Bible there is someone who is God’s friend (a nation, a person, an angel or an entity) who promotes God’s agenda and an enemy of God who is opposed to God’s agenda. The conflict between the two is the plot of the story. Generally, God’s friend feels overwhelmed fighting a battle that s/he cannot win on his or her own. But God is the hero who solves the conflict. He shows time and time again that He is almighty and can rise above it all. Moses tried to free God’s people, while powerful Pharaoh tried to enslave them. David was a young boy with a pouch full of rocks against a Philistine warrior giant who oppressed the people of God. Gideon had 300 soldiers against thousands of Midianites. Yet God showed up in each of their stories and brought victory.
Ever since you were born, you have been part of God’s story, too. You are either God’s friend living for Him, or God’s enemy choosing to do your own thing. (And your role may even change from day to day or moment to moment.) In the story of your life, you will come against conflict. The doubt you have about God, His faithfulness, His power, and His desire to do miracles in your life has to be in the context of you being born into a spiritual battle on this earth. He created you to have dominion over the earth. Yet the devil distracts you, tries to get you to question God, and aims to destroy your relationship with Him. The best news is that we already have victory through Christ and God has the power to defeat every obstacle we encounter along the way.
The Son of God engages our doubt. Mark 9:23-24
How did Jesus’ life speak to your doubtful situation?
Jesus lived our story. He was tempted in every way we are tempted. He had to deal with all types of people and the temptations and hurts they presented. He showed us how to live through the story and live above our weakness. He wants us to experience His power and do the things that He did on earth. He wants us to trust Him.
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:21-23
It’s okay to have doubts, but don’t let your doubts have you. Ask God to free you from the mental and spiritual slavery you are in. He can deal with addiction, broken relationships, and all of our doubts. Don’t feel bad about having questions. Just bring them to the Lord!
The Spirit of God comforts us in our doubt. Mark 9:25-27
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. Mark 9:25-27
How does God want to bring you closer to Him through your situation?
“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Matthew 12:28
As you walk in a story every day, the Spirit of God is going to execute God’s plan in your life, comfort you, convict you, reveal truth, and remind you of Jesus’ words. The devil is going to confront you because he wants you to doubt God and be His enemy. The people around you are part of the story as well, either opposed to God’s plan in your life, or in favor of God’s plan. So it’s up to you to decide who you are going to be. Will you choose to be victorious, supernaturally wielding the power of God’s love, or someone who just goes through the motions?
The Spirit of God is there for you, and once you give your doubts, questions, and failures up to the Lord, He has no trouble working through them.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Mark 9:28-29
Jesus is showing us that this is our story too and we can walk in His footsteps, but we have to be fully invested. He died on the cross to give you the opportunity to walk with him. Either you want to walk with Him or you don’t, but don’t let your doubts get in the way - bring them to God. He can handle it all!