I’ve struggled with doubts about my faith on and off for years, but between the ages of 12 and 15, these doubts were almost unbearable. Even though I had accepted Christ as my Savior when I was four years old, I still genuinely doubted that I was a Christian and wasn’t sure what to do with my doubts. No matter how many times I prayed for salvation, I felt the same—unsure.
I remember filling out an information card at a missions camp that I attended right before my sophomore year of high school and feeling torn about what to write under the question that asked if I was saved. I ended up putting “I’m not sure” as my answer and, as a result, being pulled aside by my super hot camp counselor to discuss what it meant to be a Christian. He talked with me and prayed with me, but I didn’t feel any better about my faith—only more infatuated with him.
Honestly, there’s a major lack of solid biblical resources available for Christians who are struggling with doubt—which is why I wrote this post. If you have doubts about your faith, here are a couple things not to do:
The easy, seemingly harmless thing to do when you begin to struggle with doubt is to isolate. Initially, isolating might seem like the best option.
“I just need to spend some time alone and figure this out on my own,” you might think. “And besides, what if people find out what’s going through my head? They won’t want to be with me once they find out what a bad Christian I am, so I might as well be alone.”
But friends, it won’t be easy to just isolate for a day or two. Days can quickly turn into weeks, which can turn into months, which can turn into years. While there is value in taking time to be alone with God (as Jesus did many times while He was on Earth), Satan can use our desire to isolate to draw us away from the Church where we will (1) be encouraged by other believers and (2) should be encouraging other believers.
Takeaway: The longer you isolate, the less likely you’ll be to return to the Church and live in the biblical community that Satan desperately wants to keep you from.
2. Pretend that you’re not struggling.
Until I talked about my doubts with my camp counselor, I didn’t talk much about them with other people. Unfortunately, I believe that that’s the trend in the Church—for us to keep our struggles (especially our doubts) to ourselves. Perhaps we’re afraid that people will treat us differently if they find out. Or maybe we’re not sure if people will “handle” us and our doubts well.
But if you refuse to share your doubts about your faith, you’re going to stay trapped in them. Satan has you exactly where he wants you—fearful, anxious, or even obsessed. His hope for your life is for you to become distant, disheartened, and defeated—in short, an ineffective Christian.
There’s incredible value in sharing your doubts with a trusted Christian or group of trusted Christians who care about your spiritual wellbeing. Maybe you can open up to a family member or friend or even your small group. I’m not advising that you tell everyone at church about your struggle, but I am encouraging you to be real. You never know who else is struggling with doubt, too.
Takeaway: Hiding your doubts from others will keep you in bondage to them, but being willing to share your doubts can lead to your growth and even others’ growth.
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13 NASB 1995)
Next week’s post will include two more things not to do when you have doubts about your faith, so make sure you check the TTT blog next week!