The Gospel of John | Day Eighteen
By: Brittany Green | Doubting
"Recently, the Lord has shown me how valuable my friends and family have been in my walk with Christ. I gave my life to Jesus when I was in the third grade! Growing up surrounded by a Christian family showed me how badly I needed Jesus. They easily inspired me to make this life-changing decision.
Then, later on in middle school, I joined a Bible study with my closest friends. Throughout middle school and into high school, they have helped hold me accountable in my walk with Christ.
Without my community, I don't know where I would be today. Life is rough sometimes and I'm glad that throughout my darkest days, I have people who are fighting for me and love me--even when I make mistakes. More importantly, I am comforted with the fact that God will always be there for me, and will love me--no matter what!"
Jesus has risen! What a good day! We’re going to finish out the book of John by focusing on the three times that Jesus appeared to His disciples.
Today, we’re going to look at a disciple who got a nickname that has stuck with him for centuries, but has also turned into a term that people still use today for skeptics or doubters. What a crazy thing to have your nickname turned into a common phrase. Yikes.
Read John 20:19-29.
I looked up the definition of doubt in the dictionary and this is what it said:
- to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe
- to distrust
- be apprehensive about
- to be uncertain about something
- to be undecided in opinion or belief
Do you ever doubt God? How many of us so often wonder that you are actually allowed to doubt things of God? If you really believe in Jesus, can you even do that? Sounds like it’s opposite doesn’t it?
Maybe you don’t believe in Jesus and this thing called “doubt” is the very thing that is keeping you from Him. I realize for some of you, doubt is not even a struggle. You believe, and you are all in when it comes to faith. That’s amazing!
Doubts are natural. They will come. Expect them. They will come in many different shapes and sizes. There are people who doubt God and what He has done, and there are people who believe with everything inside of them that God does not exist at all.
Doubt is actually a natural part of faith. Unless you actually push through some real life, hard thinking doubts in your faith, you may never really experience the depth of faith that you can have.
So I want to assure you that it’s ok to ask questions; its ok to have doubts. Because through our questioning, strength and assurance of faith comes. It’s not ok for us to question or doubt and never do anything about it. doubts are going to happen.
Here is what we need to realize about the claims of the disciples, they claimed that God loved us so much that He did not stay in heaven but came down to earth to die a death we deserved. He would be buried but would not stay in the grave and would come back to life.
The disciples and other witnesses state that on the third day the stone was rolled away and Jesus was not in the grave—He was alive. And yet Thomas doubted.
You can’t have real faith, unless you press through sincere doubts. Doubts are not the end of real faith. For so many people, doubt is the beginning of a solidified, rock-solid faith that will carry you on to glorify God in all that you do. Thomas said, “I want to believe, but I need just a little bit more.”
Notice what Jesus didn’t do. He didn’t condemn. He never said, “Thomas, how dare you doubt! You call yourself a disciple of mine? Really? How could you ever doubt me?” No, He didn’t do that at all. He gave Thomas everything he needed to believe.
Thomas who meets the risen Christ begins to REALLY believe and we see that Jesus can take doubts and move them to actionable faith.
Doubting Thomas turns into one of the most outspoken messengers for Jesus in the spread of the early church. For Thomas, doubt was not the end of faith, but the beginning of it. Once Thomas saw, Jesus it is possible that he traveled further than any other disciple in spreading the news about Jesus. Some scholars believe they’ve tracked him all the way to India because of the life-changing interaction with the risen Christ.
So as I look at this story, we see doubts arise differently in each of our lives. Sometimes it’s doubts in God, in the realness of Scripture, in our faith. But other times, it’s doubt that God is going to do something. This is where the distrust part of the definition comes in.
I so often distrust and take life back into my own hands, which in reality is a form of doubting. Sometimes I doubt that God is going to do exciting, adventurous things with my life. We doubt that our friend group is good enough. Or we doubt that we’ll ever have a boyfriend or that a boyfriend is enough. We doubt how we’re perceived by others is enough or right. Or we doubt that we’ll get into college. We borrow all this trouble and worry, when Jesus gives us his hands. He gives us reassurance if we just let him remind us that the lies that come into our heads are not of God.
So what do we do with doubts?
- We don’t keep them bottled up. We’ve got to ask questions and wrestle with our doubts. Often the root of our doubt is hurt or the desire for independence. So how can we take those questions and hurt or quest for independence and turn it into wrestling so that we strengthen our faith.
- We seek answers. Ultimately, that is found in the Bible. We can also talk to older people about it. Your small group leader, your parents, people you respect. Talk to them.
- Pray about it. Know that God wants to have conversations with you about your doubts. And even in the midst of doubt, if we pray about them, God will take that tiny seed of doubt or trust and turn it into faith if we let him. And I find that praying about my doubts or “distrusts” lets me voice them, which is a relief to get them off my chest.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen.”
If Thomas, the most famous doubter in the New Testament could turn around and do much with his life after his doubt, could we not be girls who can take our doubt and reach out to our friends to invite them to come to church with us to hear about Jesus? Could we not have conversations about our faith and our doubt?
When we press into God, He reveals Himself to us in a way that moves through doubts to faith that believes the tomb is empty and that He is risen.
Its what we do with our doubts that matters. So I encourage you to take a moment to talk to Jesus about your doubts and give them to Him.
What are things you doubt?
What actions will you take to figure out the truth in those doubts?
Tell someone and act on them today.