Candy blogs: “What we believe about God”, said the late A.W. Tozer, “is the most important thing about us.” Our belief, or lack of it, will eventually find its way into our actions and attitudes.
I came home from a semi-monthly Gathering at our church last night with my mind racing. The topic centered around doubt. The discussion was lively and diverse. It left me wanting more, to dig into the subject to find resolution in my own spirit.
The question was asked: Is doubt a sin?
First, what is doubt?
1. to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe
2. to distrust
3. to fear; be apprehensive about
4. to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief
There was much discussion. I think both schools of thought, those who did doubt God’s existence at some level and those who did not, felt vulnerable for disclosing it.
My disclosure was that I do not doubt God himself. When I was young in age and in spiritual maturity, I did have some doubt. But today I do not. Last night’s discussion made me start thinking about why this is true for me. In my mind, you either fully believe God or you don’t. But to really be able to believe God or believe in God, you have to have a foundational Biblical knowledge of who God is. I think doubt stems from fear but that knowledge about who God is instills hope and disperses doubt. Knowledge can lead to trust. In order to trust, you have to know God’s attributes. An attribute is “an essential characteristic of a person or thing”. Let’s look at the attributes of God. These are from a variety of sources.
God is Eternal: There has never been a time when God did not exist.
God is Unchanging, Immutable: “For I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:6
God is Sovereign: superior in position to all others; in control of all things
God is Triune: God is one in nature but three in person and manifestation.
God is Holy: His total separation from evil
God is Love: God holds the well-being of others as His primary concern.
God is Just: It is impossible for Him to do anything that is unfair.
God is Self-Sufficient: He has no needs and there is no way He can improve. To God, nothing else is necessary.
God Is Wise: Wisdom is the ability to devise perfect ends and to achieve these ends by the most perfect means.
God is Incomprehensible: God knows no boundaries. He is without measure.
God is Self-Existent: Nothing else in all the universe is self-caused. Only God.
God is Faithful: Everything that God has promised will come to pass.
God is Merciful: actively compassionate
God is Good: kind, cordial, benevolent, and full of good will toward men
God is Gracious: God enjoys giving great gifts to those who love Him, even when they do not deserve it.
I enjoyed this article by Wallace Smith. I certainly don’t agree with everything he states in his article (thus I won’t put a link here) but I adapted it. Put your doubt up against the three Big O’s, also attributes of God.
The Greek word translated as omnipotent here is pantokrator, meaning “All-ruling” or “Almighty.” When we say God is “Almighty”, we are stating our belief in His authority and rulership over all creation. It is God who ultimately reigns in the universe, and all legitimate authority must derive from Him. If we let Scripture tell us of God’s authority, we must agree that He has all authority to do all His pleasure (Isaiah 46:10–11), and to see to the fulfillment of His plans without fail.
“Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns!” Revelation 19:6
Basically, being omnipresent means being present everywhere at the same time. Ask yourself: is there any physical location in this universe where we can hide from the presence of God? He is not like a substance spread out in a thin layer all over the earth – all of Him is everywhere at one and the same time. Through His Spirit, God’s reach extends to every nook and cranny of the universe.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell [the grave], behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:7–10
Omnisicient is defined as “having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.”
God sees all things, and nothing can be hidden from His knowledge—not even the secret intentions of the heart. Human beings perceive through the senses, but there are limits to what the senses let us perceive and understand. God’s senses are not limited like ours. Nothing is beyond God’s ability to perceive it. Nothing can escape His gaze and His knowledge.
Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do. Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted, you who are now far from my righteousness. I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. Isaiah 46:9-13a
Can I trust my life to a God like this? I can. Can I trust and doubt at the same time? I don’t believe I can. Belief is a choice and is not based on emotions. How we FEEL does not affect our belief. Feelings ebb and flow. If, and only if, we have the basics of our Bible-based beliefs about God and who He is firmly implanted in our hearts and minds, life circumstances, people, natural disasters, injustice, crisis, disease–all the things that may cause us to doubt God–can be run through the filter of God’s word and His character.
The longer I walk with God and am able to see His plan and purposes for me in my past, the easier it becomes to trust Him today and in the future. In my mind, there is no room for doubt in that sentence. I don’t always understand everything God does in my life, but I can still trust that His purposes are always for my benefit. When we say we doubt God, I think we either haven’t firmly established who God is in our life or we’re really doubting our worth or loveability. I don’t think that means we’re doubting God himself.
But I’ll have to save that for another post.
If you haven’t firmly established your Biblically-based beliefs about who God is in your life, WORK IT OUT. Read His word! Have lively discussions with Christians you trust! Think and ponder! Talk to God about it!
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:2-8
Would love to hear your thoughts about this issue of doubt.