Have you ever doubted anything? Of course you have. We all have heard something that we just couldn’t accept when we first heard it. Some people will question everything they hear. But there is something we should never doubt and that is the Word of God. It’s sad but some people do not believe in God, and if you don’t believe in God, you don’t believe what the Bible says; and if you don’t believe in God, you can’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Some people also don’t believe that there is enough evidence or proof for the fact that Jesus is who he claims to be. Then there are people who are almost there. They wonder if the Bible is true. They wonder if Jesus really rose from the dead. They wonder if the whole thing is just a story that someone made up, but if you have faith, you don’t wrestle with the question of whether God exists or not; or that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died and rose again. By faith, you believe in God and you accept everything that He said in His Word as fact.
Everyone, if they are truly honest, has at sometime doubted their faith. The strongest faith comes out of struggles with your doubt. When we see doubters, we tend to put them down. We think that they are weak Christians, but those who wrestle with their doubt often come out with the strongest kind of faith because our heavenly Father is aware of where we are on our journey and because of His amazing graceand love for us, will work our struggles out for our good and the end result is a testimony about the goodness of God. Doubts become an opportunity; they bring us closer to God rather than driving us away from Him but we must first admit that we have doubts. You cannot overcome your doubts unless you recognize them. Don’t think for a moment that God ceases to love you for any reason. The point is that not even your doubts can stop God from loving you. Even if you doubt Him, He loves you. If your doubt leads to questions, and your questions lead to answers, and you accept the answers that God gives you, then doubt has done a good work in your life.
My advice to you is to doubt your doubts, and honestly begin to seek after God with your whole heart. No matter how weak or how frail you think your faith is it’s enough. It’s enough to get you through. It doesn’t take much faith. Matthew 17:20 says, “If you have faith as small as the mustard seed nothing will be impossible to you.” In the middle of that verse it says “If you have faith as the mustard seed you can say to the mountain move and it will be moved.” Mustard seed faith moves mountains. A personal relationship withthe Lord Jesus Christ will erase any doubts you might be struggling with. Every little step you take towards Christ moves you further away from doubt, discouragement, depression, and despair. If you are going to doubt something, doubt the lie that says God isn’t real or that God doesn’t care about you and the issues you are facing. The truth is God is a God of love and He wants nothing more than for you to believe that He is who He says He is and that He gave His only begotten Son so that you might have ever-lasting life. Doubt your doubts and believe by faith that you are loved by God and that He is there any time you need Him.
I want to tell you a story:
One day a man decided to quit. He decided to quit his job, his relationships, and quit on God. He went to the woods to have one last talk with God. He said “God, can you give me one good reason not to quit?” God said “Look around”, do you see the fern and the bamboo?” “Yes”, the man replied.” God said ‘when I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the Fern grew but nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In the fourth year, nothing came up but I would not quit. Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout appeared. Compared to the fern it was small and insignificant but just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.” God said to the man. “I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.” “Don’t compare yourself to others.” God said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful.” “Your time will come”, God said to the man. “You will also rise high.” The man asked.”How high will the bamboo rise?” God said “as high as it can.’ God said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”
This might be hard for you to believe but do you know that the times you spend struggling with the cares of life are times when you have actually been growing roots?” Life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be enjoyed. You have been created by God for a specific purpose, one that no one else can fulfill and if you focus on how difficult life can be, you are missing the joy of the experience God has planned for you. Don’t walk by a rose bush and not think about how beautiful it is. Even rose bushes have thorns but the thorns don’t take away from the beauty of the rose. Life is a gift from God. You are a gift that God has put on this earth and He wants you to glorify Him by displaying your beauty. Don’t waste time by comparing yourself to others. Everyone has unique gifts but we all have the same purpose. If your beauty is not being seen, there is a gap in the rose bush. The rose bush isn’t mature until all the roses have blossomed.
Give God the glory due Him by rising as high as you can. Bloom where you have been planted because the world needs to see the beauty in you. Evil is always on display and it’s time for the things that are good and lovely to be seen. God works in mysterious ways and when you have risen as high as you can, you just might be the inspiration that causes another rose to bud.
I have a question I want to ask you. It is a serious question and it has serious consequences. “Can God ask you to do anything?” By ‘anything’ I mean anything, and would you obey even if you don’t understand why? Abraham was a man who did just what God commanded him to do at great personal expense. He obeyed God even though he didn’t understand why God told him to leave his home and his country and he did not know where he was going. Do you trust God that much or is your trust contingent upon your understanding of what God is asking you to do? If God required you to give up something or someone you love , are you capable of saying ‘not my will but your will be done?’ Obedience is the foundation to your relationship with God. Your level of obedience is fueled by your level of faith, and if you believe and trust God unconditionally, you will have no problem in obeying God no matter what He asks of you.
Abraham’s faith in God was at the highest level. He did not hesitate even when he was told to offer his son as a sacrifice upon an altar, but it was because of his faith in God that he did not have to give up his son in the end. Abraham passed the test and was rewarded. Is there anything in your life that you would withhold from God? Can God ask you to do anything? Are you willing to lay everything that God has ‘loaned’ to you on the altar, and have the faith to believe that “God will restore it to you? God might ask you to give up something near and dear to you. God might ask you to leave what is comfortable in your life. God might ask you to give up relationships that will hinder you from totally surrendering to Him, but if you do, if you are willing to let nothing keep you from obeying God, you will discover that your reward will be great. God honors those who honor Him and what better reward for obedience than allowing you to receive what He has promised you?
Take an inventory of your level of faith. The Bible tells us that faith if the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. When you are able to say ‘yes’ to God at all times, you are living by faith – faith that will not go unrewarded!
How would you describe yourself? How do you introduce yourself? How do you perceive yourself? Your answers to those questions are important because when you know who you are, then you know what to do. If you don’t know who you are, then you don’t know what to do. Let’s ask a different question: Who does God say that you are? Genesis 1: 26 says “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. That includes men and women. “In our image, after our likeness.” Who are you? God says, “I’ve made you in my image and likeness.” That’s your identity; that is who you are. You don’t have to decide what your identity is because God has already answered that question for you.
When God says that we are made in his image and likeness, think of images in your life. Every morning, most of us get up and look in a mirror, and that mirror is reflecting back to us our image, our likeness, revealing to us who we are. In the same way, God wants His attributes to be visible on the earth through His children. He wants the world to know something about Him, and so he’s made us as his mirrors. We were made to mirror God on the earth. God is loving, and when we love, we reflect his love to others. God is truthful. When we tell the truth, we reflect his truthfulness to others. God is forgiving. When we forgive others, we’re reflecting his grace and his mercy to others. God is generous, and when we’re generous, we’re reflecting his generosity to others. So our life is to be one of mirroring and the goal is not for the world to know us, but the goal is for the world to know Him. We are to reflect, to mirror, to show, to echo something of God’s attributes to the world.
Your identity is received, it’s not achieved. Adam and Eve didn’t do anything to obtain their identity. God made them, God spoke to them, God defined them, and God blessed them. It’s all God. Your identity is not achieved, it’s received. It’s not something you do, it’s something God does. It’s not what you earn, it’s what God gives. This one fact frees you from the performance trap. It frees you from the competitive trap. It frees you from being bitter or jealous of others. It lets you be who God made you to be, and rejoice in who God made your brothers and sisters in Christ to be. We are all made in the image and likeness and God. Your net worth has nothing to do with your self-worth. You are a child of God and no one can ever steal that identity from you because it is protected by the blood of Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior.
One of my favorite people in the Bible is David and because of His sensitivity to God, he became the best king Israel ever had. David was chosen by God when he was a young man to become the King of Israel after Saul disobeyed God. David started out as a shepherd boy but later became a mighty warrior and eventually King of Israel. Any good leader will tell you they do not become great alone – they surround themselves with like-minded people who are faithful and committed to making their leader successful. One individual who was totally committed to David was a man we hear very little about. His name was Eleazar. In one battle, after all the other warriors had left, Eleazar remained with David and the Bible says that “He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword.” The Bible tells us that the location of this battle is believed to be in the same area where David had defeated Goliath. This place seems to have been a place where many battles took place for Israel. Here is a lesson for us to learn; the enemy will often take us back to old battlegrounds; places where he’s held us up in the past; places where he might have even won a battle or two. Maybe the devil takes you to that place of doubt, that place of fear, that place of lack of faith inside of you. But when Satan tries to take you to those places just take him back to Calvary; the place where he was defeated by the blood of Jesus.
It’s important to note that Eleazar kept fighting even when he was weary. Sometimes we will grow weary when we are in a fight; sometimes we will lose strength. For you and me there are things that we must be willing to fight for like the preservation of God’s Word and not let Satan take our religious freedom away from us. Also, it’s important to note that he fought for his king, just as we are to fight for our King. Eleazar was alone in battle. There comes a time when each of us are required to stand alone in the battle. The battle that we all fight in our lives is when God requires change; change must come if we are going to see victory. These changes cannot be worked out in a crowd. These changes must be worked out between ourselves and God alone.
Each of us is called to serve our King to the best of our ability no matter what the battlefield is: whether it is restocking shelves in grocery store or managing a Fortune 500 company. Standing firm and serving our King even when everyone else is running in the opposite direction is what God’s mighty men and women do. Eleazar had something that he could not let go of – his sword. His hand became part of his sword. The battle was so intense that he and his sword became one. That is a powerful example for us today. Put the Word in you so that it will come out of you in the heat of the battle!Eleazor was willing to draw his sword and fight with or without any support. He didn’t look around to see who was still standing. Your responsibility is not diminished because other people turn back; rather you should rise to the occasion and close the gap. Remember, only 20% of the people will do 80% of the work. Spiritual strength is a test of greatness. Greatness is shown when you are able to go one more step when you are fighting the biggest challenge of your life.
Think about this:
For every failure in the Bible, there is a victory
For every Cain, there is an Abel
For every Saul, there is a David
For every Judas, there is a Jonathan
For every Pit, there is a Palace.
Refuse to let go of your sword!