Doubt is like a debilitating disease that leaves its victims helpless and hopeless. Find out how to combat doubtaholism.
“Doubt is the door-way to unbelief.” When I heard the Holy Spirit speak those words, I began to ponder the danger of doubt. I began to see doubt as more than just a mindset that prevents us from casting the proverbial mountain into the sea. I began to see doubt as a spiritual disease whose goal is to cripple our Christian lives. I dub this disease doubtaholism.
Doubt is a cousin of fear and suspicion that blocks faith and discernment. To doubt is to lack confidence in the Word of God. Doubt is failing to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Just like alcohol, doubt is a depressant. It damages our heart, lowers our resistance to infection, and leaves us impotent. Just like alcoholism, chronic doubt impairs our learning ability, disorients us, and causes mental confusion.
In Deuteronomy 28:66, we learn that doubt is part of the curse of the law: “Your life shall hang in doubt before you; day and night you shall be worried, and have no assurance of your life.” But Jesus came to redeem us from the curse of the law. The good news is while alcohol withdrawal can causes tremors and convulsions, withdrawing from doubt causes freedom and liberty.
Whether you are a full-blown fretting doubtaholic or merely sip from the cup of cautious hesitation, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of this spiritual state. So let’s take a closer look at doubt as the doorway to unbelief, its symptoms, and the remedy for dealing with doubtaholism. It’s time we see this sinister spirit for what it is and silence its nagging voice so we can walk in peace, faith – and victory.
Doubt is the doorway to unbelief because the skeptic must first question the Source of information before he is finally unwilling to accept the truth. If doubt is dangerous, then unbelief can be deadly. At the very least it can cripple your prayer life. Ponder this: If it only takes faith the size of a grain of mustard seed to move a mountain, then how much doubt does it take to cancel out a prayer? Jesus said, “Only believe.”
Like any disease, doubtaholism manifests in progressive stages. The early symptoms are confusion and inaction. Left unchecked, we move on to fear and anxiety. Finally, we move on to instability, double-mindedness and backtracking that leave us unable to receive the wisdom of God. James, the apostle of practical faith, encourages believers to ask the Lord for direction as needed – in faith, with no wavering, hesitating or doubting. “For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. For truly, let not such a person imagine he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides] (James 1:6-8 AMP).
Does this sound like a person who is walking in victory? But there is hope for those James described in his epistle. There is deliverance from doubtaholism. It begins, continues and ends with the Word of God. God’s Word makes thousands of promises to those who believe. Let’s examine a 12-step program designed for doubtaholics.
1. Admit your problem: The first step to recovering from doubtaholism is to see this debilitating disease for what it really is: sin. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
2. Confess your fault: Healing and deliverance begins with confessing the fault. Once you truly repent, then your effective, fervent prayers will make an impact (James 5:16).
3. Rely on God: Believe that the Lord is faithful and just to forgive you of your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
4. Examine your heart: Search your heart to determine what allowed the doubt and unbelief to enter in the first place (2 Corinthians 13:5).
5. Decide to trust in the Lord: True repentance will bring lasting change as you decide once and for all to trust in the Lord with all your heart instead of trying to figure everything out on your own (Proverbs 3:5).
6. Renew your mind: Renew your mind with Scriptures about trust in the Lord and read passages that demonstrate God’s faithfulness to His servants over the ages (Romans 12:2).
7. Build your faith: Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Don’t just read your Bible. Speak the Scriptures out of your mouth day and night. Then you will have good success (Joshua 1:8).
8. Be a doer of the Word: When we hear the Word and do it, it brings stability to our lives. Jesus said whoever hears His sayings and does them is a wise man (Matthew 7:24).
9. Pray in tongues: You can build yourself up in your most holy faith by praying in tongues. Allowing the Holy Ghost to pray through you will edify your spirit and ensure perfect prayers are being released on your behalf (Jude 1:20).
10. Fight the good fight: Since the battle is in the mind, keeping yourself from returning to the cup of doubt will require you to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Faith speaks what the Word says even when circumstances defy it.
11. Reject fear: God has not given us a spirit of fear. Fear is the antithesis of faith. When you feel fear begin to grip you, remember that God has given you a spirit of power, love and a sound mind and perfect love casts out fear (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18).
12. Resist the devil: Now that you’ve submitted yourself to God, resist that old doubtful devil whenever he rears his ugly head and he will flee from you (James 4:7). When doubt comes, say “I resist you doubt. I choose rather to believe the Word of God.” And tell the devil, “It is written…”
If doubt is the doorway to unbelief, then faith is the doorway to God’s promises. Choose the ever living water of faith over the tumbler of doubt and receive everything God has planned for your life – no doubt about it!
To learn more about this topic, pick up Jennifer’s book Doubtless: Faith that Overcomes the World.