Chapter 9 - Doubts Disarmed
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Everyone in the Christian walk has doubts for they are rooted in our humaness. It may seem like some don't but at some level I have found everyone has. If you ask a congregation of believers which of them have ever doubted, some raise their hands but I suspect not all will. Have them keep their hands up and ask again, “As a Christian which of you ever worried about money?” (Which is doubting God's ability to provide) many more hands go up. Ask another question: “Have you ever feared for your loved ones?” (Which is doubting God's sovereignty) Still more hands go up. “Have you ever felt unloved by God?” (Which is doubting God's grace) Not many left with their hands down. The point is, if I keep asking questions regarding peoples lives since they've become a Christian, I suspect everyone will raise their hands, if they are being truthful.

It's been over a decade since my own struggles with doubts started. Am I cured of doubts? No. When I go to glory I will doubt no more, but as long this flesh remains doubts will still reside in it. Did I doubt before what I'm calling my period of “struggling with doubt” started? Yes I did. “So Ryan, if doubts have always been there why not say you've always struggled with doubt?” Because it's no longer a struggle. God has won.

As with Peter I have times I feel I'm walking on water, as with Peter I have times I doubt. But as with Peter Jesus has a hold of me (Matt. 14:31). Many times I've looked at the waves, and many times like Peter I've looked at my circumstances and feared. However, after many times of Jesus having a hold of me, well, the waves lose their potency. Every time I've fell, whether I've realized it or not, Jesus has held good on His promises (1 Peter 5:10, Psalms 119:116, 1 Thess. 5:24), Thank God that His promises are rested in His character. I look over my shoulder to see the huge ravine underneath me but that's my limited perspective. What I fail to see is that ravine is nothing more than a footprint left from the much bigger God who is carrying me in His hands.

My faith, which God has sustained though the entire struggle (Luke 22:32) was originally not much more than a mustard seed but God was causing growth all the while. As we discussed doubt is not the opposite of faith, the two can co-exist. Once the doubts started losing my attention they started losing their power. Doubts only have power if you pay attention to them. It's no wonder all of Satan's attacks started with questions.


“Indeed, has God said...” - Genesis 3:1


“If You are the Son of God...” - Matthew 4:5


I'll be honest, my doubts and fears drew 100% of my focus for a long time, and many times. But if you read a book full of short stories of doubt and each story ends with “Jesus has you”, the drama tends to be neutered. After seeing the pattern of “Jesus has you” in each story then future stories, though they too may have wonderfully written drama, they too are disarmed because I know the ending already. Jesus has me.

I have found it interesting that many people speculate what Paul meant by a “thorn in the flesh”. Many bible studies and church groups have discussed what this is and many different ideas have been presented. I myself in times past had different ideas on what it could have been. Did you know the Bible tells us what it is? Let's revisit 2 Corinthians 12:7.

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! - 2 Corinthians 12:7

Notice it wasn't a “warrior of Satan” or a “commander of Satan” but it was a messenger. The messenger can be the strongest or weakest unit in any army depending on how the audience receives it. If nobody listens the messenger is powerless. But if they can convince you of the impending doom, that your overwhelming enemy is just around the corner and they get you to retreat than they can win without ever sending a soldier to back it up.

For as he thinks within himself, so he is. - Proverbs 23:7a

If you're convinced that you are defeated than you walk as one defeated. If you are convinced you are condemned than you see everything through that filter. You read your bible and feel condemned you go to church and feel condemned. I did. But God is faithful.

Satan accuses us, but God is greater. (Rev. 12:10). The world troubles us, but God is greater. (John 16:33) Our hearts condemn us, but God is greater. (1 John 3:19). God is faithful.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. - 1 Thess 5:24

in Psalms 77, Asaph writes:


Will the Lord reject forever?
And will He never be favorable again?
Has His lovingkindness ceased forever?
Has His promise come to an end forever?
Has God forgotten to be gracious,
Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Selah.
Then I said, “It is my grief,
That the right hand of the Most High has changed.” - Psalm 77:7-10

Then, immediately following that Asaph chooses to change what He focuses on. Here is the rest of the Psalm.

I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
You have made known Your strength among the peoples.
You have by Your power redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.


The waters saw You, O God;
The waters saw You, they were in anguish;
The deeps also trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
The skies gave forth a sound;
Your arrows flashed here and there.
The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
The lightnings lit up the world;
The earth trembled and shook.
Your way was in the sea
And Your paths in the mighty waters,
And Your footprints may not be known.
You led Your people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron. - Psalm 77:11-20

Asaph was in despair as he focused on his circumstances, on the waves in his life. but he was encouraged when he focused on God, specifically who God is and what He has done. God has you regardless. Like I said, His faithfulness to you is not dependent on your faithfulness to Him. He cannot deny Himself. (2 Tim. 2:13). Your end destination is unchanging it's only your comfort level during the passage that's at stake.


Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. - Philippians 4:8

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