Meanderings of a Minister


Doubt Defeated
May 12, 2010, 2:03 pm
Filed under: Articles

Doubt Defeats, Depresses and Discourages Disciples  (1 John 2:3-6)

 Over the last couple of weeks, we have been considering what is holding back our joy in the Christian life.  You may be thinking, “But, I have joy in the Lord.”  Great!  Then this article may not be for you right now, but they might come in handy in the future, so read on.  In the last couple of weeks, we have looked at how sin can steal our joy, either through developing callouses or by being paralyzed into inactivity.  Hopefully, you have done an internal inventory and have dealt with any known sin in your life.  Having done so, we turn to the next culprit that can steal our joy:  doubt.

In these few verses, the Apostle John uses the word, “know”, four times.  The word means to know by experience.  It is not the word for “know” that means to know theoretically.  Why would John use this word so many times?  Because the only antidote for doubt is knowing, but what are we to know?

First, John says we “are knowing” we have come to know Jesus by looking at our lives looking to see if we are keeping His commandments.  You might be thinking, “I thought Romans says that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”  You would be right.  Romans 10:4 says that very thing, but John is not talking about earning our salvation, but rather living it out.  He is saying we should look into our lives and see if we are carrying out Christ’s commands to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)  Whenever you find evidence you are living this out, you are reminded this is not you, but Christ living through you.  (Philippians 2:13)  One way to defeat doubt is to look at your life and find the evidence God is at work.

Another way to defeat doubt, so that it does not defeat you, is to consider what God has done and what He is doing.  While this might seem similar to the first point above, actually, this goes a bit further.  The first point is to look and see if God is doing anything.  This point is to consider WHAT He is doing.  First, John says whoever is keeping God’s word has the love of God perfected in them.  You may bristle of the thought of anything being perfect in you.  If you are like me, you know your own failures and feel like you are anything but perfect.  When we do this, we actually misunderstand the point being made here.  When Jesus used this same word in John 19:30, He said, “It is finished.”  God’s plan has been completed.  If you are born again, in you the love of God has accomplished its purpose.  His sacrifice of His Son has been effective in your heart and you are reconciled to God. Doubt can’t touch that!

But what is God doing in my life?  Simple.  He is filling you up so that you spill out all over others because in this, He is glorified.  You and I are surrounded by many people that know “the real us”.  They know we can be nasty, mean, selfish and careless.  When they see us being compassionate, kind, caring and selfless, they know it doesn’t come from us.  Where does it come from?  God.  We show them and then we tell them.  This is part of what Jesus meant when He told His disciples, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.”  (John 15:8)  When we are serving as God’s conduit of sharing with others, we “understand all the wonderful things we have in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 6, NIV).  Doubt can’t dent that!

Lastly, doubt can depress or it can drive us to God for answers.  Most of us want to know what we are supposed to be doing for God.  Since we struggle to figure it out, we are left open to doubt.  John finishes this off with the command, “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”  (1 John 2:6)  We simply do what He is doing.  Doubt doesn’t have to defeat, depress or discourage, if we take to the One Who has the final say.

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