This week focuses our attention on the the difference between doubt and unbelief. It is so important for me to understand what they are so I can recognize when they are operating in my life.
Joyce’s definition from the Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words:
DOUBT: To stand in two ways….implying uncertainty which way to take,….said of believers whose faith is small….being anxious, through a distracted state of mind, of wavering between hope and fear.
DOUBT: to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe; to distrust; to fear; be apprehensive about.
UNBELIEF: not believing; incredulity or skepticism,
I tend to lump these two systems of thought together. However, as I am reading this, I am understanding that they are very distinct in themselves yet they partner together perfectly to create separation between God and I.
Joyce writes, “Doubt comes in the form of thoughts that are in opposition to the Word of God.” When I read this, I thought, ‘WOW! My mind is constantly bombarded all day with thoughts that are in opposition to the Word of God.” Recently, I was at school working, when another Para was sharing her fear over the fact that all the other schools around us were closing because of death threats but ours was still undecided. I had not known this was going on. Immediately, my understanding went to fear and panic. Especially because of the recent incident in Newtown CT. My understanding did not go to all the scriptures I know about God protecting us and watching over us. God’s plan for good, didn’t even enter my mind. Unbelief was running wild in my thoughts. My emotions were so out of control. That is when the Holy Spirit stepped in and blew the whistle for a Holy Spirit time out. I repented for leaning to my own understanding and asked the Lord for help. Every minute of me living here in ND is about me learning to stop and ask the Lord for His perspective on whatever I am facing or feeling. Once I was reminded of this, I did so. Immediately, God’s word came into my heart for this situation. At this point, I could have chosen to doubt, which is usually my normal response. You know, “But God…..” statements that mean, “I want you God to explain this to me, to my satisfaction and understanding.” But, I am learning to focus on His truth which is His word for my life, period! No matter how many more questions I have. So I anchored my emotions to Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” The dark situation I was facing, the possible murder of myself or my natural children or the children of my school became lighter as I focused on His word. The Lord is my refuge and the stronghold of my life, meaning that fear was not my mode of operation for this situation but my mode was faith that I could take refuge for my lack of understanding(panic, fear, unbelief and doubt) and be saved. I would not act in doubt, being double minded, thinking thoughts, like, “What if….doom, death, destruction..” I would focus on the truth. “Of whom shall I be afraid?” There is no one or nothing that can conquer the stronghold of God. That’s where I am learning to stand.
I love that Joyce pointed out that Abraham kept his mind and conversation on God. She also wrote, “You and I a can be aware of our circumstances and yet, purposely, keep our minds on something that will build us up and edify our faith.” This simple thing seems so easy, but I find it very challengingly. Especially, when people around me are operating in doubt, fear and unbelief and speaking those things to me continually. This is where I am learning to guard my heart by reinforcing what I know He has spoken to me, either by saying it to myself again or speaking it our to others. My mind is transforming from a doubtful and unbelieving mind to a faith filled, believing mind. This is God’s plan for me and for you. Doubtful thoughts may rise up, but we will chose to lay them down at the cross and leave them there. God has given us His measure of faith. We will be people of great faith, having belief that is played out in action in our lives. We will be like the Centurion soldier who understood that when Jesus spoke the word, it was done and his servant was healed. We understand that when we receive the Word of the Lord it is done(Matt 8:5-13).
Our lives are being transformed by the renewing of our minds, not because of us, but because of His power. He reveals His word to us and it changes us. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He has made provision for our minds to no longer be doubtful and unbelieving but faith filled and able to believe what He says. Our God is so awesome!