The Bible instructs us as believers to live by faith and not by sight. This would be an easier task if we did not live in a fallen world. For this reason, many Christians wrestle with doubt and issues of assurance. Having doubt raises the question, “Is it wrong for Christians to doubt and how can it be overcome?” John Stevens addresses this issue in his new book How Can I Be Sure? in the Questions Christians Ask series from The Good Book Company.
Stevens begins by defining doubt as uncertainty, unbelief, and lack of assurance about the future. Essentially, doubt is the opposite of faith which is certainty, belief, and assurance about the future even though it cannot be seen. Doubt is inevitable for all Christians because we do not always live by faith. Stevens assures the reader that having doubt is not necessarily wrong, but it must not go unchecked. If a person allows doubt to linger, it can cause true unbelief, which is a dangerous place for someone to be. Instead, the Christian must face doubt head on and use it as an opportunity to grow in faith. Lessons in life are better learned through experience. This is exactly what wrestling with doubt can do, if dealt with in a healthy manner.
For the purpose of spiritual growth there are three ways a person can apply this book to their Christian walk. First, we must realize that not all of our questions will be answered on this side of eternity. There are just somethings about God, salvation, the universe, and the Bible that we will never understand. These areas may cause some doubts along the way, but that doubt should drive us to deeper a faith.
Second, when doubt arises seek the guidance of godly friend. Many times when doubt arises we are tempted to distance ourselves from other people. This may be caused by pain from past experience. Yet, if we are serious about our spiritual growth we must seek the help of trusted godly friends to help us through doubt. A true friend will point us to the truth of Scripture and not feed the fires of our doubt.
Third, when doubt arises use it as an opportunity for growth. Doubt is inevitable, so we must use it for our benefit. The worst thing that we could do when doubt arises is to throw in the towel and quit the faith. Use doubt as an opportunity for growth. Whatever area you are struggling in, read well written books from differing perspectives, study Scripture, and seek the counsel of godly friends. This will allow you to work through your doubt in a healthy manner and grow deeper in your walk with the Lord.
I recommend “How Can I Be Sure” to anyone currently struggling with or who is discipling someone with doubt. This is short book is easy to read and packed with Scripture. It would be a great resource for personal or small group study. The Good Book Company is a blessing to the Church by providing excellent and relevant resources to believers worldwide.