Question / Comment - What should I do if I am plagued by doubts about Jesus?
Hey, I have a question on if I truly believe or if I’m just plagued by the temptation to not believe.
All my life I’ve been a believer. Except until recently, I’d been more asleep. Now I’ve awakened but with that awakening, I’ll be rattled with doubts. I’ll read the Bible and then consider: “Is this really real? Was He just another good teacher?”
I know how there are people who will stumble over the message of Christ and due to the hardness of their hearts, they do not believe. So I begin to panic and say: “Wait, am I stumbling and truly disbelieving? Or am I being tempted to not believe?”
thanks for the question and it is good to read that you have woken up recently, even if doubts still swirl around. With all that is happening in this crazy world of ours, a lot of people are waking up. They are looking for answers outside of this world and rightly so! A few simple thoughts came to mind as I read your question. They are:
- Tell God all about your doubts and struggles.
- Pray that He would strengthen your faith and show Himself to you more
- Stay in His word because that is where God speaks to us and faith grows
- Take the time to study apologetics and the reasons for why Christians believe
1. Tell God all about your doubts and struggles.
There are people that had doubts in the Bible. Poor old Thomas got labelled 'doubting Thomas' for the last 2000 years because of his need to see the proof of Jesus scars in His hands and feet:
Joh 20:25-29 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." (26) A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" (27) Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." (28) Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" (29) Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Jesus gave Thomas the proof that he asked for, and having given him proof, said 'Stop doubting and believe'. Even the amazing John the Baptist had doubts about Jesus when things were not going like he expected them to. (Matt 11:2-6) What God wants from us is humility and honesty. I appreciate the honesty in your message. If we have doubts, take them to Him. Don't run from Him. That is what the enemy would want. But God doesn't mind honest questions and doubts... He has strong shoulders!
2. Pray that He would strengthen your faith and show Himself to you more
There is a great story where a man wanted Jesus to heal his son:
Mar 9:20-27 ...When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. (21) Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered. (22) It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us. (23) 'If you can'? said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." (24) Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (25) When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." (26) The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." (27) But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
Here was a man who had doubts. He had obviously heard of Jesus' fame and was desperate for his son to be healed... but he had doubts. 'Would Jesus heal? Could Jesus heal? The disciples had failed to cast the spirit out... maybe Jesus would as well? Maybe Jesus was just a good teacher but couldn't help here?' And so he said to Jesus 'If you can do anything, take pity on us'. And Jesus immediately picked up on the 'if' saying 'if you can'? 'Everything is possible for him that believes.' To which the man said the now famous 'I do believe, help my unbelief!'. And Jesus healed his son. The man had faith... but he also had some unbelief. His faith wasn't perfect and all of us can relate to that at different times. We have all had times of doubts. The good thing is that this man was honest with the Lord Jesus, saying he did believe, while also asking that the Lord help him with his doubts. The Lord hears such prayers that come from an honest and desiring heart.
3. Stay in His word because that is where God speaks to us and faith grows
The first verse I thought of when i read your question was this:
Rom 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
All Christians need to have their faith strengthened and this comes through hearing and reading the Word of God. The enemy will do all he can to prevent this. He will distract you with 101 different things. He would rather you listen to him through the wisdom of this world or the latest YouTube or Tiktok vid! But if we are genuine and desire to learn more and have our faith strengthened, God's word is critical. And if we have doubts we can be given all the proof we need of who Jesus is. It was this thought that I had in mind when I wrote the following two pages. They look at the claims of Jesus (did He just claim to be a 'good teacher' or did He claim to be the Messiah and God? And if the latter, did He prove it?) These two pages look at Bible prophecy which I have always found amazing as it gives abundant proof for one that desires to know who Jesus is! Who else in all of history has had specific prophecies written about their coming, and their death, hundreds of years beforehand? Nobody but Jesus!
And as you read, note the first quote from C.S Lewis which is very relevant and true. We need to be clear that Jesus didn't just claim to be a teacher:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
C. S. Lewis
There are other replies to similar type questions that may help as well. For example, here and here:
4. Take the time to study apologetics and why Christians believe
I would also recommend Alisa Childers' ministry and Youtube channel who has a lot of good material, and interviews a lot of good people, on relevant topics. She went through her own period of doubts before finding Jesus to be true. So as well as the above it is good to study apologetics and the reasons why we believe. Alisa's channel will help a lot here. For example, here is a useful interview she did with Kirk Cameron about the doubts she had and how she overcame them.
Hope this helps,