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How to Overcome It


1. Discuss the words translated "doubt" in the NT.

          A. Aporeo = to be without a way, without resources, embarrassed, in doubt, perplexity, at a loss

                    1. Herod was "much perplexed" about John the Baptist. Mark 6:20

                    2. The disciples doubted the prediction of the Lord's betrayal. John 13:22

                    3. The women who came to the empty tomb were "much perplexed." Luke 24:4

                    4. The Galatians "doubted" the motive and purpose of the doctrinal error being taught. Gal. 4:20

          B. Diaporeo = thoroughly perplexed, perplexity amounting to despair.

                    1. Pentecost people who heard the tongue speaking of the apostles. Acts 2:12

                    2. High priest and captain of the temple about the boldness of the apostles. Acts 5:24

                    3. Peter's vision of the unclean animals which God was telling him to eat. Acts 10:17

          C. Diakrino = to separate thoroughly. This is not weak faith - This is absent faith.

                    1. Peter went with the men from the house of Cornelius. The Spirit urged him to go and not give it a second thought. Acts 11:12

                    2. James tells us to ask in faith, No reservations or hesitation. James 1:6

          D. Distazo = to stand in two ways, uncertainty.

                    1. In connection with little faith. Matt. 14:31

                    2. Apostles still doubted. Matt. 28:17

          E. Meteorizo = in mid air, raised on high - rising of the wind, mounting of eagles wings, being anxious, through a distracted state of mind, wavering between hope and fear.

                    1. Many are in the air between hope and fear; between confident and anxious. Luke 12:29


          F. Psuchen Airo = to raise the breath, to lift the soul, to hold in suspense, make us doubt, through a failure of expectations rather than unbelief.

                    1. Many could not decide and were held in suspense about Jesus being the Messiah. John 10:24

                    2. "How long dost thou raise our expectations without satisfying them?"

          G. Dialogismos = Noun = reasoning or questioning hesitation , difficult to make a decision.

                    1. Reasoning or questioning and the hesitation that goes with it. 1 Tim. 2:8


2. Two kinds of doubt.

          A. Skeptic, atheist, unbeliever. This person rejects the evidence of God, Bible, Jesus, resurrection, etc. They refuse to accept or believe the physical evidence.

          B. Unsure, waver, stagger, perplexed. This person is caused to "think twice" or think again. They wonder if they had sufficient evidence. They are confused and perplexed, just not as sure as they once were.


3. Two sources of doubt.

          A. Pain, crisis, sin, guilt feelings. Remove the cause and the doubt will disappear.

          B. Reasoning, thought, study. If this doubt leads to search, learn and grow in knowledge, it is good.



          "When a person answers a call to serve God, it seems only right that God should give some sort of special favor. This hope is often held inside on an emotional level even when a minister intellectually rejects it. This fantasy is hard to let go of because it fits so well with our reward system of behavioral training. If you are good, you'll get a cookie.

          What happens if there are no cookies? There seems to be two options: either there is no Cookie Giver or you haven't been good enough. The first option is hard for a Christian to take, especially for one who has invested years of time in preparation and service. Saying God doesn't give rewards to the faithful is difficult. Choosing the second is more comfortable, even though it means more work and more denial. Admitting that things aren't okay and that it is hard to cope threatens the denial system and creates anxiety."

          "Counseling Christian Workers", pg. 93-94

5. How Can I Help?

          A. In working with someone who is feeling doubt and the guilt associated with it, here are seven things you can to do help.

          1. Help the person identify the feeling of guilt and the cause of it.

          2. Help determine if it is guilt, coming from an emotional tendency to blame oneself for anything that goes wrong.

          3. Help the person ask the Lord for forgiveness.

          4. Explain that God has forgiven and help the person accept God's forgiveness. Guilt can become a travelling companion that doesn't automatically disappear.

          5. Explain the need for the person to ask injured or wronged parties for forgiveness, and, if possible, to make restitution.

          6. Encourage the restoration of broken relationships and continual bridge-building.

          7. Encourage the person to act as if he or she is forgiven and restored. Some people hold on to their guilt by acting guilty.


          B. There are several steps a caring Christian can take in helping those who are in spiritual crisis.

          1. Go to the hurting person with an attitude that you could have been in the same spot. Do not go as the parent who is going to correct the child.

          2. If the person is willing to talk about his or her guilt or hurt, hear the person out without being the judge. The person is probably being a pretty tough judge. Conviction is the task of the Holy Spirit, not yourself.

          3. Help the person to become aware of God's willingness to forgive. You might say that what he or she has done was not good, but is forgivable.

          4. Praying with a person who is seeking forgiveness is requested.

          5. Act as if the person is forgiven once forgiveness is requested.

          6. Possibly you can help the person restore relationships and/or make restitution to injured parties.

          7. Encourage the person as he or she does things in a fashion that will create healing for self or others.

                    "Counseling in Times of Crisis", pages 131-136


6. O Ye of "Little Faith."  Study these four statements of Jesus to the doubters of his ministry.

          A. Human reasoning                    Matt. 16:8

          B. Doubt                                     Matt. 12:31

          C. Fear                                       Matt. 8:20

          D. Anxiety                         Matt. 6:30-31

          NOTE: Dependence upon human reasoning where faith should guide will lead to doubt; but doubt will flood the heart with unnecessary fear; and fear will produce anxiety.

          NOTE 2: Parallel to Matt. 8:20 "little faith"; Mark 4:40 reads, "How is it that ye have no faith?"


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