Sources of Doubt

John sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?”
–Luke 7:19

What does God’s Word say for those who doubt? In Luke 7, the disciples of John the Baptist reported to John all the miracles Jesus had performed. But John the Baptist was languishing in prison when he heard this news. Several months earlier John had confronted a king who took his brother’s wife. When John condemned him for this unholy act, the king threw him in prison.

“Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?’” (v. 19). What would cause John to doubt? The Old Testament prophets and John the Baptist believed that when the Messiah came, He would offer not only salvation but freedom from oppression. They didn’t understand that there would be a gap between the Messiah’s first coming and His second coming. So John was saying, “Lord, You have performed some impressive miracles, but I am still here in prison. Where is this freedom You have been talking about?”

There are four sources of doubt. First, unlived truth can be a source of doubt. When there is a contradiction between what you profess to be true and how you actually live, you can’t live with that dissonance for a long time. If you are living disobediently, then one of two things is going to happen: either you are going to change your behavior or you are going to change your beliefs. But you can’t continue to claim what the Bible says to be true and live a disobedient lifestyle.

Second, an unexamined faith can be a source of doubt. You need to examine what you believe because there will come a time of doubt. And as 1 Peter 3:15 says, you must “always [be] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” This is especially true of students who go off to college. They grow up in a Christian home, and then they are confronted with an ungodly professor who teaches ungodly things, and they question their faith. That’s why it is so important to know what you believe and why you believe it.

The third source of doubt can be unanswered prayer. John wasn’t upset about what Jesus was doing; he was upset about what Jesus wasn’t doing. Many times we do the same thing. We ask God to do something miraculous on our behalf or on behalf of somebody we care about deeply; yet the more we plead with God, the more silent God is. That causes doubt for many people.

The fourth source of doubt can be undeserved suffering. A survey recently asked, “If you could ask God only one question, what would you ask Him?” The overwhelming response was: “God, why do You allow suffering in the world?” Why does God allow bad things to happen to us? All these things can be sources of doubt in our lives.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “For Those Who Doubt” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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