Doubt (Dictionary): To call into question the truth of; to be uncertain or in doubt about; to lack confidence in; to consider unlikely.
Doubt (Bible): Waver; doubt; hesitate; or duplicate.
Doubt can be powerful. It can blind a soul or even guide you into missing God’s free gift of salvation! Through the ages mankind has developed its own gods through idolatry. Many have retreated into atheism or agnosticism. Some have stepped from doubt to unbelief and finally into complete denial of the gospel. Atheists say there is no God while Agnostics simply plead “show me God and I will believe.” So what does the Bible say about doubt?
Jesus faced doubters and unbelievers constantly. He also gave clear teachings on doubt and unbelief:
John 12:37: 37 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. (NLT)
Mark 11:21-25: 21 Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” (NASB)
This is a powerful Scripture! Jesus had cursed the fig tree the day before and Peter is impressed that the tree has died. But Jesus uses the tree as a means to get His Disciples attention. His teaching covers faith, doubt and forgiveness. We can see that doubt cannot be combined with belief but goes hand in hand with unbelief. We all face different “mountains” in our lives we need to deal with. Jesus plainly teaches that our heart must believe that God will answer our prayer! At the same time the Lord warns them that unforgiveness is unacceptable and quite serious!
Some of Jesus followers doubted or refused to believe Him even after Christ’s resurrection:
Mark 16:14-16: 14 Later, He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw Him after He had been resurrected. 15 Then He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (HCSB)
Another time a man approached Jesus and cried out to Jesus for help:
Mark 9:20-25: 20 They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. 21 And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.22 It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” (NASB)
The father was desperate yet he revealed the doubt in his heart by saying “if You can?” Jesus did not rebuke the man’s heart but only reminded the man that he must believe and then He healed the boy. When we struggle and become overwhelmed by a mountain set before us, we must remember how Jesus prayed and do the same. We may see doubt all around us but He is Lord!
Matthew 6:9-10: 9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed by Your name,Your kingdom come.Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.’” (NASB)