Doubt and fear plague many believers from time to time on their journey of faith. Both things work to slow, if not stop their spiritual progress. In fact, prolonged, they can cripple the believer to the point of emotional despair.
Instead of running the risk of oversimplifying the cause of spiritual fear and doubt, I would like to rather give some encouragement on how to avoid them all together. “The Preacher” who wrote the book of Hebrews addresses this in Hebrews 2:1 when he says, “For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.”
I can almost hear him delivering this message by snapping his fingers and saying “now hear this,” or by him saying, “now if you don’t hear anything else I say, hear this.” Of course, he wants you to hear more, and he wants you to pay attention to all he is saying, but clearly this point is important.
From the beginning of Christianity there has been a need to remind believers to remain proactive in their faith walk. It is the natural tendency of mankind to gradually lose interest in things that become routine and familiar. The interest we have in new things slowly wanes away, like when we buy a new car, and soon it is just a car. Our attention turns to having a desire for something newer.
Our faith can do the same. We get saved, and we want to tell everyone. We want the church to have services more often. We want to talk about what we have discovered in God’s Word. Then after a while, there is a settling into a pattern of attending small group, worship and maybe even finding a regular place of service in the church.
Week after week, these Christians do the same things in their faith journey, and they “drift” into complacency and/or apathy. Soon to follow in this pattern is doubt. They begin doubting their church, doubting their preacher and/or doubting their own faith.
Now when a life crisis hits, that doubt begins to give way to “fear.” The fear becomes a fear that they are not “really” saved. When this happens, they become crippled in their journey because they are paralyzed by doubt and fear. Now they are reduced to feeding their faith from the crumbs of others. They simply become hearers of what others are experiencing in their faith walk, and those stories begin to feel out of reach for the paralyzed believer.
So, what is one to do? Make sure to keep your faith new and fresh every day, by reading God’s Word, praying and serving Christ by sharing with others what Christ has done for you and can do for them. Do not rely solely on others for your spiritual nourishment.
Of course, do the routine, but do not get in a rut. Go to church, but then go home and study the passage the preacher preached or your small group studied that day. Make it a part of your daily Bible study for the week. Find a place of service, but keep it fresh by seeking ways to be more effective in the task. Remember routine does not have to lead to a rut, especially if we are striving daily to make it new and exciting.
Keep your faith alive in the days ahead. Strive to find new ways to interact with the Word of God and ways to fellowship with other believers. Don’t forget to tell a non-believer what God is showing you from His Word. Watch the joy return to your faith journey and watch the doubt and fear vanish away!