Strengthening faith

(Ethan Thomas) #1

Recently I’ve begun to venture outside the Christian Bubble to evangelize and have discussions with nonbelievers. This has really made me appreciate the efforts of apologists more than anything else I’ve ever experienced. Making yourself and your faith vulnerable to the often vitriolic and hateful rhetoric of the secular world can be extremely draining for one’s spiritual health and well being. For some like myself, this can often lead to creeping thoughts of doubt and questioning the core of your beliefs. If you’ve ever found yourself in this situation, how do you deal with these thoughts? Any suggestions or “coping skills”? Thanks in advance!

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #2

@eot1990 Hi Ethan! I appreciate you stepping up in sharing your faith. I do understand where you are coming from in terms of thoughts of doubt. Take heart though, since the opposite of faith is not doubt, but rather unbelief.

Personally, I deal with doubt one at a time. If there’s something I could work on, I’ll start with that one thing, then I move to others. I deal with it as I search on my own in the internet, or follow a certain apologetics ministry or an authority figure, I read books, or talk to people I know in real life who could help.

Here are some videos about doubt which I find helpful:

1) Factual or intellectual doubt

2) Emotional doubt

3) Volitional Doubt

(Ethan Thomas) #3

Thank you so much! I’ve read a few articles by Dr. Habermas so I’ll definitely check out these videos!

(SeanO) #4

@eot1990 Greetings Ethan and congratulations on stepping out to share your faith with the lost! May God give you strength, courage and wisdom both in your own heart and mind and to show others the glory of Christ!

@omnarchy provided some great resources. The times when I’ve struggled with doubt the most have been when wrestling with theological points that challenged the character of God and the strategy I have found most helpful for coping is:

  1. Keep the focus on Christ (don’t let the question become bigger than Christ)
  2. Remember God’s faithfulness in the past
  3. Invite God’s Spirit into my wrestling
  4. Don’t demand a quick answer - patiently seek

Oftentimes when I encounter a very prickly question I want the answer today and in my own strength - but I have found that the best path to finding the right answer to very difficult questions is often to pray to Jesus to let His Spirit guide in the situation and then patiently seek wise council on the matter from other people and in Scripture. Sometimes I try to go it alone in finding an answer - but God has given His Spirit for a reason - so we definitely need to invite Him into the process of wrestling with the question.

Psalms 27:14 - Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

My experience is that each time I faithfully wait upon the Lord in prayer and worship while dealing with uncertainty and then see Him provide peace or an answer - I am strengthened so that the next time I go through the same process there is less turmoil or at least I am quicker to take the turmoil to the feet of Christ.

(Natasha Morton) #5

It’s wonderful you are engaging nonbelievers in our faith!

In addition to what has been said, maybe try writing them down - prayer request, or answered prayers, concerns/doubts or what have you. One, writing them down sometimes helps to clear my mind a little. I’m one of those folks that likes to read aloud and copy things down to help me process. Also, I’m able to use them as faith building blocks and fortifiers later, when I can go back and see how God has worked in my life and in those around me. Seeing God’s work in my life (in my own handwriting and my own words) helps me to keep focus. It helps me remember all the things He does in my life and how His truths are firm and His love is constant. I think sometimes we can often feel a bit distant from readings because we personally may not have had those experiences. But reading back over personal experiences, what God has done in us, through us, for us and others around us, can be a humbling and amazing rock in your faith.

(Sarah Malcangi) #6

Dr Habermas is great!

I would recommend not getting overwhelmed with how broad the topic of Christian Apologetics covers. For instance, Dr Habermas focuses mainly on the resurrection. I do love his work on the Shroud of Turin as well.

Not even the best can know everything. Just take it slow and I think it’s great you are talking to non believers.

(Sean Joyner) #7

Ethan, thank you so much for sharing! It’s defintely tough when others seem so hostile toward our God. Often times it’s because of something they have experienced in their life, a hurt or betrayal from someone in the church or even feeling let down by God. I know that for me, if I focus on who God is and if I also look at the person I’m trying to minister to with a heart of compassion and love that that drains out the doubt. I also try to stay continually in prayer each day to keep my relationship with God alive and strong and not only intellectual.

I find that those things help me quite a bit. 2 Corinthians 10:5 is also a great scripture to stand on: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”