Published on Jun 17th, 2015 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0


I was doing a little reading yesterday and I came across a comment from a skeptic on Christianity.  He had been chiding one of his friends who had become a Christian when it dawned on him that if he was a skeptic then why did it really matter what his friend believed? Why did he feel the need to proselytize his friend to become the skeptic he was?  In his account he said something that made me stop and say, “ahhhh…”.  It was one of those ideas that sticks with you and you find yourself meditating on it for a while.  Here is what he said, “Doubt, like faith, is learned”.  His thinking was that he learned how to doubt so why should he criticize someone who wanted to learn to live by faith?  But think about that statement for a while… “Doubt, like faith, is learned”.

If that is true, then it changes the way I face doubts in my walk with God.  We probably should address the idea of doubts first.  We all have them. Maybe less than we used to…but they are often still there.  It is part of being here and not there.  It is part of living by faith and not by sight.  It is part of trusting in the invisible.  So now that we have admitted that we all have doubts…doesn’t it help to think that they may have been learned?  My doubts about what God is choosing to do in my life are learned.  I have learned that I can only control or see so much. So I choose to doubt that God can control and see everything.  I have learned that people let you down.  So I automatically apply that to God who promises to always do what is best.  I have learned that my happiness and peace are most important.  So making my life about someone else is counterintuitive.  Do you see what I mean?

Think about it this way.  Although those ideas come easily from my sinful nature, they really are learned ideas and behavior.  I was not born knowing the laws of nature but through observation, teaching, and experience I have learned them.  When God chooses to suspend those laws so that I am protected when I should have been hurt, or I am healed when I should be sick, I begin to learn that there are other laws that are spiritual and supernatural laws.  I also learn that I cannot determine when those laws will be applied because they are controlled by a Sovereign God.  So, if I have learned doubting, then when doubts come I cannot just close my eyes, clench my fists, and say that I have faith.  When those doubts come I must speak to them with new truths found in the Word of God and ask the Spirit to teach me faith.  Exchange learned behavior for learned behavior.

I wonder if this is what Jesus had in mind in Luke 24:36-42.  Look it up and see what God teaches through his Word.  Jesus appears to his disciples after the resurrection and they are afraid.  He asks them why they are afraid and says, “Why do doubts arise in your hearts?” Why?  Because you were dead and now you are standing there.  Because everything we have learned says that when you die you are gone.  You do not come back.  Jesus invites them to learn new truths.  He tells them to look at his hands and feet.  He told them to touch him.  He was not a spirit.  Luke then says this, “And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling…”.  Isn’t that a great statement?  Changing what you have believed and have been taught all your life is hard.  Yet, standing right before them is the risen Christ.  They can see him and they can touch him.  It fills them with great joy but they are having trouble believing their eyes.  So what does Jesus do?  He asks for some food and then he eats a piece of fish before them.  He gives them even more proof.  Was Jesus, in his glorified body, really hungry?  No.  He was helping his disciples believe that which went against everything they had ever learned.  He was helping them overcome their doubt.

Why did that check come just when you needed it to come?  Why did you suddenly feel better when you had the flu?  Why did all those people help when you broke your leg and had to miss work?  God was giving you new lessons so that when the deeper more difficult trials came you had learned faith and not doubt.  He was helping you exchange learned behavior for learned behavior.  So, the next time doubts come, listen to them.  Hear what they are saying and then go to the Word of God and speak to those doubts with new truth and learn faith.

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