Having doubts about things and circumstances in life is probably thought of as normal in the unbeliever. However, as Christians, we should be secure in our mind as to the truth of God and God’s word, the bible. The issue of doubt is discussed in the bible, where it says, “But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”—James 1:6-8
Do you have trouble with doubts with just about everything including your walk with the Lord? The following is a list of different types of emotional doubt that can impact your walk with the Lord. Take a look at this list and see if there is any type of doubt that you’ve experienced in your life. Then, it’s important to recognize that God wants to help you in this area of your life.
a) psychological causes: The most common cause of emotional doubts (and perhaps even all types of uncertainty) stems from psychological states such as anxiety or depression and, in particular, moods which persons frequently undergo. In fact, in a certain select sense, psychological doubt as a whole might be termed mood-related. At any rate, this brand of questioning often masquerades as factual doubt but must be dealt with in a different manner. It has been shown that to many individuals who assumed that their problem had to do with evidence for faith, only to discover that the true cause was their attitude towards the subject.
b) medical causes: Doubt can also come from any number of medical factors, including internal conditions such as manic depressive states or diabetes on the one hand, or externally prompted conditions caused by the consumption of alcohol or other types of drugs. To be sure, it is frequently not an easy matter to decide which of such factors are internally or externally motivated. But while the central cause is medical in nature, doubts which originate in this manner manifest themselves in chiefly emotional patterns. The lesson here concerns the needed input of the medical community on various issues surrounding the treatment of doubts.
c) faulty view of God: To have a wrong concept of God can be very instrumental in the formulation of doubt. And, of course, while it could be argued that no believer would have a perfect view of God, some specific patterns of thought are potentially more harmful than others. For instance, to believe that God does not answer prayers, especially during times of stress or that He is morally responsible for pain will frequently lead to constant personal crises. So if assurance depends on our view of God and His faithfulness, then this is certainly an area which needs constant cultivation and development in the believer’s life.
d) childhood problems: Experiences which one undergoes in his younger years can have a profound affect on later doubt. For example, child abuse in various forms can make it very difficult for one to accept God’s love. People struggle with how God could ever love them; it is very difficult to convince them otherwise.
e) old wounds: Somewhat related to the previous type of doubt derived from childhood problems, this variety is caused by painful situations throughout life. Breaking up with a lover, the death of a loved one or the betrayal of a friend are examples of wounds which could cause a person to wonder if he can fully trust God. In many respects the results of such questioning are similar to that in the former category.
f) judging by feelings: A very common problem, especially with Christians who lack assurance of salvation, comes from reactions based on one’s feelings. “Sometimes I don’t feel saved” or “I don’t have the same feeling which I used to” are regular fare for the counselor. In fact, the feeling that Christianity might not be true after all may besiege all believers at some point.
g) need for attention: In some cases, the expression of doubt is most obviously due to the need for friendship and love, often from one who feels that these are somehow lacking in his own life. The doubt could certainly be real, but the need for companionship attention and love could be even greater, to the point where the problem never seems to get solved.
h) lack of sleep: A commonly overlooked cause of doubt can sometimes be remedied as simply as getting a normal amount of sleep. A biblical example here is Elijah, who, when he experienced depression, laid down to sleep. After Elijah had rested, an angel recommended food (I Kings 19:4-6).
i) peer pressure: It has long been thought that one of the categories of doubt which is seldom mentioned but is extremely important is the pressure exerted on believers to be more moderate in their views. This assault is not a frontal attack, but is one which can continue to build up to quite a persuasive drone in its call to stop believing old “wives tales” in favor of “modern” approaches. To be more like our peers is often a desire which is difficult not to heed, at least in part. In fact the belief (whether true or false) that few other intelligent persons hold our position can produce devastating results, especially over a period of time. The doubt which is produced generally professes no new facts, just the same old temptations to change.
j) Christian hypocrisy: Doubt can sometimes be caused by observing the beliefs and actions of fellow believers. Religious wars, persecutions, inquisitions and questionable stances on such issues as “slavery, race, war, women’s rights, and social justice” are examples of the potentially offensive beliefs and behaviors of Christians which can, in turn, cause doubts.
k) forgiven sin: The fear that one’s sins have not really been forgiven is a cause for doubt in many believers. More specifically, the idea that one has committed the unpardonable sin so that one cannot be forgiven strikes even more fear in the hearts of others. So while such quandaries can have factual ramifications, they perhaps more frequently are manifested in emotional terms. And while a good exegesis of relevant Scripture portions may certainly be called for as a crucially important part of the cure, the emotional elements will frequently have to be dealt with, as well.
l) anxiety about the future: It is not enough for Christians to be worried about the present. To be honest, anxiety concerning the unknown future has probably been a cause for fear in most believers at some time or another. For some, it is manifested in the query as to whether they can really “hold out” until the end. Again, a study of the Scripture and perhaps some treatment of the emotional portion is needed in order to show that this fear is misplaced.
m) judgment and Hell: Even in believers one frequently encounters the uncertainty that, after all, perhaps it is still the case that one could have done everything that the Bible requires for salvation (as far as one knows) but still be sent to Hell. If informal surveys can be trusted at all, this fear is very widely experienced by many Christians at least at some time. And, as in the cases of the previous two types of fear, both Scriptural exegesis and treatment of the emotional factors may be required.
So, there you have it. As you can see there are many different types of doubt, all of which can be dealt with through continued prayer and faith in our Lord. God is always there for you and will relieve any anxiety you might have. From A to Z in doubts, God has got your back. So, let go of your doubts today and believe God’s word for you. He loves you that much.