How do I deal with my lack of faith in God? I have always been confident that I am a Christian up until now. It’s confusing for me because I am certain that I could never believe that this world was created by chance, yet every time I see books or articles with arguments against the Bible, I can’t stop thinking about it. I don’t want to read arguments against the Bible because I don’t want it to damage my faith even more, except that feeling of doubt isn’t going away. I want to have the confidence that other Christians have, but it’s hard for me to know if I’m even a Christian if I am struggling like this.
I am happy to answer this important question because it relates so well to my own experience. I was converted when I was in my mid-teens and went one year to a small Christian college soon after high school. That was a pleasant (and, I think, profitable) time in my life, but it did not do much in regards to challenging me in matters of faith. I then took the rest of my under-graduate training at a much larger secular university. It was there in my first year (now second year university) that I was challenged beyond anything I expected. I, too, became very confused, having to sort out contradictory ideas, and for probably half the school year I became quite discouraged in my walk with the Lord. I wondered for a time if I was ever going to see any light at the end of that dark tunnel.
I would never wish such an experience on anyone else, of course, and yet now, as I look back on it, I would not trade it for any other trial I have had. It taught me three important lessons, and these lessons have been a great help and encouragement to me throughout my life and many years of ministry. As I tell you about them, please weigh each one carefully. My prayer is that the Lord will give you to conquer your doubts and cause you to grow in faith from strength to strength.
1. Read the Bible More, Not Less
This was a time when the Lord taught me that, if I am starting to question the Bible, I need to read it more – not less. The Word of God itself tells us to do that, and how those who do are richly rewarded. Read Psalm 119:9-16. Read also Philippians 4:4-9. Whenever any Christian is going through a difficult time, whatever it may be about, this is a time to let his requests be made known to God in prayer, to meditate on the things of His Word, and to discover how the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard his heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
2. Live Out God’s Word, Don’t Just Know It
This was a time also when I learned even more than before that it was not enough to know God’s Word intellectually, so that I could stand my ground and answer the questions of atheists, but that I needed to live it out in my life as well. The unbeliever should see something in the lives of God’s people that he does not have, something that he may well want for himself. Read Colossians 3:16,17. We should also be so completely devoted to Christ that, when he asks regarding our hope, we are ready to tell him with meekness (showing respect for him) and fear (showing reverence to God). Read 1 Peter 3:15.
3. Confront Your Questions, Don’t Avoid Them
This third lesson was the one that surprised me most of all. I will tell you a little secret which those who hate God and His Word do not want you to know. (It may well be, in fact, that you are the one who must reveal it to them.) What is it? Their arguments are not very good, and most of them, with a bit of thought, are easily answered! Believer, never back away from the taunts of those who attack your faith and challenge you to answer. Confront them, rather, and deal with them one by one. Do this, as I say, with meekness and godly fear. Some of their questions may require a bit of extra study on your part, so tell them that you will get back to them, and be sure to do that as soon as you can. This will not damage your faith, but it may well be the means God uses to bring your adversaries to faith. It will not increase your doubts, but, over time – as you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ – it will increase your faith and make the Lord Jesus more precious to you than He ever was before. Read 1 Peter 1:1-10.