Stop Doubting and Believe

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Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe!” – John 20:27

From this verse comes so many cliches we’ve heard over the centuries. We read about “Doubting Thomas”, someone who refuses to believe without direct personal experience. Thomas seemed to be the ultimate pessimist amongst the disciples. After the crucifixion and resurrection, he isn’t with the rest of the disciples when Jesus first appears to them. The rest of the disciples go off in search of him and when they tell him of the encounter, he doesn’t believe;

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” – John 20:25

Unless he has a personal and physical experience he is not believing it. This despite having followed with Jesus and seen his many miracles, he still will not believe a second-hand account, even from his closest of friends.

Don’t we over and over again, act just like Him. I know I do. I see God’s work in my life over and over again, from the small seemingly minor “God Moments” that seem to happen almost daily, to the miracles we see Him work in lives throughout the world. I know sometimes it takes a physical reminder of God’s presence to help us to believe, but the more you open yourself to God and his working in your life, the more times you can trust that He is there, because of the repeated experiences of Him in the past.

Doubt often slows us down, takes us away from God and doesn’t allow us to move past it to continue to do what God has set before us. We will often miss great opportunities because doubt clouds our mind with fear of what “may” happen. But once you move past the doubt and realize that God is with us, either from a direct encounter or from remembering those past encounters we can be like Thomas and utter probably the greatest confession of faith in the entire Bible,

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” – John 20:28

To acknowledge that Jesus is your Lord and your God, is the high point of faith. If only we can do that without the season of doubt that we more than often go through.

Because Thomas had seen Jesus, he believed. Jesus says though, and I think this was more directed at future believers than anyone in that historical event;

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” – John 20:29

A lot of believers, if not all, back in that day, especially only a week after the resurrection would have seen Jesus physically either before or after his crucifixion. They would have been a spectator to his miracles and his teachings. It would have been easy to believe. Today, we don’t have the luxury of Jesus walking physically amongst us, but I contend that His teachings and his workings are very much evident all around us. We just need to have the faith to believe and see them and according to his promise we will be blessed.

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Decide to Believe

So often I read things on how I should act or think or believe and it makes perfect sense.  I know that if I just reacted a given way, my thoughts and feelings would move in the direction I should be moving.  Always easier said than done.

I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.  Instead, I do the very thing I hate. -Romans 7:15

As Christians, we need to decide to believe.  We want to understand everything, but God doesn’t always give us understanding, our mind then refuses to believe what it doesn’t understand.  I think that our minds are often bound up by the enemy to keep us from believing what we know to be true.

But God provides us help here too.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress.  For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. -Romans 8:26

I’ve talked about this verse before in one of my Bible Study Minutes.  It’s amazing to think that we have someone praying for us even when we don’t know we need prayed for.  Remember James 1:2-8 where we see we can ask God for  wisdom in trials and he will give it to us and show us what to do.