1. WHAT TO DO WITH DOUBT
a. When doubt confronts us, what can we do to address it? Psalm 37:3–7.
“Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith.”—Steps to Christ, p. 105.
b. Why will we not be able to answer every question or resolve every uncertainty? Isaiah 55:8, 9.
“If it were possible for created beings to attain to a full understanding of God and His works, then, having reached this point, there would be for them no further discovery of truth, no growth in knowledge, no further development of mind or heart. God would no longer be supreme; and man, having reached the limit of knowledge and attainment, would cease to advance. Let us thank God that it is not so.”—Ibid., p.109.
2. SOLUTIONS TO DOUBT
a. How important is it to ask questions and develop our mind intellectually as far as possible? Proverbs 4:7. What example did Jesus provide? Luke 2:52.
“Under the controlling influence of Christ, the human intellect can achieve wonderful things. The youth should be encouraged to reach the highest standard of intellectual acquirement. If the fear and knowledge of God are made first, there is no danger that the student will soar too high. The knowledge of God, the understanding of His will in His word, as far as human minds may grasp it, incorporated into the thoughts and woven into the character, will make efficient men and women. The study of the word of God will enable us to do His work intelligently and acceptably. The mind will be enriched, enlarged, and broadened. Those who thus constantly study the Word will go upward and forward toward the highest standard, because they are partakers of the divine nature.”—The Youth’s Instructor, August 31, 1899.
b. What is necessary in finding answers to our questions? James 1:5–8.
“Many look to their ministers to bring the light from God to them, seeming to think this a cheaper way than to be to the trouble of going to God for it themselves. Such lose much. If they would daily follow Christ and make Him their guide and counselor, they might obtain a clear knowledge of His will, and thus be gaining a valuable experience. For want of this very experience, brethren professing the truth walk in the sparks of others’ kindling; they are unacquainted with the Spirit of God and have not a knowledge of His will, and are therefore easily moved from their faith. They are unstable, because they trusted in others to obtain an experience for them. Ample provisions have been made for every son and daughter of Adam to obtain individually a knowledge of the divine will, to perfect Christian character, and to be purified through the truth. God is dishonored by that class who profess to be followers of Christ and yet have no experimental knowledge of the divine will or of the mystery of godliness.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 644.
3. REJECTING UNBIBLICAL TRADITIONS
a. What must be separated from our personal understanding of God’s message? Mark 7:6–9.
“The Bible is the rule of life, teaching us of the character we must form for the future, immortal life. Our faith, our practice, may make us living epistles, known and read of all men. Men need not the dim light of tradition and custom to make the Scriptures comprehensible. It is just as sensible to suppose that the sun, shining in the heavens at noon-day, needs the glimmerings of the torchlight of earth to increase its glory. The fables or the utterances of priests or of ministers are not needed to save the student from error. Consult the divine Oracle, and you have light. In the Bible every duty is made plain, every lesson is comprehensible, able to fit men with a preparation for eternal life. The gift of Christ and the illumination of the Holy Spirit reveal to us the Father and the Son. The word is exactly adapted to make men and women and youth wise unto salvation. In the word is the science of salvation plainly revealed. . . . ‘Search the Scriptures,’ for therein is the counsel of God, the voice of God speaking to the soul.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 390, 391.
“Man’s authority bears the signature of man. We are not to permit the rank and file of our people to come under the generalship of the weak, confused sentiments of man. God’s authority is to stand supreme. And I must call upon His people to recognize His authority, which bears the evidence of its divine origin.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, p. 69.
b. When we place tradition above the Word of God, what will we be led to do? Matthew 23:23.
“When fastings and prayers are practiced in a self-justifying spirit, they are abominable to God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposed sacrifice—all proclaim to the world the testimony that the doer of these things considers himself righteous. These things call attention to the observer of rigorous duties, saying, This man is entitled to heaven. But it is all a deception. Works will not buy for us an entrance into heaven. The one great Offering that has been made is ample for all who will believe.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 388.
4. PERSONAL CONVICTION: A PROTECTION AGAINST DOUBT
a. How can we know the way to heaven? John 14:6; 6:63; 8:31, 32. On the other hand, how will many of us lose heaven?
“My heart is sad when I think how many will miss the way to heaven because they did not study the guide God has given them. There is no possible arrangement whereby these souls can be saved who, having the voice of God speaking to them in His Word, have not interest sufficient to search and become acquainted with the directions God has given them, pointing out the only path that leads heavenward. Well may the apostle ask, ‘How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3). Our youth should be presented with a pledge to sign that they will not touch idle tales, but that they will make diligent search of the Scriptures, that they will give their minds the most nourishing, wholesome food, in order to become strong in contemplating the works of Christ who became surety for the fallen race.”—The Youth’s Instructor, August 31, 1887.
b. What should we ask of God to protect us from doubting? Psalm 139:23, 24.
“Let us look closely and critically to ourselves. Are not the vows we entered into at our baptism violated? Are we dead to the world and alive unto Christ? Are we seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God? Is the cable cut which anchored us to the eternal Rock? Are we drifting with the current to perdition? Shall we make no effort to press and urge our passage up stream? Let us not hesitate longer but vigorously apply the oars; and let us do our first works ere we make hopeless shipwreck.”—The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.
“Submit your heart to be refined and purified; then you will become a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then you will ‘be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear’ (1 Peter 3:15). The peace of Christ will be yours.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 333.
5. THE CHANGE WE NEED
a. What will our experience be like when we overcome doubting? Matthew 21:21, 22.
“Through faith in Christ, every deficiency of character may be supplied, every defilement cleansed, every fault corrected, every excellency developed.
“ ‘Ye are complete in him’ (Colossians 2:10).
“Prayer and faith are closely allied, and they need to be studied together. In the prayer of faith there is a divine science; it is a science that everyone who would make his lifework a success must understand. Christ says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them’ (Mark 11:24). He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal.”—Education, pp. 257, 258.
b. What will our attitude be towards our fellow believers? John 17:20, 21.
“Those who are fighting the battles for the Prince of life must point their weapons of warfare outward, and not form a hollow square and aim their missiles of destruction at those who are serving under the banner of the Prince Emmanuel. We have no time for wounding and tearing down one another.”—Christ Triumphant, p. 235.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why does God allow the possibility of doubt?
2. What is our own responsibility in removing doubt?
3. What is a common source of doubt?
4. How can we overcome all doubt?
5. What will be the result of being free from doubt?