Lesson 12: Three Steps to Ditching Doubt

Struggling with sin can be discouraging. As we continue to seek to become like Jesus, we often fail, and these failures make us question: What am I missing? Why can’t I understand how to be like Jesus?

These questions are natural. This doesn’t mean, however, that they aren’t without danger. The way in which we handle these questions can have everything to do with our success in overcoming, or our lack thereof.

Thankfully, dealing with doubt is very simple. It only takes three steps:

  • Focus on Jesus
  • Follow the light you already have
  • Test God’s promises

Step 1: Focus on Jesus

One reason doubt is so dangerous is because it leads us to take our eyes off Jesus, the only One who can fill our hearts with more love for Him than for the sin that holds us in chains. Remember Peter walking on the sea? When did he start sinking? When he took his eyes off Jesus (Matthew 14:22-32).

But how do we stay focused on Jesus?

It’s very simple: Learn to see every doubt as an invitation to talk to Jesus.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

“In every difficulty we are to see a call to prayer” (Desire of Ages, 667).

As we learn to habitually take our doubts to Jesus in prayer, our misgivings will be turned into blessings, constant reminders of our need of Jesus and of His mercy and love for us!

Step 2: Follow the Light You Already Have

God never allows anything to come upon us which He has not made provision for us to meet. However, sometimes we forget to use the lessons He’s already taught us, and instead worry about the things we don’t understand.

Worrying about what we don’t understand is unproductive. Would you try to teach someone long division who wasn’t yet comfortable with addition? Of course not. Knowing how to add is necessary to being able to do long division.

Too often we expect God to do the spiritual equivalent of teaching us long division before we’ve mastered addition. God meets us where we are. He never skips a step. He teaches us what we need to know now in order to be able to understand the things He wants to teach us later. Don’t fight the process. Listen to what He’s saying to you now. Follow the light He’s given you today.

Step 3: Test God’s Promises

God has given us many promises to claim when we find ourselves struggling with doubt:

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3, 4).

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).

These are just three of the literally hundreds of promises that God has given us in His Word. When you find yourself struggling with some doubt or temptation, find a promise that speaks specifically to that doubt. Memorize it, and whenever you are tempted with that doubt, quote the promise, choosing to believe God’s Word instead of the doubting thought. Move forward as one already in possession of the promise. That is what it means to claim the promise.

God’s promises cannot fail! They will be fulfilled to everyone who claims them, trusting in God to fulfill them (1 John 5:14, 15; 2 Peter 1:4).

Conclusion

A friend once told me a story about his baby nephew. His nephew loves playing inside the kitchen cabinets. My friend would often find his nephew trying to drink the colorful cleaning liquids inside the cabinets. When he would take the bottles away, his little nephew would start crying. His nephew thought that he was trying to ruin his fun! How could his uncle be so mean?

Of course, we know that if his nephew had succeeded in drinking cleaning liquid, he would have needed to go to the hospital. But his nephew didn’t know that. His only thought was, How could something so colorful and pretty be harmful?

Just like my friend’s nephew, we can’t understand right now why our heavenly Father does this and doesn’t do that.

When you’re tempted to doubt Him, remember the three steps: Focus on Jesus, follow the light you already have, and test God’s promises.

Remember: God loves you. He will make everything clear in His time.

Activity: Arm Yourself

Memorize the following texts. By claiming God’s promises, your faith will be strengthened to resist Satan through God’s strength.

“There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).