Are you a Christian? If so, the battle for your faith is raging, and doubt, disillusionment, and discouragement are the weapons Satan employs to distract and detour you in your walk with God.
At some level, the battle for your faith is ongoing. If you yield to his tactics, Satan receives glory, for your unbelief will affect others. Think of how the ten spies faltered in their faith and infected the entire nation of Israel with fear in Numbers 13. Your faith can strengthen others by your testimony, just as your unbelief can weaken them. Our spirituality, or lack thereof, is contagious.
The book of Jude tells us “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). We must keep our doctrine pure, and we must grow in our faith in the truth. In fighting this battle, it helps to know our enemy and to recognize his tactics.
Doubt can arise from two sources. Some people are troubled by intellectual attacks on biblical truth. When cynical scholars are quoted, it is important to remember that the secular press highlights the skeptical voices while ignoring the best scholarship. Be wise and be prepared for those attacks and be prepared to answer them with truth.
The other source of doubt is more subjective—it is personal. When things do not go as planned, sometimes we lose confidence in God’s providential control. This happened to the disciples in the storm on the Sea of Galilee recorded in Matthew 8. An unexpected tempest arose, causing the boat to be covered with waves. The disciples were distraught as Jesus slept through the storm. His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”
Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves, and the sea became calm. In the middle of a storm, our inclination is also to panic just as the disciples did—and the fear may instill doubt. It may be a momentary questioning. While natural, these human responses are unworthy of faith. If we allow these doubts to linger, they will grow into disillusionment.
Disillusionment is a terrible state of mind to be avoided at all costs. When we become disillusioned, it implies we once had a great dream or love or passion or goal that was never real to begin with—it was an illusion. We were tricked or fooled, and we are giving up on the illusion. We are dis-illusioning ourselves. This often happens in a marriage. At first, we are carried along by the euphoria of “being in love.” But as time goes by, we see one another’s faults and disillusionment may set in. Many marriages have collapsed because people did not know how to turn disillusionment into determination; instead, they turned disillusion into discouragement and defeat.
The same thing can happen in our Christian walk of faith. God moves in mysterious ways, and at times His leading is obscured from our understanding. If we begin doubting our Lord, doubt will grow into disillusionment, and often leads to discouragement.
Discouragement is the collapse of our courage, of our faith, and of our stamina. While everyone experiences times of discouragement, the Bible takes an unusually hard line against giving in to discouragement. Perhaps you are discouraged now. Your doubt and disillusionment have ripened into discouragement. It is normal to feel discouraged, but it’s unwise to stay that way. We have to fight back, and our weapon is found in Scripture.
Read these words as though God were speaking them personally to you: The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged…. Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:9; HCSB).
In your battle of faith, stay focused on the basics. Remember your basic training: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Keep your eyes focused on the Victor and your mind filled with His Word.
Remember the battle cry of 1 John 5:4, And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, and the founder and host of Turning Point for God broadcast ministry. For more information about Turning Point and Dr. Jeremiah, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.
As you read Christ Above All, Dr. Jeremiah’s study of Colossians, you’ll come to better know who Jesus is theologically. In other words, the truth about Him—the whole truth and nothing but the truth—will thrill you. Our minds need solid doctrine so we’ll have a solid relationship with Christ, built on personal reverence for Him and friendship with Him.