When we find ourselves doubting something, there is a sense of uncertainty, not knowing if the thing is true or false. The Bible likens this attitude to “double-mindedness” (James 1:6–8). Double-minded thinking results in a person’s beliefs always changing, never coming to a determined conviction. A mind that constantly doubts Jesus and what He teaches will never be at peace because, like a ship in the middle of a storm, it is tossed to and fro with no hope of rest.
Doubting Jesus and faith are in direct opposition. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” When Christians have a healthy faith, they have “assurance” and “conviction.” They are sure of faith’s object, even though they have not seen the evidence with their eyes.
Jesus said all believers must become “like children” in order to inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). Childlike faith differs from a doubting faith in that children are trusting and ready to receive whatever they ask for without questions or fear. When a parent makes a promise, a child naturally believes. He does not worry about whether or not the parent will follow through (unless the parent has made a habit of deceit or unreliability). Even when parents tell absurdities like tales of the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, how readily a child believes! Perhaps the child’s faith is partly because he wants to believe such wondrous things, but it is mostly because he easily trusts the parent. When a child lays his head down to sleep, he doesn’t worry or fret or become anxious about what tomorrow will bring; his sleep is sound and deep. Jesus wants us to trust Him with the heart of a child and without the skepticism of an adult.
So how does a Christian become childlike in faith and stop doubting Jesus? First of all, by remembering God is our Heavenly Father (John 1:12; Romans 8:15). God wants to be known to His children as a loving, compassionate, ever-present, never-wavering parent (1 John 3:1). The Bible calls believers God’s “sons” (meaning daughters also) numerous times (e.g., Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:14; Galatians 4:7). If Christians know they are children of God, having been adopted into His family, it ought to help them gain the childlike faith Jesus spoke of. Our Father in heaven desires to “give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11). The best thing to know about God as Father is that He is perfect, with none of the sinful shortcomings that accompany human parenthood. All of God’s attributes are perfect, and, even when He disciplines His children, it’s because He loves them (Hebrews 12:6–8).
Second, consider who Jesus is: the express revelation of God Himself (Hebrews 1:3; John 14:9–11). “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me,” Jesus said (John 14:1). Jesus’ trustworthiness was validated by the testimony of the Father (John 8:18) and confirmed by the miracles He did (John 14:11).
Third, in order to stop doubting Jesus, a Christian must constantly recall the cross (Hebrews 12:2). When a believer meditates on what Christ did as our Redeemer, he will see how deep and strong Jesus’ love is for His sheep (John 10:11; Ephesians 3:17–19). If Jesus was willing to go to the cross and die a horrible death on our behalf, would He withhold anything else that would be good for us (see Psalm 84:11)?
The natural mind tends to doubt and fear and question what the Bible says rather than simply believe. To overcome doubt, a Christian should continually seek God through Bible study and prayer. He should commit to a local body of believers to be fed by biblical preaching and have fellowship with like-minded believers. In this way, the doubtful mind can and will become increasingly stable, Jesus-focused, and able to find peace (Isaiah 26:3).