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There was a time in my life when my faith was wavering. It concerned me. I knew I didn’t want to lose it. So, I went to work on it. After dealing with and studying the challenge for some time, I came to this conclusion: for one to maintain and grow in faith, that one must diligently and regularly study the word of God, believe it and live it. The following two passages from Scripture confirm the source of faith and how to maintain it. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. KJV Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. NIV James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds (works KJV) is dead. NIV BELIEVE THE WORD OF GOD AND LIVE IT. Live a life of LOVE and SERVICE to others. A practical exercise one might do to help avoid “doubt” is: keep a prayer journal. Record your requests and thanksgivings, and the answers/results. From time to time, reflect on your journal entries. Note how God keeps His promises. Of course, this implies that one must continue daily to read and study the word of God in order to know His promises. I recently received these two thoughts from SermonQuotes.com: ”I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” “Even though you may not understand how God works, you know He does.” In closing, as Jesus said to Thomas, “.... blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 NIV Blessings, Matthew 5:1-11
Maybe you can "avoid being a doubting Thomas," and maybe it's not quite that simple. What did Thomas have trouble believing? Jn 20:25 So the other disciples told him, We've seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe." ESV. Thomas says essentially, 'I need to see Him for myself; and not only that, I want to inspect His wounds to make sure that it's Him.' He didn't want to see Jesus on TV or hear His voice on the radio, he wanted to touch the Lord and be sure that it's really Him. Is that unreasonable? After all, he saw Jesus beaten and nailed to a cross. He saw Him speared in the side (Jn 19:34), and His blood spilled out of His body. He saw Him placed in a tomb and the tomb sealed with a large stone. How could He now be alive and walking around? Also, why didn't Jesus appear to him? (That would be the question many would struggle with. "Why y'all and not me?") Another consideration is, who did Thomas not believe? Jesus had said many times that he'd return in three days after being dead. He didn't just tell them He would return "some day," like He told them and us, after His resurrection and ascension. He said "after 3 days." The "other disciples" went back to doing what they did before they met Jesus, they weren't hanging out at the tomb waiting for Him to rise from the dead. Did Thomas have a good reason to not believe these other preachers? If a pastor (your pastor) told you that he or she has seen Jesus, that He's back for the second time, would you take his or her word for it, or would you ask for proof? I think Thomas was saying that he wanted what the others had received; he wanted to be reunited with Jesus. Did he really think his compadres were lying to him? He said he wanted to touch Jesus. Another question: These guys have proof positive that Jesus is the Christ, the first born from the dead. They believe He is who He said He was before He was crucified. Have they been born of the Holy Spirit? Luke records in Acts 1 that before He ascended He gave commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles. He ordered them to "wait for the promise... you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses."(vs 8). It doesn't seem that they had the Spirit when they first believed, or they only had a head knowledge of the truth and not the indwelling Spirit of new birth "faith," the faith that the Spirit gives. I think Thomas was looking for that. I don't think saving faith is a result of simply believing that Jesus is the Christ. I don't think saving faith is proved by your lifestyle either. I think saving faith is proved by the trust that a sinner has in Jesus, that only Jesus can wash the stain of sin away. I believe the thief on the cross with Jesus showed that kind of faith in whom he thought Jesus was. He sounded sure that Jesus was on His way to His kingdom. Jesus is on the cross half dead, and the thief says "When you come into your kingdom, (don't forget about me) remember me." Did he think he was talking to a dying man? It doesn't sound like it. How can we avoid unbelief? (You can clean it up by calling it doubt, but it's old fashioned unbelief; Remember: we say Thomas "doubted," he said he "didn't believe.") I think I know, I experienced it for most of my upbringing, being raised by a pastor, in the church since I can't remember, and that's a mighty long time to be caught between two opinions 1Kings 18:21). James said by receiving the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (Jas 1:21) He added something about our sins being "filthiness and wickedness." That would have gotten James censored on Got Questions if he was that blunt.
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