The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Pastor Jim Nichols
Sidney Seventh-Day Adventist Church 

"I choose to refuse to doubt"

 


How many are familiar with the book, “Pilgrim’s Progress?”

Written in the latter part of the 1600s, Paul Bunyan portrays an allegorical account of “Christianity.” I’m reminded of one of the most exciting events in the book when Christian, and his friend Hopeful, are both captured by the cruel tyrant, Giant Despair, and taken to his Doubting Castle, where they are imprisoned, beaten and starved.

As they endure the uncertain ordeal, Christian realizes that a key he has, called Promise, will open the doors of the castle and free them from all their insecurity. So, using the key and the Giant’s weakness, they escape the massive gates of Doubting Castle to continue their journey to the Celestial City.

How many times have we found ourselves captive to doubt and unbelief, leaving us feeling uncertain, insecure, and sometimes in spiritual despair? I believe God’s promises, like the key in Christian’s hand, can act like a vaccine to prevent spiritual illness or act as an antidote to cure all our doubts and insecurities.

The Book of Hebrews exposes this human condition of doubt and unbelief and offers us Jesus and faith as the spiritual medicine, given to us by God, in order to prevent this sickness of sin, doubt and despair. Hebrews 11, well known as the faith chapter, talks about believing as the spiritual vaccine for doubt. Verse 6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”

After presenting a list of all the well known faithful believers like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and many unknown believers, Paul concludes his talk about faith in Hebrews 12:1,2, and includes us in his appeal. “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I believe, at the top of the list of things that hinder us and beset us most, are doubt and unbelief. Jesus has overcome all these things, and is at the right hand of God ready to give us “all things that pertain unto life and godliness ... through his exceeding great and precious promises.”(2 Peter 1:2-4) he assures us victory if we will only believe in him and what he has done for us.

Jesus is the God of all the promises and he wants all of us to believe in him as our Savior and Lord, and believe in him as our sustainer and provider. I believe that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament; the great “I Am” is the one who says to us today, “I Will.”

Jesus comes to us saying, “I am the bread of life,” therefore I will supply all your need. “I am the true vine,” therefore I will provide for your spiritual growth. “I am the shepherd,” therefore I will lead you. “I am the light of the world.” therefore I will guide you in the darkness. “I am the door,” therefore I will open up my understanding to you. “I am the resurrection,” therefore I will come again and will raise you from the dead. Jesus says to us, “let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me;” “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world;” The life of a Christian is the life of a believer in God’s promises, not a doubter.

Jesus taught faith. He taught his disciples to believe and not doubt. John 20 records the unbelief of the disciples, specifically doubting Thomas, after his resurrection. Thomas said, “Unless … I will not believe,” Jesus answered him and said, “Be not faithless, but believing … blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20 ends with these words, “And many other signs did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book … but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God; and that believing, ye might have life through his name.”

So, what are we going to do with our doubts and insecurities? I say that we exercise the free will that God has given us, accept the faith that he measures out to each of us and believe that he is and that he is the rewarder of them who diligently seek him. Say with me, “I believe Jesus is the Christ, and I can have life through him, therefore I choose to refuse to doubt.”

Pastor Jim Nichols

Sidney Seventh-Day Adventist Church

 

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