Faith Comes From the Lord

Lately, I've been wrestling a lot with doubt. This past week my best friend from high school was visiting from Utah and he and his wife are very active members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I desperately want my friend and his wife to know the real Jesus but in an effort to help my friend see the shortcomings of his own faith, I've come out of that week with a lot of doubt. Now, I firmly believe it's healthy doubt, and that doubt in the Christian life is normal and oftentimes good (if handled safely). But all that to say, I thought I'd share some of my findings from some critical evaluation of my faith.

1. Doubt grows us.
I firmly believe that doubt uniquely places each of us in a position to lean on other believers and to lean on Jesus. It helps us to see that we aren't self sufficient. In these ways, doubt grows us, it is even seen in scripture. We need God to help our unbelief (Mark 9:21-24). We can't trust our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-8). We are blessed because we believe without seeing Jesus (John 20:24-29). We can expect to receive mercy from other believers when we doubt (Jude 22).

2. There's a difference between a contradiction in scripture and a variation in scripture.
Some of my recent doubt has arisen from varying numbers from the same event in Kings and Chronicles. But what I've learned through the help of our Elders is that, just like in the accounts of the genealogy of Jesus, the differences in fact coexist. In the case of the apparent genealogy discrepancy often cited by atheists, the argument is made that the two accounts of Jesus' genealogy are contrary to one another. While it's true these accounts are different in content, this is simply because one account is Joseph's lineage and the other is Mary's. This is a variation not a contradiction, and this is common amongst different accounts of the same story. In fact, it helps us see the bigger picture and, honestly, testifies even further to the inherency of scripture.

3. "In the end, even in the midst of doubt, what matters is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith." (Paraphrased from Matt Chandler)
Our faith can be as small as a mustard seed and we can still have relationship with Jesus (Matthew 13:31-32). Here's what it all comes down to, and it's the best news I've ever received, FAITH DOESN'T COME FROM US. It comes from God, and it's a gift. That's why mustard seed faith works, because the decision is from the Lord not from us!
So if you hear anything today hear this: Doubt is forgivable, unbelief is not (Matthew 12:31-32). Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and know that it's He who saves, He who gives faith, and He who forgives our sins. We don't have to earn it, it's a gift!

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