Can Struggling and Doubt Ever Be Beneficial?

Greg shares how struggling and doubt can lead to growth in the life of a Christian.



00:05 So here's a question: Can struggling and doubt ever be beneficial? Okay, two

00:14 separate things actually, struggling and doubt, and the answer is "yes" to both.

00:19 First, the reason this comes up is because people struggle, and they doubt.

00:25 That is, people who are Christians engage in things in life that are hard and

00:31 sometimes the hardness that they have to face causes them to doubt. Okay, totally

00:37 understandable. Sometimes it's harder than it ought to

00:41 be because there's a false expectation about the way life is supposed to be as

00:45 a Christian, and we have to remember that Jesus said, "In this world you have

00:51 tribulation," and the tribulation is a good thing. It's the kind of thing that

00:55 God uses, for one, to train us, to develop us. Says in 1 Peter chapter 2 that, "As

01:03 Jesus suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves for the same purpose." In

01:10 chapter 4 Peter says, "Why are you surprised at this fiery ordeal amongst

01:18 you as if something strange were happening to you?" This isn't odd, this is

01:22 ordinary. Hebrews I think maybe chapter 1 or 2 says that Jesus learned obedience

01:27 through the things which He suffered. So the idea of struggling as a Christian, as

01:34 somebody who is behind the enemy lines, who was a stranger in a strange world, is

01:39 standard for Christianity, and it is that struggle that God uses to conform us to

01:47 the image of His son. That's just the way God raises children, okay. Hebrews 12, "All

01:53 discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful, but

02:00 afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness," okay? So, set your mind

02:08 on this: If you're gonna be a follower of Christ in this world, it's gonna be hard.

02:13 You're gonna get challenges from the world, and God is going to allow you to

02:18 go through those challenges so that He can conform you, as He's promised, to the

02:24 image of His son. That's Romans 8. "We know that God causes all things to work for

02:32 good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. For

02:35 those whom He foreknew He predestined to become conformed to the image of His son."

02:42 By the way, that's the way that God is gonna work all things for good, okay, in

02:47 your life. So this is standard Christian living. Don't be caught by surprise by it,

02:50 okay? And if you understand that, you're gonna have less reason to doubt. Now what

02:55 about the doubt part? Is that bad? No, everybody doubts. Everybody – I doubt. I have

03:03 questions that come up in my own mind and there are times when I wonder, "Gee, am

03:07 I going down the right path here, or am I just wishing on a star?" Now I'll tell you

03:13 as time has gone on I have less, fewer and fewer doubts, but it's still a

03:17 standard part of Christianity. Can that be beneficial? Of course, if you're not

03:21 overwhelmed by doubt, because you've sought out answers regarding the things

03:29 that you doubt then that doubt can lead to stronger conviction. If you're left

03:36 alone in the midst of your suffering and you don't understand that God has

03:40 ordained difficulty for your good, you might think that God has abandoned you,

03:45 and maybe there is no God at all, and if you have nobody else around you that can

03:49 help encourage you, and love you, and pray for you, and give you reasons why the

03:55 confidence that we have in Christ is well grounded, then it could be a tough

04:00 situation, which is all the more reason why everybody - every church, every

04:05 community, every Christian, ought to be familiar on some level with apologetics.

04:09 That's what we do at Stand to Reason. So struggle and doubt, can they be useful?

04:15 Sure. Struggle's ordinary that makes you like Jesus as you respond to God. Doubt

04:20 comes for everybody. The answers are there. You get the answers, you get the

04:27 evidence, doubt can turn into stronger conviction.


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Greg Koukl