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Is the devil able to and make you doubt your faith?

Are there specific Biblical passages relating to this topic?

Sometimes I find myself doubting my faith when reading certain passages of the Bible, such as the beginning of Matthew (before Jesus gets his disciples) where Jesus seems more like a man than like God. A specific example is "What if Christianity is just a big hoax perpetrated by ancient people?"

I try to race these thoughts out of my mind and I try not to dwell on them, but is the devil able to give me such doubts or is he powerless to intervene in my relationship between me and God? The only other alternative seem to be that there are signs of my lack of faith, hinting that I am not truly saved.

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You're right that this does have applications beyond your own person. The problem is there is a wide disagreement on the difference, or if there even is one between the two sides your naming. Is there perhaps a way that you could narrow this down to that answers are testable against a denomination, theological point of view or some kind of interpretive frame work? –  wax eagle Jul 22 '13 at 2:18
    
If you ask for an evangelical point of view i will tell you about doubt, how birds fly over your head but its your job not to let the nest there and how you can have faith in your heart while having doubt in your head just dont speak it, the scriptures themself ask the question what if the dead be not raised so your thoughts are absolutely normal and consistent with the scripture nothing to worry about. :) –  caseyr547 Jul 22 '13 at 2:23
    
@waxeagle I have updated the question as best as I could. Is this better? –  Ovi Jul 22 '13 at 2:31
    
@caseyr547 Thanks for your comforting answer. But do you know any specific Biblical passages that deal with this? –  Ovi Jul 22 '13 at 2:32
    
@Ovi yep, reopened. I'd still suggest taking a bit more time to consider whethere there is a specific theological movement that interests you for further questions. It's hard to ask good questions here if you can't set a proper frame for them. –  wax eagle Jul 22 '13 at 2:32

3 Answers 3

John 8:44 states that the devil is "a liar, and the father of it" meaning the one who started all lying. Lies are things that are not true. Doubt would be that ground where we feel like we are wavering or considering two positions, one of which is true and one of which is false (a lie).

In 1 Kings 22:21-22, a spirit proposed to cause the downfall of Ahab by being a lying spirit in the mouth of his prophets. In Genesis, the serpent lied to Eve. So devils can lie to us directly or through other people.

You cannot be forced to believe a lie. But a lie may be presented to you in idea form or through other people. You may think about this lie and start to think, "what if this is true?"

Jesus met the postulates of the devil by using the word of God (Matthew 4). He did not ignore the questions, but He used the word of God to cut to the heart of the issues raised by the devil. So let's head in that direction.

You say that Jesus looks like just a man at the start of His life. The Bible calls Jesus both man (Matthew 25:31) and God (John 1:1). So if He is fully man and fully God, then we should expect Him to look like he was fully man. Especially at the beginning of His life. His ministry and revealing as the Christ did not start until after His baptism near age 30 (Luke 3:23). So we should expect Him to look like a normal human at first; Isaiah 53:2 states that "there is no beauty that we should desire him." He took on no human advantage, including good looks; there was nothing outwardly to distinguish him.

Now let's address the hoax idea. Hebrews 11:35-38 describes some of the things that people of faith have endured as a result of believing the Bible. Unbelievers do not dispute that the disciples were tortured and killed for their faith. Does it make sense that the disciples would all be willing to die for something they knew was not true? Would the leaders who did not believe bother to persecute them, if they could simply point to a dead body? If they stole the body, would not one of the disciples admit it to gain their life? What did they gain by creating this hoax? Severe persecution. Was the motive of the hoax to deceive or entertain? Would these people deceive Jesus' mother? If not, why would she be in on it? If your leader is dead, why not just go back to fishing, since that's how you made a living since before this all started?

If Christ is no more than a man, what is it about Him that drives unbelievers to use His name as a curse? What is so wrong about Him that makes men dead set against Him? Compare Christ with people's reactions against Him- who sounds more insane, Christ or those who rave against Him?

The reason I ask you to consider this is because faith is not what you believe about yourself; faith is what you believe about Christ. So look at the whole picture of Christ; who He was from beginning to end, what He did for people, and what He went through willingly, and what He said. When the Bible talks about the condition of the human heart, does it ring true in your life? How could a hoax pull that off? It even speaks the truth about the people who rail against it.

Doubts can come from ideas or experiences that challenge truths. From experience, knowing God's word and understanding His point of view more and more can help the idea-based doubts resolve themselves. Don't be afraid to examine an idea, and question the question!

For a circumstance-based doubt, it takes faith and patience to see the outworking of challenging circumstances and experiences (see Job).

Hope this helps.

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Thanks, this did help. But wouldn't questioning the question be "dwelling upon the doubt"? –  Ovi Jul 22 '13 at 16:07
    
Maybe. When I ignore a question though, the question always seems to come back to bug me. It seems like when I face the question and analyze it and apply a scriptural perspective to it, there is truth to be learned that is the antidote for the lie that is trying to get me to doubt. Seek and ye shall find. Have you ever had a doubt that just bugged you until you took it apart and found an answer? –  rguy Jul 22 '13 at 16:32

From the Temptation of Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-11), we can see 3 ways of temptation by Satan in order to introduce doubts in our faith.

  1. Ignoring the word of God: Satan told Jesus to turn the stones into bread. Satan always reminds us of our daily needs and make us worry over it instead of putting our faith in the Word of God. This introduces doubt in us over the importance of God's word in our daily life. As Jesus resisted the temptation by using the Word of God, we should also resist the temptation by meditating "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God".
  2. Doubting the power of God: Satan told Jesus to jump down from the temple to see whether God will help or not. When we have trials and temptations, we question the power of God by pondering "Can God really deliver me from this trouble?". Satan will try to make us doubt the power of God but we must resist it by saying "Do not put the Lord your God to the test".
  3. Worldly pleasures: Satan tried to offer the whole world to Jesus on one condition, worshiping Satan. Satan is ready to give us worldly pleasures if we worship him knowingly or unknowingly by pursuing worldly pleasures. Worldly things can drift us away from our faith. When we are attracted by worldly pleasures, we should reply, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

If you have doubt over the authenticity of the Bible itself, you will have to make a little extra research on the history of "How we get our Bible". Many good articles here and elsewhere will be convincing enough on the authenticity of the Bible.

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Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Joh 13:2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;

2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Yes the devil can inject thoughts, imaginations, high mental things which rebel against the knowledge of God by way of temptation. The devil tempts us with our lusts. Judas lusted after money and the devil put the thought of betraying Jesus into Judas' heart and he gave into it and betrayed the Master. Giving into temptation therefore is dangerous. Being tempted is not a sin as even the Master Himself was tempted without sin.

Joh 20:25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. Joh 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Joh 20:27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

"Jesus did not raise from the dead they do lie." was Thomas's thought. Your thought was the same phrased a littler differently. Doubt is not a big deal dwelling on doubt is a big deal. Thomas was simply admonished to believe.

2Ti 2:13 NIV if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

Doubting is faithless like Thomas but take heart God remains faithful to you!

Mat 14:29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. Mat 14:30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. Mat 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Peter doubted that Jesus would sustain him as he walked on water. He could have kept his eyes on the Master and ignored to winds and the waves but he gave into the doubt and believed that he would sink so he sank. As you are metaphorically walking on the water with Jesus and you have a single doubting thought its important to get your eyes back on the Master and in no detail consider the winds and the waves lest, you like Peter, sink. Should you sink only cry out to Jesus and believe He has heard and forgiven you.

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+1 Thanks, this was a good answer for me, especially since you provided specific references. I knew that that the devil can tempt you even if you are a Christian, but I was a little concerned because I believe somewhere in the Bible it says that absolutely nothing can come between us and God, so if something does come up, it might suggest that there is no relationship there (between me and God). I hope my doubt fits what you gave as examples of temptation, and is not a sign of no relationship between me and God. –  Ovi Jul 22 '13 at 4:24

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