That which delights the heart of God more than many other things is a person with an expectant spirit, a person who is really assured that God is going to do what He says He will.
Like David sleeping like a baby with the armies of Saul all around him ready to do him in.
Like Abraham expecting God to resurrect his son Isaac, after God commanded him to sacrifice his son. (Genesis 22).
Expectancy is the attitude you need after you’ve stepped out by faith, and the attitude that needs to carry you clear through to the completion of God’s promises.
Mark 11:23. The only stipulation for moving the mountain is expectancy instead of doubt.
Faith has tremendous power, but so does doubt.
Doubt can keep you from starting on a faith venture,
or, once you’ve started, doubt can keep you from finishing.
Doubt can make you unstable, uncertain, and vulnerable to your shifting feelings and attacks of Satan. Doubt can take away your joy and destroy your fellowship with God. And it can keep God from doing for you what He wants to do.
So it’s important to understand doubt, where it comes from, and what to do about it.
What Causes Doubt
Doubt can be caused by fear
by the negative influence of other people
and by the frontal attack of the devil.
Fear will make you doubt
Doubt and fear are destructive partners. If one can’t get you to question God, the other certainly will.
Fear raises its ugly head every time you hear yourself starting a sentence with “What if …?”
Maybe you’re afraid for your reputation. What if this doesn’t work out? What’ll people say? I’ll get the reputation of being a nut, or one of those spiritually overboard types.
It’s easy to forget in this people-pleasing, image-conscious world of ours that the Lord you serve made Himself of no reputation. He was called a drunkard and glutton (Matthew 11:19). And John the Baptist was accused of being possessed by a demon (Matthew 11:18).
Maybe your fear is the fear of falling, and that causes you to doubt God. “What if God doesn’t provide the money I need? My family may have to cut back to skimpy diets and old clothes and hand-me-downs.” “What if I witness to my boss and he doesn’t respond? I could lose my job.”
Saul is an apt illustration of this also. “I have sinned … because I feared the people,” he said. (1 Samuel 15:24).
He feared that if he did not take charge of the situation when Samuel didn’t come on time (Saul’s time), then he might lose face in the people’s eyes, that they might conclude we wasn’t decisive, and maybe take his kingdom away from him. So to protect his kingdom, he disobeyed God, and that caused him the very thing he was trying to protect!
God doesn’t promise success or victory to doubters. So if you fear failing and then doubt God, and think that all your fears will come true, then all your fears will indeed come true, because doubting God is the surest way to fail.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Other people can cause us to doubt
Often the people who cause you to doubt are well-meaning people, people who care about you. They can be friends and family, and even Christian brothers. But they’re looking through the eyes of human perspective, rather than with the eyes of faith.
When the children of Israel marched around the walls of Jericho, God didn’t allow them to talk. Could it be that within seven days they might have talked each other out of an answer from God? They might well have all quit on the fourth day and gone home.
The Bible says that your leaders are to be those whose faith you can follow. (Hebrews 13:7). So choose those to follow who are people of faith, and who’ll encourage you to expectancy instead of doubt.
The Devil Can Cause Doubts
The devil is the one who started humanity doubting when he came to Eve and asked, “Has God said …?” (Genesis 3:1). He was the first one to replace trust with questions about God’s goodness and His credibility … and His Word. (Reminds me of the academics of today.)
The devil even came to Jesus in the wilderness and tried to get Him to look to Himself rather than to His Father for food, position, and authority (Matthew 3:1-11).
If the devil tried to tempt Jesus to doubt, be sure he’ll try to tempt you too.
How to Turn Doubt into Expectancy
Call Doubt Sin
Doubt is a common experience among Christians that it is easy to forget that doubt is not a “problem” or a “concern” but SIN.
Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22). When you doubt, you’re disobeying the Lord’s command. That’s why the gospels record four times, a rebuke that Jesus spoke to His disciples: “Oh ye, of little faith, why are you so fearful?”
Matthew 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?
Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Matthew 16:8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
Matthew 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Luke 12:28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
If you’re trying to get over your doubt, forget it. You never will, because you’re trying the wrong thing. You do not get over your doubt. You treat it like any other sin: confess it and seek forgiveness. That’s the way with all sin, including doubt.
Get the right perspective
When Goliath come against the Israelites, the soldiers al thought, “He’s so big we can never kill him.”
David looked at the same giant, and thought, “He’s so big I can’t miss!”
The battle against doubt is basically one of keeping God’s perspective on your problems, seeing them as God sees them. One of the best ways to get perspective is to remember what God has done for you. That’s why God told Israel, “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years.” (Deuteronomy 8:2). God knew that reviewing what He’d done for them would help them keep their eyes on Him during future hard times.
To get the right perspective take the following steps:
1. Review how you started on this faith venture.
2. Review what God has done for you in the past.
3. Review Who Christ Is, His Power and His Resources.
Having faith is a wise attitude. The Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
So, if you lack the wisdom to have faith, ask God for it. After all, that passage written for doubters who don’t want to doubt, for people who are in trouble and don’t know what to do. James says, in effect, God won’t make you feel silly for asking!
God is in the business of turning doubters into people of faith (not “people of faith” in the modern, “politically correct”, sense of the term, but people who have faith in God the Father, through Jesus Christ His Son.)
Jesus turned Peter the denier, the fearful one who hid after the crucifixion, into the one who took the initiative and preached to multitudes at Pentecost.
He can change you too.
Nothing pleases God more than a spirit of expectancy. So doubt your doubts. Expect God to work, and He will.