The Dilemma of Fear and Doubt Among the Disciples

The Dilemma of Fear and Doubt Among the Disciples

GROWTH AND SUCCESS IN LIFE – Lessons Learned at the Feet of Jesus

Jesus has been teaching about the character of the Kingdom of Heaven and the paths of Disciples – those who have believed in and are now following him.  In the context of selecting his disciples, he addresses the final hours of John the Baptist, the last of the OT prophets, one who has devoted to Him with zeal and who now struggles with doubt as his life is turning out differently than he expected.

Matthew 11:1-6 1After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

1.  Fear and Doubt are Common Experiences in a Disciple’s Walk of Faith.  It would be foolish and inaccurate to believe that a Christian’s walk would be problem free and without fear or doubt.  These struggles are mixed with the good and bad decisions of life.  James 3:2.  We all stumble in many ways.  The first response is to not to be confused, but to understand that this is part of the spiritual testing process that leads to us ‘being mature and complete, not lacking in anything.  James 1:5. 2.  Three Critical Steps in Addressing Fear and Doubt.  To the followers of John, Jesus gave these instructions:

  • Ask God your hard questions – in seeking wisdom, ask away.  If any of you lack wisdom, ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5.  There was no reprimand to John for bringing his confusion and fear and doubt to Jesus.
  • Learn from History.  Jesus directs the attention of John’s followers back to what He has done, how he has proven who He is and the truth of His message.  The blind receive sight, the lame walk…dead are raised.
  • Never Stop Persevering to the End.  For a disciple, the lessons never stop in life.  Keep on keeping on.  “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

3.  Always come back to God who is full of mercy and compassion.  In the midst of fear and confusion, God’s commendation remains, remarkably, for John and for us.  Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.  Matthew 11:11.  

Matthew 11:28-29 28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 
 
I know of few other biblical passages that speak more powerfully and with compassion to the struggles of the Christian.  Don’t doubt the process.  Ask your questions.  Look for wisdom.  Make good decisions.  And keep on keeping on.  Next week, how to deal with the enemy and opponent of what your life represents. 

— John Moore

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