How do you defeat doubt? I believe faith is on one side and doubt is on the other. Doubt creeps in when we start to think, “Hey, I prayed this prayer, and it didn’t work. God didn’t answer. He didn’t come through for me. I asked Him to do this, but it didn’t happen. Is His word really true or not?” We start looking around and trying to solve this problem. We wonder, “Why didn’t this work? Why didn’t God come through on this promise? If He didn’t come through on this one, then maybe it’s not true at all in any case.” We start to question and doubt the fullness of the truth in the word of God.
On February 6, 2006, I lost my mother to a 31-month battle with cancer. At the time, I believed Jesus died for healing. I believed God was the healer. I knew He was, and I knew He gave me the faith to believe it. Still, I wasn’t quite there yet. I wasn’t completely convinced. I still had doubt because I had never seen anybody live it out. I’d never seen anybody living that way. I hadn’t even heard anyone teaching it before 2003. Actually, before 2003, I didn’t even have a clue that God is as good as He is. Trying to learn all of that quickly in a microwave was very difficult for me because I couldn’t get over the hump that God was mad at me and that He sometimes takes loved ones. “Sometimes He needs them more than we do,” people told me. Those things I heard in the past caused me to have doubt.
How do you overcome doubt? How do you defeat doubt so your faith can fully flourish? The only way I know how to do that is to keep inputting the word of God into your heart and your mind to renew your mind fully. Your mind has to be renewed. You have to take all of those old sayings that people have spoken into your ear and overcome them with the truth. The only way to do that is to hear the word of God again and again and again until it becomes more alive and true in you and to you than anything else anyone has ever said to you. Faith comes by hearing the word of God.
Take a look at Matthew 17:21 and Mark 9:29. It’s the same message in two different gospels. If you really look at these portions of Scripture and read them in context, you find that the disciples were trying to perform a miracle. They were trying to cast out a demon, but it wouldn’t go. It would not obey them. It wouldn’t leave. The people were probably saying things like, “Why can’t your disciples do this? You can do it, Jesus. Why can’t they? What is going on?” Jesus basically told His disciples, “Really? You’ve followed Me all this time. You’ve seen Me do it. You know I have given you the authority. You’ve walked it out. I have given you the great commission. You know this is what you’re called to do, but you’re not doing it. Your faith is so tiny. Your faith is so little.”
Jesus said, “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21 NKJV). I have heard many Christians interpret that verse to mean that the only way the demon would flee, that the miracle could happen, was if the disciples stopped to pray and fast. Yet, that’s not what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t stop to pray and fast. He rebuked it, and it left. He said, “Get out,” and it was gone. Boom. It obeyed. So what was Jesus really talking about?
He was talking about your weak faith. How do you defeat doubt? You pray and fast. When you’re not overcoming by God’s word and living the truth of His word, when doubts are defeating you moment by moment and your imagination is spinning out of control in a negative pattern, fast and pray. Many people think fasting and praying moves God and makes Him do what you’ve asked Him to do, like, “Oh, I’m so proud of her. She fasted and prayed. Look how great she is. I’m going to go ahead and answer her prayer and remove this demon.” No, no, no, no, no. No. That is not what happens.
The process of fasting and prayer moves you and me. It moves us. It moves our hearts into alignment with God’s. It moves the doubt we have. It moves the reliance on our flesh and on our self. It moves our efforts out of the way so God’s efforts can flow freely through us. It puts down our carnal nature and picks up the Spirit of God. If you’re fasting and praying or doing the right things or walking around the building seven times to try to get God to move on your behalf, that does not move God. It moves you.
Defeat doubt by picking up God’s word and reading it until you fall madly, deeply in love with Him. God’s word will become more true than how your body feels, than what’s on the TV, than what your friends say to you or what somebody speaks over you. Fast and pray regularly to keep your flesh, your carnal nature, your meatheadedness out of the way of your being freely in God’s presence.