5/16/17 Marilyn about 50
Why do we doubt? I've met several people lately, like a lady named Marilyn in a sidewalk conversation, who claim faith in Jesus yet aren't sure about their own salvation.
Some seem to think this is a way of showing humility. They believe it would be arrogant to be confident of salvation. Others think they will end up in heaven some day, but if they died today they would not be quite "ready enough".
Marilyn believes Jesus saves those who trust him, but didn't think she had done enough to demonstrate that trust.
For myself I'm grateful that the first people that encouraged me toward faith also encouraged me to be honest about my doubts. They taught me to take them to God, that He isn't afraid of our sincere questions.
James wrote "you must believe and not doubt", but that was in the context of asking God for wisdom, not salvation. Jesus was constantly encouraging people toward faith and away from doubt, but he also said our faith can begin as a "mustard seed". There's plenty of room for doubt there.
In my experience, the people I have talked to with a self-centered faith are prone to doubt, because they are forced to trust in themselves and their own ability to earn salvation. Their faith is like like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
The people who are most confident in their faith have a Christ-centered faith. They know they didn't deserve it, but that Jesus died on their behalf. They are filled with a sense of awe and wonder that God would do such a thing for anyone, not to mention themselves, and this awe transforms into a life of heartfelt repentance and service. At some point they look back and see the changes God has brought into their lives, and their mustard seed of faith grows into a tree that the birds can nest in.
I wanted that kind of confident assurance for Marilyn and I told her so, and that a Christ-centered faith makes it possible. He is worthy, and we can be confident in that.