Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2


Chapter 74—Doubts

Mysteries We Cannot Fathom—The Word of God, like the character of its Divine Author, presents mysteries that can never be fully comprehended by finite beings. The entrance of sin into the world, the incarnation of Christ, regeneration, the resurrection, and many other subjects presented in the Bible are mysteries too deep for the human mind to explain, or even fully to comprehend. But we have no reason to doubt God's Word because we cannot understand the mysteries of His providence. In the natural world we are constantly surrounded with mysteries that we cannot fathom. The very humblest forms of life present a problem that the wisest of philosophers is powerless to explain. Everywhere are wonders beyond our ken. Should we then be surprised to find that in the spiritual world also there are mysteries that we cannot fathom? The difficulty lies solely in the weakness and narrowness of the human mind. God has given us in the Scriptures sufficient evidence of their divine character, and we are not to doubt His Word because we cannot understand all the mysteries of His providence.—Steps to Christ, 106, 107 (1892). 2MCP 671.1

2MCP 671.2

Possibility for Doubt Not Removed—While God has given ample evidence for faith, He will never remove all excuse for unbelief. All who look for hooks to hang their doubts upon will find them. And those who refuse to accept and obey God's word until every objection has been removed, and there is no longer an opportunity for doubt, will never come to the light. 2MCP 672.1

Distrust of God is the natural outgrowth of the unrenewed heart, which is at enmity with Him. But faith is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and it will flourish only as it is cherished. No man can become strong in faith without a determined effort. Unbelief strengthens as it is encouraged; and if men, instead of dwelling upon the evidences which God has given to sustain their faith, permit themselves to question and cavil, they will find their doubts constantly becoming more confirmed.—The Great Controversy, 527 (1911). 2MCP 672.2

Impact of the Weight of Evidence—Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence. God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith.—Testimonies for the Church 5:675, 676 (1889). 2MCP 672.3

Do Not Trust in Feeling (counsel to a doubter)—The great plan of mercy from the beginning of time is to have every afflicted soul trust in His love. Your safety at the present time when your mind is tortured with doubt is not to trust in feeling but in the living God. All He asks of you is to put your trust in Him, acknowledging Him as your faithful Saviour, who loves you and has forgiven you all your mistakes and errors.—Letter 299, 1904. 2MCP 672.4

No Thought of Doubt to See Light of Day—Watch as faithfully as did Abraham lest the ravens or any birds of prey alight upon your sacrifice and offering to God. Every thought of doubt should be so guarded that it will not see the light of day by utterance. Light always flees from words which honor the powers of darkness. The life of our risen Lord should be daily manifested in us.—Letter 7, 1892. (Selected Messages 2:243.) 2MCP 673.1

Chronic Doubter Centers on Self—It is a great misfortune to be a chronic doubter, keeping the eye and thoughts on self. While you are beholding self, while this is the theme of thought and conversation, you cannot expect to be conformed to the image of Christ. Self is not your savior. You have no redeeming qualities in yourself. “I” is a very leaky boat for your faith to embark in. Just as surely as you trust yourself in it, it will founder. 2MCP 673.2

The lifeboat, to the lifeboat! This is your only safety. Jesus is the Captain of the lifeboat, and He has never lost a passenger. 2MCP 673.3

Discouraged doubters, how can you expect to find your heart glowing with the love of Christ? How can you expect His joy to remain in you and your joy to be full while you are meditating and feeding upon your own imperfect characters?—Letter 11, 1897. 2MCP 673.4

Faith vs. Unbelief—We do not realize how much we lose through unbelief. Without faith we shall be engaged in a losing battle. We have a Saviour who understands every phase of our life. He knows of our discouragements, and He knows just what help we need. We want a faith in Him, a faith that works by love and purifies the soul.—Manuscript 41, 1908. 2MCP 673.5

Faith grows by conflicts with doubts; virtue gathers strength by resistance to temptation.—The Youth's Instructor, April 1873. 2MCP 673.6

Cherish Faith—There is no encouragement given for unbelief. The Lord manifests His grace and His power over and over again, and this should teach us that it is always profitable under all circumstances to cherish faith, to talk faith, to act faith. We are not to have our hearts and hands weakened by allowing the suggestions of suspicious minds to plant in our hearts the seeds of doubt and distrust.—Letter 97, 1898. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7:928.) 2MCP 673.7

Doubt Induces Nervous Diseases—The assurance of God's approval will promote physical health. It fortifies the soul against doubt, perplexity, and excessive grief that so often sap the vital forces and induce nervous diseases of a most debilitating and distressing character. The Lord has pledged His unfailing word that His eye shall be over the righteous and His ear open to their prayer, while He is against all them that do evil. We make very hard work for ourselves in this world when we take such a course that the Lord is against us.—The Review and Herald, October 16, 1883. (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 3:1146.) 2MCP 674.1

No Suspicion to Possess the Mind—No suspicion or distrust is to take possession of our minds. No apprehension of the greatness of God is to confuse our faith. May God help us to humble ourselves in meekness and lowliness. Christ laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown that He might associate with humanity and show that human beings may be perfect. Clad in the garments of mercy, He lived in our world a perfect life to give us evidence of His love. He has done that which should make unbelief in Him impossible. From His high command in the heavenly courts He stooped to take human nature upon Him. His life is an example of what our lives may be. That no apprehension of God's greatness should come in to efface our belief in God's love, Christ became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The human heart, given up to Him, will become a sacred harp, sending forth sacred music.—Letter 365, 1904. (Selected Messages 2:254.) 2MCP 674.2

No Excuse for Talking Discouragement—“The Father hath delivered us from the power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13). If this is true, what excuse then have we for talking discouragement and unbelief and doubt—drawing darkness around us as a mantle? Let us roll back the dark shadow of doubt, casting it aside to be borne by Satan, the originator of all doubt and discouragement. He is seeking to cast his hellish shadow across our pathway. Our faith must penetrate the dark cloud of doubt and unbelief, taking hold of the arm of Christ beyond.—Manuscript 102, 1901. 2MCP 674.3

How Ellen White Repulsed the Shadow of Doubt—When Satan casts his hellish shadow athwart my pathway, I do not look at it or talk of it and glorify the devil by talking of him and his power and what a hard time I am having. No, I cleave right through the shadow, and by faith take hold of Jesus Christ. By beholding we “are changed into the same image from glory to glory.” Talk faith. Every doubt you express is a seed sown, and that seed will take root in some heart. We do not want to speak one word of doubt and thus praise the devil for his wonderful power to keep you in subjection. No, Christ has purchased me and redeemed me. Satan has no power over me.—Manuscript 16, 1894. 2MCP 675.1

False Ideas Concerning God—Satan is exultant when he can lead the children of God into unbelief and despondency. He delights to see us mistrusting God, doubting His willingness and power to save us. He loves to have us feel that the Lord will do us harm by His providences. 2MCP 675.2

It is the work of Satan to represent the Lord as lacking in compassion and pity. He misstates the truth in regard to Him. He fills the imagination with false ideas concerning God; and instead of dwelling upon the truth in regard to our heavenly Father, we too often fix our minds upon the misrepresentations of Satan and dishonor God by distrusting Him and murmuring against Him. 2MCP 675.3

Satan ever seeks to make the religious life one of gloom. He desires it to appear toilsome and difficult, and when the Christian presents in his own life this view of religion, he is through his unbelief seconding the falsehood of Satan.—Steps to Christ, 116 (1892). 2MCP 675.4

Shut the Door of Your Heart to Doubts—When the devil comes with his doubts and unbeliefs, shut the door of your heart. Shut your eyes so that you will not dwell upon his hellish shadow. Lift them up where they can behold the things which are eternal, and you will have strength every hour. The trial of your faith is much more precious than gold It makes you valiant to fight the battle of the Lord, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). 2MCP 676.1

Satan claims the world. He claims us as his. Then shall we give him that which he claims? No. I am somebody else's property. I have been bought with a price, and my business is to glorify God in my body and spirit. I have no time to talk unbelief. It is faith that I must talk. I must strengthen faith by exercise. And then my faith grows as I venture upon the promises of God, and I can grasp more and more. 2MCP 676.2

Blessed, blessed Jesus. I love Him because He is comfort and hope and opportunity and resource to me; to individual me and individual you. I want that you will consider yourself His property. Set your faces as a flint toward Mount Zion. Be determined that there is a treasure there that you can get.—Manuscript 17, 1894. 2MCP 676.3

One Word of Doubt Makes Room for More—One word of doubt, one word of evil thinking and evil speaking, makes room for more of the same kind. It is seed-sowing that will prepare for a harvest that few will care to garner.—Letter 117, 1896. 2MCP 676.4

Seeds of Doubt Lie Buried—Those who are troubled with doubts and have difficulties which they cannot solve should not throw other weak minds into the same perplexity. Some have hinted or talked their unbelief and have passed on, little dreaming of the effect produced. In some instances the seeds of unbelief have taken immediate effect, while in others they have lain buried quite a length of time, until the individual has taken a wrong course and given place to the enemy, and the light of God has been withdrawn from him and he has fallen under the powerful temptations of Satan. Then the seeds of infidelity which were sown so long ago spring up. Satan nourishes them, and they bear fruit. 2MCP 676.5

Anything coming from ministers who should stand in the light has a powerful influence. And when they have not stood in the clear light of God, Satan has used them as agents and has through them transmitted his fiery darts to minds not prepared to resist what has come from their ministers.—Testimonies for the Church 1:378 (1863). 2MCP 677.1

Our Duty to Believe—Believe that the word of God will not fail, but that He is faithful that has promised. It is just as much your duty to believe that God will fulfill His word and forgive your sins as it is your duty to confess your sins. Your faith must be exercised in God as one that will do just as He has said He would do—pardon all your transgressions. 2MCP 677.2

How can we know that the Lord is indeed our sin-pardoning Saviour, and prove the deep blessedness in Him, the great grace and love He has assured us that He has for the contrite in heart, unless we believe His word implicitly? Oh, how very many go mourning, sinning, and repenting, but always under a cloud of condemnation. They do not believe the word of the Lord. They do not believe that He will do just as He said He would do.—Letter 10, 1893. 2MCP 677.3

Cause of Doubt—Love of Sin—Disguise it as they may, the real cause of doubt and skepticism in most cases is the love of sin. The teachings and restrictions of God's Word are not welcome to the proud, sin-loving heart, and those who are unwilling to obey its requirements are ready to doubt its authority. In order to arrive at truth we must have a sincere desire to know the truth and a willingness of heart to obey it. And all who come in this spirit to the study of the Bible will find abundant evidence that it is God's Word, and they may gain an understanding of its truths that will make them wise unto salvation.—Steps to Christ, 111 (1892). 2MCP 677.4

Cherished by the Uncircumspect—Doubt and unbelief are cherished by those who do not walk circumspectly. They have a painful consciousness that their life will not abide the test of the Spirit of God, whether speaking through His Word or through the testimonies of His Spirit that would bring them to His Word. Instead of beginning with their own hearts and coming into harmony with the pure principles of the gospel, they find fault and condemn the very means that God has chosen to fit up a people to stand in the day of the Lord.—Manuscript 1, 1883. (Selected Messages 1:45.) 2MCP 678.1

Doubts Entertained Regarded as Assured Facts—The general method of educating the youth does not meet the standard of true education. Infidel sentiments are interwoven in the matter placed in schoolbooks, and the oracles of God are placed in a questionable or even an objectionable light. Thus the minds of the youth become familiar with Satan's suggestions, and the doubts once entertained become to those who entertain them assured facts, and scientific research is made misleading on account of the way its discoveries are interpreted and perverted.—The Youth's Instructor, January 31, 1895. (MM 90.) 2MCP 678.2

What to Do With Doubt—You hurt the heart of Christ by doubting, when He has given us such evidences of His love in giving His own life to save us that we should not perish, but have everlasting life. He has told us just what to do. “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).—Letter 10, 1893. 2MCP 678.3

Doubts Disappear in Seeking to Bless Others—There are many who complain of their doubts, who lament that they have no assurance of their connection with God. This is often attributable to the fact that they are doing nothing in God's cause. Let them seek earnestly to help and bless others, and their doubts and despondency will disappear.—Testimonies for the Church 5:395 (1885). 2MCP 679.1

Those who are perpetually talking doubts and demanding additional evidence to banish their cloud of unbelief do not build on the Word. Their faith rests on circumstances; it is founded in feeling. But feeling, be it ever so pleasing, is not faith. God's Word is the foundation upon which our hopes of heaven must be built.—Letter 11, 1897. 2MCP 679.2

The More You Talk Doubt, the Darker It Grows (counsel to a doubting minister)—I saw that angels of God were looking sorrowfully toward you. They had left your side and were turning mournfully away, while Satan and his angels were grinning in exultation over you. If you had yourself battled with your doubts and not encouraged the devil to tempt you by talking out your unbelief and loving to dwell upon it, you would not have attracted the fallen angels about you in such numbers. But you chose to talk your darkness; you chose to dwell upon it; and the more you talk and dwell upon it, the darker and darker you grow. 2MCP 679.3

You are shutting out from you every ray of heaven's light, and a great gulf is coming between you and the only ones who can help you. If you proceed in the way you have started, misery and woe are before you. God's hand will arrest you in a manner that will not suit you. His wrath will not slumber. But now He invites you. Now, just now, He calls upon you to return unto Him without delay, and He will graciously pardon and heal all your backslidings. God is leading out a people who are peculiar. He will cleanse and purify them and fit them for translation. Every carnal thing will be separated from God's peculiar treasures until they shall be like gold seven times purified.—Testimonies for the Church 1:430, 431 (1864). 2MCP 679.4

Let Beams of Light Dispel Shadows of Doubt—We need to be filled with all the fullness of God, and we shall then have life, power, grace and salvation. 2MCP 680.1

How shall we obtain these great blessings? Christ has died that we might receive them by faith in His name. He has freely offered us light and life. Then why should we persist in driving pegs on which to hang our doubts? Why should we fill the gallery of the mind with gloomy scenes of doubt? Why not let the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness shine into the chambers of heart and mind and dispel the shadows of unbelief? Turn to the Light, to Jesus the precious Saviour. 2MCP 680.2

Instead of beholding the flaws and defects of some human being, turn to contemplate the character of Him in whom there is no imperfection. Jesus is the “chiefest among ten thousand,” the One “altogether lovely.” We are not to make any man our pattern. God has given us a perfect model in His only begotten Son, and by beholding Him we shall become changed into His image. Look upon Christ, whose throne is high and lifted up, and the train of His glory fills the temple.—Manuscript 66, 1895. 2MCP 680.3