Doubting Jesus is a common struggle for many Christians. Here are 9000 words exploring what the Bible says about overcoming doubt and deepening faith in Christ.
Recognize that doubt is normal
Even long-time followers of Jesus struggled with doubt. After Jesus’ death, Thomas doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead, saying “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). Peter also doubted Jesus, sinking into the water when he tried walking on it toward Jesus (Matthew 14:31). Doubt is a normal part of the human experience and the Christian life.
It’s important not to feel ashamed or condemned for doubting. The Bible says there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Bring your doubts honestly before God. He already knows what you’re thinking and struggling with anyway. Admitting doubts is the first step toward working through them.
Ask God for stronger faith
If faith is something we struggle with, it only makes sense to ask God to provide it! Jesus’ disciples once asked him to “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5). We can pray similarly. God wants to give us faith. Jesus said, “If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20). Faith, even just a small amount of it, comes from God.
The Bible says, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Spending time in Scripture, listening to biblical teaching, and asking God to speak through His word are practical ways to strengthen wavering faith.
Remember what Scripture says about who Jesus is
Doubting Jesus often means doubting Scripture’s clear testimony about his identity. The Bible unambiguously states the Jesus is:
- The eternal Son of God (John 1:1-3, 14)
- Born of a virgin (Luke 1:26-35)
- Fully God and fully man (Philippians 2:5-8)
- Sinless and perfect (Hebrews 4:15)
- Died to pay for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3)
- Rose from the dead (Acts 2:24)
- Ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-11)
- Coming again in glory and power (Matthew 24:30)
When doubting who Jesus is, rehearsing these biblical truths about his identity and what Scripture clearly teaches can reaffirm what you actually believe deep down. Believing the truth about Jesus transforms our lives now and guarantees eternal life with him.
Consider the historical evidence for Jesus
In addition to the Bible’s testimony about Jesus, many extra-biblical historical sources confirm that Jesus did exist and was who Scripture claimed he was. Roman and Jewish historians from Christianity’s earliest centuries wrote about him. Archaeological evidence also supports the Bible’s depiction of Jesus within the historical context of early 1st century Judea under Roman rule. Reflecting on how Christianity exploded across the Roman Empire so soon after Christ’s life can also build confidence that Jesus was no ordinary man.
Talk to mature Christians who have struggled with doubt
Knowing you aren’t alone in doubting Jesus is freeing. Having fellowship and open discussions with Christians further along in the faith who have grappled with and overcome doubt can be greatly reassuring. Their wisdom and experience with sustaining faith even while doubting can provide perspective. The body of Christ is designed to encourage each other this way. Isolation exacerbates doubt but community, counsel and mentorship go a long way in working through it.
Persevere in spiritual disciplines
Doubting Jesus often causes Christians to backslide in practices that strengthen faith. But staying disciplined in prayer, Bible reading, fellowship, worship, etc. provides spiritual nourishment. Jesus told Thomas who doubted, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (John 20:27). If he overcame his doubts by touching Jesus’ scars, we can overcome doubt by continuing to pursue God’s presence however we’re able.
Consider the possibility of being wrong
Sometimes we doubt because we arrogantly assume our thinking is definitely right, so Jesus must be wrong whenever they conflict. But given he is God and we aren’t, perhaps we should be more open to the possibility that we could be the ones in error! As Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Bringing an attitude of humility before God and his word allows him to correct flawed thinking that may be contributing to doubt.
Act in faith even while doubting
When Peter doubted Jesus and began sinking as he walked toward him on the water, he still cried out for rescue! Jesus immediately grabbed him. Though racked with doubt, Peter acted in faith. We can admit our doubts to God while still stepping forward in ways that express trust in Him. When trying to pray while doubting God listens, pray anyway. When doubting God’s compassion, still lean on Him for comfort. Small acts of faith in the midst of doubt pave the way for those doubts to diminish in time.
Seek counseling if doubt persists or worsens
Working through doubt isn’t quick or easy. If it persists for long periods or gets progressively worse, seeking help from a pastor, Christian counselor, or mature believer can help identify roots of doubt more clearly. Unresolved sin, bitterness, grief, trauma, mental health problems, distorted thinking about God and other factors could all worsen doubt. Receiving guidance about addressing potential underlying issues contributing to doubt may equip you to find more lasting freedom from it.
Trust that God still loves and sustains you while doubting
Even Christian giants like Mother Teresa experienced dark nights of the soul filled with doubt and feeling unloved by God. But one truth shined bright during those times: God’s love for her never wavered. Likewise, God still cherishes, forgives and sustains you even when you doubt Jesus. He wants you to overcome doubt and walk by faith again but will never abandon you as you struggle through it. God’s Spirit even intercedes for us during weakness and doubt, as “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). You will make it through this season of doubt.
Understand faith and doubt co-exist
Rather than being opposed to faith, doubt can strengthen it. Without ever experiencing doubt, faith isn’t robust or battle-tested. A faith unable to survive and wrestle through doubt won’t endure. A parent who never doubts their love for their child may take that love for granted. But experiencing deeply questioning that love before rediscovering its certainty results in greater conviction. In the same way, working through seasons of doubt can refine faith into something purer and surer than before. Don’t be discouraged by it.
Look at Jesus, not yourself
Doubting Jesus often makes us turn inward, over-analyzing ourselves rather than fixing our eyes on Christ. But Jesus endured the cross and shame so that he might bring us to God (Hebrews 12:2). When we are faithless, he remains faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). There is no condemnation for those who are in him (Romans 8:1). Our security comes not from perfectly steadfast faith but from Jesus securing our salvation. Instead of obsessing over the weakness of our faith, reflect on the unchanging nature of Christ. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Wait patiently for God to renew faith
Trying to force faith through sheer willpower backfires. Only God provides faith. When doubt leaves you spiritually exhausted, rest in God’s presence. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14). The God who miraculously parts seas, raises the dead to life and offers living hope can certainly revive weary faith. God reminds Isaiah, “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Faith is renewed in God’s perfect timing.
Trust God to use seasons of doubt for good
Romans 8:28 promises God works all things for the good of those who love him. This includes doubt! Dark nights of the soul, though painful, can be used by God. Seasons of wrestling with faith force us to depend on God rather than ourselves. They keep us from arrogantly sliding into complacency, deepen our mercy for others who doubt, and give us insight to support others facing similar struggles. Most importantly, overcoming doubt develops perseverance that shapes Christlike maturity (James 1:2-4). God wastes nothing, even doubts, to ultimately make us more like Jesus.
Remember that faith is a gift
God chose us, adopted us, redeemed us and sustains us. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace and faith cannot be earned by trying harder. They flow from God’s generous heart to undeserving sinners like us simply because he is good and loving. Meditating on truths like this lead us to thank and worship God for freely offering us the gift of faith. As we humble ourselves and receive it gratefully, he delights to increase our faith.
Focus on godly character over feelings
Since faith is God’s work in us, he cares more about developing Christlike character in us through doubt rather than simply removing all doubt. Feelings of doubt may remain, but we can still trust God’s promises and take steps of obedience by His grace even when emotionally wavering. As we choose to honor Christ in thoughts, words and actions during seasons of doubt, our integrity and character are refined. That brings joy to God’s heart even when ours remains heavy. Feelings follow as the fruit of faith, not the root of it.
Cling to promises about God finishing His work
Ultimately finishing and perfecting faith is God’s responsibility, not ours. He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until Christ returns (Philippians 1:6). Jesus will sustain us to the end so that we will be blameless on the day of His coming (1 Corinthians 1:4-8). We can depend on God’s faithfulness to keep us believing in Him. When we feel unable to keep doubting Jesus, we can trust the Spirit continues interceding for us. God will fulfill his purpose and promises in us.
Look forward to the hope of eternity without doubt
While doubt can still trouble us now, one day faith will become sight. The Bible says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). In God’s very presence our imperfect faith will become perfect understanding. We’ll eternally worship Christ in a world where no shadow of doubt could exist. The Spirit will complete His sanctifying work in us (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24) and “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4). Cling to that future hope!
Doubting Jesus deeply troubles our soul, but we have a compassionate savior who identifies with our weaknesses. He will gently lead us from a place of doubt into greater faith, hope and love. When we are faithless, he remains faithful. Trust in his promises and character. God patiently works through seasons of doubt to ultimately increase our dependence on him and bring greater glory to his name.