What If Christianity Isn’t True? The Sticky Sap of Doubt

Did you ever touch something sticky – like pine sap or fly paper or syrup – and then find yourself battling stickiness on multiple levels?

First, you try to wipe it off on a tissue or paper towel but now you just have bits of paper clinging to you everywhere.

Then, you try wiping one hand on the other but both hands get sticky. Maybe, if you’re like my son, you try wiping your hands on your jeans, the couch or a piece of furniture but now the stickiness is just spreading – as if the molecules of stickiness multiply the more you try to rid yourself of them.

Soon, you’re feeling like you need to shower, change all of your clothes and hose down your surroundings in order to be free.

Doubt is like that.

Have you ever sat in a room full of people and started to wonder? Maybe at a family gathering, in a classroom, a meeting at work, a public event, you looked around and wondered – what if Christianity isn’t true?

You look at the others around you and think about how most of them don’t believe in or follow Jesus Christ and they seem fine. Could they really be destined for eternal destruction? Many of them seem smarter than you are, live better lives even, have fewer troubles and are creative, loving humans. How could it be that they don’t see the truth of Jesus and you do? What sense does that make?

And there it is. That sticky stuff. Now, it’s on the fingers of your soul and you don’t know how to get it off.

What if none of it is true?

But, you know that it is. You’ve always known that it is. You believed it completely yesterday. But right now, there’s a whisper in your mind.

Where do you even go with it?

Maybe you’re a Sunday school teacher, a Bible study leader, a small group facilitator, a missionary, a pastor. Who do you tell that something has made you wonder?

Maybe it was that show on the History channel with those intelligent, well-spoken scholars who seemed to confidently refute everything you’ve ever been taught.

Maybe it was that question your sister asked at Thanksgiving dinner that you couldn’t answer.

Maybe it’s that one of your children has chosen to walk away and you want to think they’ll still be fine because you can’t imagine any other ending in which you could face eternity.

Maybe it’s the way people at work so consistently mock what you believe and without realizing it, your outer shell of faith has begun to erode.

And now, you’re stuck.

You’ve put your hand in it and trying to ignore it or quickly wipe it away isn’t working. It’s starting to spread everywhere – even to others around you – through little things you say – the sap is spreading.

“17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt;” Jude 1: 17-22

So, He knew these times would come.

God is not caught off guard by your doubt – only you are.

And , just like ignoring or trying to hastily rid yourself of sticky sap, the answer to doubt is to apply the correct solvent – to invest the time and effort to address the problem before it spreads.

Jude says -“By building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love”. Doubt can be a warning that we are neglecting to spend time with God, we’ve let our prayer life or our time in God’s word slip or that we’re feeling the effects of avoiding deeper relationships with other Christians – honest, authentic relationships.

Doubt can be a by-product of intense spiritual warfare – like a targeted smart bomb from the enemy.

Doubt can be a goad to search scripture for answers or to research the questions we hear that nag at us and leap out at us in the dark of night when we are tired and alone. Doubt can be a reminder that God wants to be sought after and that He rewards those who seek Him. Doubt can send us on a recon mission that will serve others down the road.

Lee Strobel was a journalist who started researching Jesus Christ in order to refute his wife’s new found faith. His intensive searching resulted in faith and he records his findings in “The Case for Christ”.

Doubt can happen to any of us.

Having doubts doesn’t make you a bad Christian any more than occasionally getting syrup on your hand makes you a slob. Leaving syrup on your hand, however, moves you up the slob-o-meter and neglecting to address doubts that come only creates a mental fungus that grows best in the darkest corners of your soul – eventually producing a toxic spiritual mold which can be much more complicated to destroy.

Don’t get stuck. Sap isn’t super-glue. Apply the correct solvent and it dissipates. Doubt does not have to mean the death of faith. It’s just doubt. Apply the correct solvent – the work of the Holy Spirit – and it dissipates.

Jesus Christ and the story of His birth, life, death, and resurrection are true.

Have you ever wrestled with doubt? What solvent did you apply?

If you need to be prepared for questions at a family gathering, work, etc. This video by Lee Strobel is a wonderful starting place. It’s effective against many pseudo-intellectual clumps of sap.

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Video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/

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    The Conversation

  1. Once again, Lori, you manage to take us beyond the surface stick. I love your analogy and thanks for the video post to boot. Happy Thanksgiving, lovely lady.

  2. Karin says:

    Just love the way you write! Having questions surface now and then indicates that something is important enough for me to think on it and try to come to a better understanding.