In which there is rock and a hard place …

by Craig on December 6, 2010

Faith is a rock – it makes things solid, it’s stable. Disbelief is a hard place, where nothing is certain, no hope, no vision. Doubt leaves us between the rock and the hard place.

See, James is right, doubt is the harder way. If he could have inserted video into his letter, I think this might be in our Bibles.

Now with all this talk of doubt I haven’t talked much of faith – which is not the opposite of doubt. Disbelief is the opposite of faith. I’m sticking to my guns and saying doubt is the handmaiden of faith.

James has much more to say about faith later. But the important thing he teaches me about faith is that it is action, not feeling. I may feel doubt, but act in faith – and that means faith has won over doubt. All those times in the night I would cry to God about my doubt. That was faith winning over doubt. It’s the doing, the continuing on, in the face of doubt,  that defeats doubt.

There’s this parable Jesus told in Matthew 21: 28-31:

“What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?”

Remember the answer?

To feel or say, is not enough – to do – that’s the thing. Chronic doubt paralyzes and keeps me from doing. Honest doubt causes me to seek, to continue doing what is right, and defeats doubt in the end.

Looking back on almost my entire Christian life, which was lived between the rock and hard place, it is clear that it was the continued doing, in the face of doubt, that led to doubt’s undoing.

I didn’t mean that to be so poetic. But I like it, I’m gonna repeat it.

It’s the continued doing in the face of doubt that leads to doubt’s undoing.

Now back to James.

James 1:7,8,

“For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.”

I’ve said before that my favorite apostle was Thomas. Here’s  a Thomas tidbit – about his nickname. It was didymus – meaning “twin”.

The theories of why he is called “twin” range from the simple to the crazy not simple. The easy theories are that he had a twin, or that he was called “twin” because his name in Aramaic means “twin”. One of the crazy complicated theories is that he wasn’t even a real person, but just a teaching tool. I told you it was crazy complicated.

I think it’s like when Jesus took Simon and renamed him Peter, which means “rock”. I think Simon may have been a handful, gruff, unpolished, not one for following rabbis. But Jesus knew he would be foundational for the church. So before he became that foundation Jesus renamed him Rock. (MT 16:18)

I see Thomas as different from Peter. I see him as a spiritual soul, Peter, more an earthly one.  I see Thomas beginning as the man of questions, and ending as a man with answers – and being called, because of this transition, “twin”.

Now for this double mind thing. There is an Arabic saying that a man who doubts is like one with his feet on two camels. Along coastal areas in the Mideast there sprang up the saying that a man who doubts is like someone with his feet in two boats. Both of these are precarious positions. Some might say, “unstable”.

And take it from someone who has had his spiritual feet on two boats, on two camels, split into two minds, it is tough, but it can end well.

Now If I were you, I’d go play that video one more time.

God bless.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymuss December 6, 2010 at 9:18 am

“It’s the continued doing in the face of doubt that leads to doubt’s undoing…” That is SO good!!!! Thank you Craig!

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Craig December 6, 2010 at 10:04 am

And it was a sentence that just pooped out – didn’t even know until I was done with it what it really said. That’s why I repeated it. It surprised me. I’m mostly only poetic by accident.

Merry Christmas A.

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Bonnie Shelton December 6, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I love this: It’s the continued doing in the face of doubt that leads to doubts undoing. Quotable. So true. Thank you, and may God continue this work in you, Craig.

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Craig December 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Bonnie

your encouragement is kind – I am blessed that you read – thankful for you

Merry Christmas

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Debbie December 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

So blessed by your teaching. I love your way of explaining what I need to understand and know. That it’s the doing that counts and undo’s doubt . . .priceless! Thank you!

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