He is a liar and the father of liars.—John 8:44
There are many things in life that at first glance appear to have no point. Fear is one such thing; doubt is another. I have heard it argued that all fear is of the Devil and can serve no useful purpose in human life—but this is not true. Fear of being burned, for example, helps us avoid coming in contact with hot metals. Fear can have a positive purpose—and so can doubt.
Doubt, for one, can be used to help us detect error. We live in a world of which Satan is temporarily “prince,” and he tries his utmost to get us to believe his lies. Jesus was not merely being poetic when He described Satan as the “father of liars.” Half-truths and half-lies that masquerade as the whole truth are the Devil’s stock-in-trade. So because all things are not true, not everything should be believed. Some things clearly ought to be doubted.
One writer says: “The inescapable presence of doubt is a constant reminder of our responsibility to truth in a twilight world of truth and half-truth.” It acts like a spur to challenge us to find out the truth about a situation. It is precisely because all is not certain that we have to make certain.
Francis Bacon put it like this: “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” Doubt can act as a sparring partner both to truth and error; it keeps faith trim and assists us in shedding the weight of false ideas.
Gracious and loving Father, thank You for reminding me yet again that I can take anything that comes and use it to positive ends—even doubt. Help me to use my doubts as a sparring partner to keep my faith trim. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
2Pt 2:1-10; Tit 1:9-11; 2Tm 4:1-5
What will come in the last days?
How did Paul exhort Timothy?