Falling Away from the Faith
Each of us has at one time or another questioned or doubted our faith. For some the questions turned into a period of walking away from God and for others those questions stirred a desire to want to know more. It can be difficult when we see friends or family members that were once “on fire” for God turn away from Him.
Here are some things you can do if you or someone you know is doubting their faith.
Ask the hard questions.It is good to ask the hard questions. You might want to write them down. Find someone or a handful of people that will help you find the answers to your questions. Start with a pastor or small group leader. Remember no single person is going to have all of the answers and God doesn’t always reveal to us the “why” behind all of our circumstances. There are also some great resources to help with your faith-based questions including Evidence That Demands a Verdictby Josh McDowell and The Case for Christby Lee Strobel. Both McDowell and Strobel were atheists on a mission to disprove the existence of God and Jesus Christ. They studied the claims of Christ and as they studied they discovered that Jesus was really who He claimed to be.
Ask God for a revelation.Ask Him to give you the faith that you need for your circumstance or to help you with your doubt. God is at work all around us. We often need to open our eyes to be reminded of what He is doing and Has done. If you are open to it, look through examples in the Bible of the people that doubted God including Saul/Paul. Think through what their life was like before God and how God met them in their doubt.
Surround yourself with others.If we surround ourselves with people who are negative and discouraging, we will eventually probably find ourselves sounding like them. Instead, find people that will speak truth over you and can encourage you to find the answers you need in your faith journey. Churches often host small groups where people can ask spiritual questions in a safe environment. This gives you the opportunity to ask those questions, get to know others who might be searching, and hopefully get the answers to some of your questions. If you have friends or family members that are searching, considering hosting a seeker small group for them. Make a meal or serve snacks. Have everyone write down their spiritual questions and designate questions that you are going to answer each week. You might invite a pastor or ministry leader to help answer certain questions too.
Reflect.Think through seasons or experiences in your life where God has provided or answered a prayer request. Remember we might go through seasons where we feel like God isn’t answering our prayers or is being silent. But the truth is that He will never leave us. Ask your small group leader or pastor if they have ever experienced a season of doubt and what God showed them during that time.
Pray.Pray for your friends or family members that have fallen away from their faith in Christ. Ask God to work in their hearts and bring them back to Him. Pray that the Holy Spirit would work in their hearts and that they would have spiritual understanding. Pray that God would bring other people into their life that would encourage them to seek Christ or if need be that God would do whatever it takes to draw them back to Him. That can be a difficult prayer to pray as it sometimes involves hardship, but often times people need to be stripped of everything in order to realize that God is the one that is in control.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”James 1:5-7