I imagine if someone had tried to sell Thomas tickets to a timeshare he would have been skeptical. It seems like Thomas’s personality lent itself to being more cautious, thoughtful, and at times, doubting. I imagine Thomas being more quiet, taking things in, and thinking things through. Of course I don’t know if this is what he was like, but we do know that he doubted. And sometimes he doubted God.
Of course, he’s not the only one. We all doubt God, and much of the time we don’t even know we’re doing it. This is especially true in regards to God’s goodness, providence, and provision. Some wonder if God is really at work for their good. Others fear He will not meet their needs. Some suspect He has forgotten them. Others even sometimes believe that God is involved in their lives to merely hurt them. We all at times struggle to believe. It seems that doubt is a part of faith on this side of the resurrection.
So how do we change? How do we fight against doubt and strengthen our faith?
Paul tells us in Romans that faith comes through hearing the Word of God. There are different ways in which we “hear” God’s Word, but all of them strengthen our faith.
- We hear by reading.
As Christians we know that our spiritual life is greatly dependant on our intake of God’s Word. That is why the Scriptures are compared to bread. It is what causes us to grow and stay strong. It keeps us from becoming spiritually sick or anemic. So everytime you open your Bible and read a portion of it you are feeding your soul. Whenever you read your Bible you are hearing God speak to you and your faith grows.
- We hear by listening to the Word preached.
While spending private time in our Bibles is very important, we also need to hear the Word preached. This has been the way of God’s people as far back as we can remember. Both in the Old and New Testament the people of God would gather to hear the Word read and explained. Our verse in Romans 10 is very clear about this. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.”
We must make sure that we attend biblically sound churches whose leaders uphold the Scriptures more highly than interesting stories and entertaining anecdotes; whose sermons are filled with proper and clear explanation of the text, and who help us see the practical applications and point us to Christ Himself. While stories are fun and maybe even funny, it is only the Word of God that changes, encourages, and grows our faith.
- We hear by studying Jesus.
I know this sounds weird, but John tells us that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (1 Jn 1:1). Then we find out that this “Word” is the same Word that created and sustains the whole world. When time was right, the “Word” took on flesh (1 Jn 1:14) and He was given the name Jesus.
How well do you know this Word? And I don’t just mean the major events of His life. Do you know what we gain from His life? From His death? From His resurrection? Do you know how His baptism pointed towards His death? How His temptation prepare Him to empathize with His people?
When you read your Bible or when you hear a sermon are you listening well? Or do you listen to the easy words and discard the hard ones?
Faith grows through hearing and receiving all that has been given to us in the Scriptures, by immersing ourselves in the study of Jesus Himself, by accepting the hard truths that Jesus proclaimed, and by resting in the good news of His forgiveness and righteousness.
Thomas doubted, but once his eyes were opened to who Jesus was, his doubt turned to faith. Faith gives boldness, and for Thomas, this meant that he gave his life for the good news of Jesus. Be encouraged! Thomas was not a super Christian. He was a normal man who was transformed by the power of Jesus through faith. You and I can be transformed just as much, but we must hear the “Word of God”.
Looking To Jesus,