Women of the Word: Doubtful Women


Doubt is a dangerous thing. Doubt is not only doubting the existence of God, but also doubting His power, promises or presence. Doubt can creep in out of nowhere when we least expect it, and in ways we don’t recognize as doubt. I sometimes find myself stressing out, anxious, panicked, and crumbling and in these times I have realized I was not putting my shield of faith up to combat those pesky flaming arrows the enemy was launching my way and so many of them stuck, setting my doubts ablaze.


In preparing ourselves for the fight against doubt we must remember that we are all in the midst of spiritual warfare. (Read more) Once you see this you begin to identify the flaming arrows of lies, folly and deception. The enemy and his tactics are very real; he is the king of lies and once you see that he is attempting to use your weaknesses to trap you it takes away his power and makes it easier to focus on God to help you fight back. It opens your eyes to see that you have a defense given to you by the King of Glory to combat these attacks and the doubt that it brings.


Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV

In scripture, we are described as “double-minded” when we face doubts, which we see James explain as someone who doubts and is “unstable in all his ways”. James not only bluntly explains doubt but also that drawing near to God is how we combat doubt. Through seeking God and rededicating our whole self to Him we equip ourselves against this doubt and make our way back to Him and His truth.


If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8 ESV

Strong’s G1374 - dipsychos:

  1. double minded

  2. wavering, uncertain, doubting

  3. divided in interest


There are several key ways to draw near to God and commit ourselves to him again and again. Through prayer we have a direct line of communication with Him, and through His Word we get to learn more about Him and His will, and He equips us with the wisdom and strength we need.


Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4 ESV

What the enemy also wants us to miss is the importance of edification, fellowship and discipleship. Through these tools that God provides for us we can stand against doubt, shoulder to shoulder with fellow believers as we work together to combat the attacks of the Adversary.


Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:14-20 ESV


Prayer

Prayer is personal, heartfelt communication with God. It is not getting God to do whatever we want Him to do, but asking Him to do whatever He has planned, to help us through all trials and tribulations in this fallen world, and praise Him for all that He does and will do for us. Praise is prayers of gratitude to Him and can remind us of all that He has already done for us, reminding us there is no reason to doubt Him and His faithfulness. Praying to God in times of suffering is vital to keep the communication and connection going with God. When you are not praying, you are not connecting with God. When you are not connecting with God, you create room for doubt to come in.


There are two different types of God’s will. The unconditional will of God is when God will do what He knows is right no matter what. The conditional will of God is when God waits for human involvement, cooperation or response toward His desires and design. We never know if we are facing a conditional or unconditional will of God, and we must pray at all times so that we may communicate with God about things we want Him to change on earth if it is His will. Being in constant communication with Him through prayer helps us align with and accept whatever His will is for us, conditional or unconditional.


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:13-16

Answers to prayers don’t often come in the ways we anticipate, and we must remember that God is in control even when we don’t understand the circumstances, answers to our prayers, or what seems like a lack of answers to our prayers. We should remember to pray for God to help us align with His will and plans, and to help us accept and obey whatever His will is for us even if it doesn’t make sense.


But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6 ESV
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Matthew 14:28-32 ESV
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26 ESV
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 ESV
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15 ESV
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise him in the midst of the throng. Psalm 109:30 ESV



Fellowship & Discipleship

Fellowship and discipleship both play pivotal roles in the lives of all Christians. God created us for relationships, and being in relationship with fellow believers helps us to build a stronger defense against the tactics of the enemy. Fellowship is essentially to be in relationship with fellow believers, doing life and growing in faith with one another, while discipleship is often more of a mentorship relationship between those who are newer in faith and those who are more mature in their faith in order to help one another grow on a deeper level. Both are designed to help all Christians grow in faith, edify one another, encourage one another in faith, life and prayer, and should help bring us closer in relationship to the Father through our relationships with His people, rightly prioritizing God in all aspects of our lives.


In English we may say fellowship or friendship but in the original Greek, koinōnia refers to the concept of communion or fellowship. This is an active, ongoing relationship between those who share similar beliefs.


Strong's G2842 - koinōnia - fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation


Fellowship can happen in lots of ways and is not limited to the corporate gathering of believers within a church building. While the purpose for gathering together to worship is to unite followers of Jesus in Biblical beliefs we should fellowship within our church, but should also have fellowship in our day-to-day lives where we spend most of our time as well. Some examples being with close friends, family, and within our hobbies and gaming communities. Surrounding ourselves with others that believe and affirm Biblical teachings allows for a defense to be raised around those who are in an earlier stage of faith by providing strong relationships with those who are more grounded in their faith. As fellowship grows, the stage is set for discipleship to begin.


And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17 ESV

Discipling is when someone with a more mature faith personally comes alongside someone who has less experience or understanding in their faith. Discipleship can also happen in a lot of ways, but is certainly a different kind of relationship than fellowship. Discipleship should definitely stem from some kind of a fellowship relationship and blossom into a God-guided mentor style relationship in order to further edify people in God’s truth and love. The purpose for discipleship is for members of the Body of Christ to be trained up in the Word of God so that we are better prepared for going out and making more disciples. The more personally invested we are in a discipleship relationship, the better equipped new disciples are likely to be when going out to add to the Body of Christ themselves. If we do not personally invest in disciple relationships we are at risk of sending people out ill equipped for the spiritual battlefield that awaits us all.


In English we may use the word mentor but in the Greek, mathētēs is used over 200 times to describe a disciple. A disciple isn’t just one that follows another, but rather one that is in a perpetual state of learning from another. Disciple is the only name for Christ's followers in the Gospels. In Acts, after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, disciples are those who confess Him as the Messiah. It was in Antioch that the phrase “Christian” or “little Christ” came about.


Strong's G3101 - mathētēs - a learner, pupil, disciple


And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. Acts 11:26b ESV

To be a Christian means that you are a disciple of Christ Jesus, dedicated to learning about and following His teachings and ways. It is the responsibility of all members of the Body of Christ to be constantly learning about and to teach others about the Gospel of Jesus. We do this first through fellowship, and then more personally through discipleship. Discipleship within the Church includes fellowshipping with other believers, but fellowshipping does not foster discipleship without intent and effort. Relationships must be developed and nurtured in a discipleship role as personally invested relationships are needed in order to fulfill the calling of discipleship.


If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. John 12:26 ESV
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

Age is not always applicable in discipling. While we can generalize that older generations are life mentors to the younger generations the same cannot always be said about faith mentoring. Maturity of faith is the requirement and age does not dictate that. Christian tenure does not automatically make someone qualified for the teaching position of Discipler. A discipler must possess a solid understanding of Biblical teachings and what the Gospel is as well as what it is not in order to combat false teachings and doubt, and to more effectively edify and encourage those they are discipling to.


Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray. Proverbs 10:17 ESV
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 ESV

As the Body of Christ we all have a responsibility to come up alongside others to lift up and exhort fellow Christians. We are all at various stages of our faith journey and should recognize when God calls on us to fellowship or to discipleship with those in our lives, allowing God to guide us every step of the way in these relationships. We should constantly seek to be edified in our faith and wisdom of the Word so that we can share what we learn with those God calls us to disciple to.


Edification

All members of the Church are commanded to speak the Good News of the Gospel to all people, but not all members are at a level of knowledge and understanding in the faith to teach someone. That is why we should seek constant edification by being constantly in the Word and working on our own faith.


We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:1-6 NKJV

Strong’s G3619 - oikodomē - (the act of) building, building up

  1. metaph. edifying, edification

  2. the act of one who promotes another's growth in Christian wisdom, piety, happiness, holiness

  3. a building (i.e. the thing built, edifice)


Through avenues of fellowship and discipleship, God develops faith and endurance while providing edification and support. Edification, while it is done in our personal relationship with Christ Jesus, is a tool that God uses in order to build up all members of the Body in order to endure and persevere through all seasons of life according to the will of God.


For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:36 ESV
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 ESV
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4 ESV

Edification is to help us grow in Biblical wisdom and learn to test and filter all things through the Word of God in order to rightly handle Scripture and apply it to our lives and share it with others. By failing to test and filter all things through God’s Word, and falling into false teachings, we risk falling away from Truth itself and therefore away from God and the life He calls us to live. (Read more) If we are not in a constant state of personal edification with a heart open to God’s will, guidance and correction we are in danger of not rightly handling or sharing the Word of God, failing in discipling, and not only falling into but leading others into doubt.


For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24 KJV
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1 ESV

Prior to taking on a discipling role, someone must first ensure that it is God’s calling for them and not a self-centered desire. Through discipling, the relationship between mentor and mentee becomes stronger, and tougher questions can be brought to the surface, studied and answered. Always filter teachings through the Bible, being able to cite and quote scripture that establishes Biblical teaching versus teaching based on personal opinions or convictions. Discipling starts with the basics and as faith grows, so too do the studies and discussions. A solid foundation of what the Gospel is and is not is fundamental in a new Christian’s development but should not stop there.


All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8 ESV
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, John 5:39 ESV
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 ESV

Conclusion

In developing a strong, personal prayer life, study habits and fellowship we can prepare ourselves for effective discipleship. Through all of these callings we share we can be edified in the Word of God and in relationship with fellow Christians, better equipping us all to combat doubt that springs up throughout our lives. We were designed for relationship, both with our Heavenly Father and also with His people, and there is immense importance in all of it. We are stronger when we lean on Him and the people He brings into our lives for these necessary relationships.


Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3 ESV
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2 ESV
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 ESV
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8 ESV
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 ESV

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