Is Doubt a Sin?

In the past few weeks, I’ve been doubting my abilities at a more than usual rate. Being a creative soul, a musician, and a writer, I’m in a constant battle over whether my talent is “good enough” and lately this struggle has been at an all time high. Am I good enough of a musician to lead worship? Is my writing good enough to get me into graduate school? Am I good enough to achieve the goals I want out of life?

I’ve been craving affirmation like a camel craves Wednesdays (hump day!) and it dawned on me…

Is doubt a sin?

Now, I’m not talking about Big Doubt, like doubting God’s existence or Christ’s salvation and grace. No, I’m talking about Little Doubt, like whether or not the application essay I wrote for grad school will be good enough to get me in, or doubting my newly formed career path. If I doubt, even a little bit, am I being sinful?

When I doubt, immediately I think of Peter.

Poor Peter, he gets such a bad rep for being kind of a doofus. We see him in every light through the New Testament and I’m glad he left a beautiful legacy in his letters to the Church in 1 and 2 Peter. He ended his life as a total bad ass, but I think we can all relate to his experience in Matthew 14.

The story opens as Jesus is coming back from quiet time in the mountains. As He approaches the disciples (who are fishing in the middle of a lake) they see He’s walking on water. The rest is simple – Peter volunteers and walks on water with the Savior, but as a sliver of doubt creeps into his mind, he falls in.

“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31 NIV).

Why did he doubt?

Why do I doubt?

Doubt may or may not be sinful, but I can only speak for myself when I say that my doubt is a symptom of something deeper: faithlessness. Satan does a mighty good job at detering God’s plans for my life, or at least making me think I’m not worthy. If I take a single step towards growing the Kingdom, Satan is right there to block my shot. I’m Scotty Pippen and he’s Shaq. I’m Nancy Kerrigan and he’s Tanya Harding’s crazy ex-husband. (Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of Olympics on TV…and, yes I am a product of the 90’s.)

Faithlessness is what happens when I forget Who I belong to and Who rules this world. My anxiety should be less about my worth and more about His. After all, I am worthy because of the salvation I have in Christ and regardless of whether grad school application #3 is a winner or not, I am good enough.

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT)

“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24 ESV)

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