by Pastor Tim Burt
Renee and I were recently having a nice discussion over dinner—sharing our heart and catching each other up on our efforts to reach and touch more people for the Lord. As we talked, we discovered that we had each gone through a brief period of self-doubt. Everyone who loves the Lord and wants to be used by Him, experiences self-doubts from time-to-time. We do our best juggling the challenges of life we face and hopefully give it our best, and yet we don’t always feel like we are as effective as we want to be for the Lord. It’s in those times that the self-doubt show up!
Self-doubt seems to be triggered by seeing lesser results than hoped for, or little feed-back from those you are trying to help. That’s when the attack of fiery darts to the heart comes. Does anybody even appreciate what I’m trying to do? What am I doing? Why am I doing this? Does anyone really care? Am I a good person? Do I really have anything to say that people want to hear? Am I a good spouse? Am I a good parent? What do my kids really think of me? And on and on. Give place to Satan’s fiery arrows and they will keep on coming and go further than you could imagine!
Renee and I know the Word of God. We’re mature enough to recognize the source of these thoughts. They’re an attack from the enemy of our soul. We know what we should do with them. We are to cast them down in Jesus name! We are to focus on the depth of God’s love toward us, and on being the love of God to those around us! We stay focused on working hard at everything God has given us to put our hand to. We are to pray for continuing wisdom and help from Him! This isn’t about us. It’s about doing His will! We do not let these darts of self-doubt become seeds in our heart to grow. That would lead us to of the wrong places. And for that reason, entertaining them is not an option.
In the desert, Satan tried them on Jesus. “If you are the son of God…” He was trying to get Jesus to doubt who He was. Yes Satan was stupid enough to think that might work. Understanding that he tries, we must be aware of that fact that if he’ll try to bring self-doubt to Jesus, he’ll try to bring it to us!
My esteem has never been built upon confidence in myself. I know my shortcomings, my failings, and the areas of my life that need help. I know the limitations of my own ability. Before Jesus, my own ego and self-confidence produced a reckless and miserable life. So much for trusting in myself! But with Jesus and the revelation of His love and desire to help and work in me, I’ve grown in confidence—not confidence in myself but confidence in His faithfulness and love to always be with me and always help me! As Proverbs 14:26 NKJV says, “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence and it is in this place that those who belong to Him will find refuge.”
When Jesus was attacked and dragged off from the garden of Gethsemane, all his disciples panicked and abandoned him. All of them! But Jesus said that He wasn’t alone—that His Father had not abandoned Him. That is the lesson we all need to learn. That is the confidence I have gained over the course of my life in Jesus. God will not abandon me!
In our discussion that night, Renee and I reminded each other that we’ve both encountered very special and intimate touches of God’s love and encouragement in those moments of self-doubt. We both had storie of how when those moments came and the fiery darts hit, that as we talked to God, He always sent people across our path right at the perfect moment to encourage us and put those lies where they belong—in the pit! I’d preach a message that I just wasn’t sure hit the mark. Doubt would come. For 24 hours the fiery darts would come saying things like What are you doing? What makes you think you can preach to begin with? Give this Pastor thing up! It’s not your calling. I’d pray to the Lord about it and suddenly I’d get three emails and two voicemails from people who just had to let me know how much my message had spoken to their heart and changed their life and how extremely thankful they were! Renee told me she had experienced exactly the same thing. It’s that love of God reaching out to encourage us when the enemy of our soul tries to fill our mind and heart with self-doubt!
In the book of Judges, we read about Gideon. The people were crying out for God to help them. God sent an angel to Gideon. Why Gideon? I’m confident because of Gideon’s heart. God is always seeking the hearts of those who will live wholeheartedly for Him and serve Him. And so He sent an angel to Gideon. Gideon was a very humble man—not a confident in himself. But God was confident in him! God knew his heart! An angel came and spoke what God knew about Gideon’s heart to him—“The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12) Gideon experienced moments of self-doubt but God encouraged his heart continuously! It helped Gideon’s confidence and strengthened him in spirit so that he could obey and helps bring deliverance to God’s people. Satan was hoping to stop that!
We can ask God to encourage us in ways that only He could make happen. God knows that the enemy tries to discourage us and doubt ourself so we will lose heart and quit or give up. He brings the promises of His word to encourage us and uses others whether it be people or angels to encourage us in our faith. He touches our lives in ways that restore our strength and confidence to be used by Him. When you go through moments of self-doubt, just ask God to help you and then have faith He will. He is faithful and you will be encouraged!
Psalm 27:13-14 “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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