God does the same today. He doesn’t force faith. Even though His followers wish He would, He isn’t in the habit of high-pressured sales. Though He is sovereign and nothing happens except that He allows it, He also doesn’t force ownership. His hand isn’t on the back of your neck forcing you to your knees.

As you well know, you can reject Him, disown Him, and walk away from Him and you won’t be struck by lightning. He never said you would. He never said that rejecting Him was an impossibility, or instantly punishable by plague or death. If that were the case then the men who hung Jesus on the cross would have been zapped. But God allows and even uses the rejection of Himself by men to His glory.

After all, the cross—the focus of all of God’s Word, from beginning to end—was made possible by the very men who believed they were thwarting the work of Jesus. But even their rejection of Him was not only allowed but meant to be. You might think that you have hardened your heart, but the truth is that God is the one who chooses whom He will save and who will reject Him. So even the freedom that you feel, the doubt you have, would not be yours if He had not allowed it. As it says in Romans 9:18, “He has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” (esv).

 

Own It

So, why a book on owning your faith if it is God who ultimately decides the fate of your heart? Why would we even bring up the subject of salvation, of faith, of belief and doubt if we were only pawns in God’s game of life? Those questions are valid and are ones that have sparked centuries of debate, argument, and even wars. Should we spend time talking to you about your doubts, cajoling you, disowning you, fighting for you, or should we just let God do with you what He would do? You’ve probably already guessed our answer because you’re holding a book we wrote on the subject.

But to make it clear—“yes,” we should spend time helping you with the doubts that plague so many when it comes to faith in the unseen, and “no,” we should not and will not cajole, disown, or fight you to faith. As the story of the prodigal made clear, God is a not a God who strikes the doubter dead. He is not a God who forever rejects those who reject Him, but He is a God whose love and power, goodness and kindness is enough to outlove even the most terrible of cynics who wants to believe. Romans 5:8 tells us that Christ died for sinners, so your doubt does not exclude you from ownership. You may doubt God’s love or even His existence, and you might think that excludes you from faith, but doubt isn’t as foreign a concept to faith as some would have you believe.

Each one of us doubts, we doubt that God can heal our wounds; we doubt that He would really ever let us move a mountain; we doubt that we can overcome our addictions and obsessions even though His Word promises it all. Doubt is a part of the human condition, natural to the state of man who, like an ant trying to figure out the inner workings of a nuclear power plant, is incapable of understanding even the most rudimentary of descriptions of such a powerful entity. Your doubt doesn’t exclude you from faith, no matter what you may have heard—it simply proves your humanness and His unfathomable Godness. But doubt doesn’t have to define you or rule you but rather it can be the fuel for discussion, study, and prayer. In order to own your faith, you have to continue the conversation.

You have to allow yourself to be wrong, to question and to be taught. As long as you remain unteachable, rigid in your disbelief and doubt, you will remain in limbo, unable to firmly stand on your either conviction or suspicion. But in either case, to own one or the other you must ultimately be owned by your belief. You are owned by your faith or doubt when you turn yourself over to it fully. When you are fully owned by your disbelief, then there is no further discussion that needs to be had between you and the God you once trusted.