Faith and doubt

Despite being baptized in a WELS church as an infant and raised in the faith all my life, lately I've begun to question the validity of my faith. More specifically, I worry that my faith is based only on fear of God's wrath, rather than the promises of the gospel. I worry that my contrition is just self-pity and neurosis, and that the gospel is something I tell myself to make me feel better. Though I understand the concepts intellectually and appear to be religious to others, I worry that I have rejected God's blessings on a deeper, spiritual level. I even fear that my own worries are a sign of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; after all, if I had true faith, I wouldn't be so selfishly introspective and fearful. I'm not despairing yet, but I'm close. What should I do? Can I do anything?

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) That was the confession and request of a father who came to Jesus for help for his demon-possessed son. Many Christians can identify with that man’s words.

Because of the Holy Spirit’s working in our hearts, you and I profess faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. Yet, we know and confess that there is much room for growth in our faith. Doubt and worry can chip away at our trust in God. Doubt and worry often take place when we focus on ourselves. Doubt and worry can lessen and disappear when we focus more on the gospel of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:2).

That is reason why you and I want to immerse ourselves in the word of God—reading it in our homes and hearing it in his house with the congregation of believers. That is why we want to be frequent guests at the Lord’s Supper. The gospel in word and sacrament strengthens our faith and convinces us all the more that we are God’s redeemed children.

You would be served best by speaking to your pastor. He is in a position to hear your concerns and apply God’s word to your situation. Please don’t let fear of embarrassment prevent you from contacting him. Our pastors welcome opportunities like this to point people to Jesus as their perfect Savior. God bless you.