There’s a huge difference between faith and doubt—far greater than you probably imagine. However, much of the distinction between them has been lost in the evolution of language. Today, many of us believe that not feeling strong is a sign of doubt. Others believe that wondering or questioning indicates doubt. Let me set the record straight.
And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. (Matthew 21:21-22 ESV)
If you have faith and do not doubt. There’s the rub. Am I right? That’s where so many of us often believe that we’ve missed it. We have faith, but then in a moment we doubt. We believe we have disqualified ourselves from receiving what we’ve asked for. And the fact of the matter is that we receive what we believe for. James states it like this:
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 1:6-8 ESV)
After many cases of failing to carry faith through into manifestation without any sense of questioning or wavering, many of us grow accustomed to failure. We stop trying. We stop believing for more. The problem, really, is that what we believe for is the limiting measure of what we typically receive. We are getting what we believe we deserve. If we believe we fail, we fail.
I want to encourage you to begin believing that you should receive what Jesus deserves. That is the very core of the Gospel! Through Him, we’ve received all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1).
The real issue is that you should not disqualify yourself by believing that you have doubted! Let’s look at what the words translated as “faith” and “doubt” truly mean.
Faith vs. Doubt
The original Greek words here for faith is pisteuō (Strong’s g4100), and for doubt, the word is diakrinō (Strong’s g1252). Modern English versions of the Bible have simply translated these words to “faith” and “doubt.” But the implication of the meaning of the original Greek words will reshape the way you think about the full depth of the concepts they represent.
The Greek word used here for faith means to commit to, or to entrust to. The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word (Rom. 10:17). Therefore, faith literally means to commit yourself to or entrust yourself to the Word. It means to believe the Word and to act upon it. It means to commit yourself to continuing to act in cooperation with the Word.
Doubt, on the other hand, literally means to oppose, separate, or withdraw from. it doesn’t mean to have a moment of questioning or wondering. It doesn’t refer to waking up the next morning and not feeling confidence. It means the exact opposite of faith. It is opposing, separating from, or withdrawing from what the Word says. It’s not feeling weak or unconfident; rather, it is completely opposing. It’s not simply wondering or questioning; rather, it is separating and turning away from.
Doubt is not a feeling, just as faith is not a feeling. They produce feelings, but they are decisions that are based on either committing to or opposing the Word.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.