A Christian Student’s Toolbox #4: Overcoming Challenges to Your Faith

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A Christian Student’s Toolbox #4: Overcoming Challenges to Your Faith

I pray that by now you are enjoying your home church, are attending church regularly, and are enjoying the Sabbath. We have learned that being part of a church can help grow our faith. What about the rest of the week? What kind of tools do we personally need in order to overcome challenges to our faith that we encounter daily in the secular world?

For this article, I gathered strategies for overcoming challenges to your faith by talking to some of the boldest, most dedicated young Christians I know. These young adults have personally inspired me to nurture and grow my faith through their hard work as both young professionals and citizens of God’s kingdom. I took this approach because the strategies I’ve adopted to help me overcome challenges to my faith are ones that I have learned from closely observing other young Christians. I hope these strategies are useful tools in your journey of faith as they are in mine!

1. Pray, even during periods of doubt. Do you tend to neglect prayer when you are going through a time of questioning and doubt? We should still engage in the act of prayer even when we are experiencing challenges to our faith. In order to do this, it is necessary to first understand and believe that our God is an almighty God who has power over any of our troubles, doubts, or fears. Therefore, there should never be an instance in our lives that prevents us from engaging in the act of prayer; it is through prayer that we will find clarity and understanding.

If we take counsel with our doubts and fears, or try to solve everything that we cannot see clearly, before we have faith, perplexities will only increase and deepen. But if we come to God, feeling helpless and dependent, as we really are, and in humble, trusting faith make known our wants to Him whose knowledge is infinite, who sees everything in creation, and who governs everything by His will and word, He can and will attend to our cry, and will let light shine into our hearts. (Steps to Christ, p. 97)

2. Memorize and claim God’s promises. Read and memorize Scripture, particularly passages that will strengthen you in moments of fear and doubt. Knowing and reciting God’s promises is one of the most appropriate ways to overcome challenges to your faith. It is exactly what Jesus did in the desert when He was tempted. In the book of Joshua, we read about God directly instructing Joshua (and us) to keep repeating the words of Scripture:

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:8-9)[1]

This verse reminds us that God does not promise us a life that lacks fear and discouragement. Rather, He promises to never leave our sides when we experience fear and discouragement. We serve a loving God!

3. Believe that nothing will ever separate you from the love of God. When my faith is challenged, I often feel that God has separated Himself from me. These unhealthy and false thoughts typically lead to the weakening of my faith. Scripture, however, assures us that nothing of this world can ever separate us from the love of God:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

This verse is an incredible tool for overcoming improper thoughts about God’s love and connection to humankind.

4. Avoid engaging in debates about your faith. Some challenges to your faith will come directly from the people around you: people in your family, your friend group, or even your church group. These people may challenge your faith by asking you difficult questions regarding the existence of God or the credibility of the Bible. I have always been advised to avoid participating in such discussions because they typically result in argument.

If you are called to minister to people through debates, then I believe the Holy Spirit will give you discernment on what to say and when to say it. “For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:12). For the majority of us, however, it is important that we take caution and avoid being caught in the middle of these types of arguments. Our purpose is not to debate; our purpose is to minister. Hopefully through prayer we will know the difference and act accordingly.

5. Share your obedience to God with the people in your life. If you meet people with whom you are interested in developing a friendship, ensure that they are learning about the values of your faith as much as they are learning anything else about you. By doing this, you will avoid potential challenges to your faith that could stem directly from your friends.

For example, it you make it known that you don’t consume any alcoholic beverages as part of being obedient to God, you will be setting boundaries for what you can and can’t do with your network of friends. If you keep this information from them, you may be putting yourself in a complicated situation, which may result in the weakening and misrepresentation of your faith.

Set boundaries. Make it clear that you choose to be obedient to God. Let all who know you proclaim that you choose to serve the Lord above everything else. Remember Joshua’s words? “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Allow the Spirit of God to shine through your lifestyle choices!

You Can Overcome

One of the earliest stages to overcoming challenges to our faith is to consult God in prayer. We must to seek Him and allow Him to be our guide all the days of our lives. When challenges come, we need to remember and claim His promises. His desire is for us to be assured of His love and protection throughout the various trying periods of our lives. As we experience challenges to our faith, we should be reminded that no battle of this world has the power to separate us from the love of God. Once we secure strategies for overcoming spiritual battles that challenge our faith, we should also aim to change our environments so that they nurture the development and strengthening of our faith. We should pray to God for direction on what to say when the people in our lives directly challenge our faith. Finally, we should be unashamed about proclaiming the choices we’ve made as part of being obedient and faithful to our God.

Read the rest of the Christian Student’s Toolbox series!

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Notes:

[1] Bible texts are from the NIV.

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Bertilde “Bee” Kamana is a doctoral student in the department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas. In her spare time, Bee enjoys writing about faith as it relates to young adults. She aspires to shine God’s light in seemingly dark places.