The Tactic of Doubt
3 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. (Genesis 3:1-7).
Doubt is a very useful tactic to shift someones focus from the truth onto something that someone else wants us to see and believe. The enemy lied to Eve, placing a seed of doubt into her mind about what God had really said. He made it look as though God had an ulterior motive for not wanting Adam and Eve to eat from the trees in the midst of the garden. The ulterior motive presented was that God did not want Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit because then they would be like God, knowing good and evil. The truth was that God did not want them to die but live.
1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be alert to the prowling of the enemy:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Sometimes relationships with coworkers, friends or family can be strained or fall apart because we feel there is an ulterior motive behind what they say or do when in fact that’s not the case at all. It’s understandable when a person has a habit of doing things that makes them untrustworthy and it’s hard to tell their true intentions. But when we begin doubting people we love, trust or are acquainted because of something we think we see or hear without questioning it or communicating with them, we have to take a deeper look. If the serpent was able to deceive Eve into thinking God had an ulterior motive for them not eating the fruit when He had done nothing to cause them concern, how easy is it for the enemy to do the same to us, causing doubt or twisting words? How easy is it for him to plant seeds of doubt in our minds in order to divide and conquer in families, workplaces and churches? How easy is it for him to to steer us in the wrong direction, to lure us back into our old way of life, to become discouraged in our recovery, or to turn us away from God simply because he planted a seed of doubt, watered it and once it grew we ate the fruit, fully believing the lies and deception?
We must always question the doubtful thoughts that come into our mind because God does not plant doubtful thoughts and he is not the author of confusion.
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:33)
Not everything is always as it seems when we look at it from a surface level because the enemy works on the surface through our vision, hearing and emotions. We must learn not only to question what we are seeing or hearing to seek the truth, but more importantly we must learn to seek God for the truth and allow Him time to provide it. We must always seek His wisdom in every situation and without doubting because when we do, we will not only receive it but it will help us to discern truth from lie.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5-6)