by Dr. Charles Stanley

Have you experienced so much failure that you’re afraid to try again? Have you ever felt alone, wondering if God cares about your dreams? Is it difficult to believe that biblical promises will really work for you? If so, you might be held back from pursuing your God-given purpose by what I call the roadblock of doubt.

Believing you can achieve a goal is vital to reaching it. The writer of Hebrews says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). After you receive His gift of salvation, obeying God includes pursuing goals He has designed for your life. Without faith in God—and without believing He will reward those who diligently seek Him—you will fail.

Perhaps you doubt because you lack understanding that God is with you always.
I encourage you to read aloud one of these passages of Scripture until you truly believe it:

Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Hebrews 13:5: “I will never desert you nor will I ever forsake you.”
Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

When I experience momentary doubt, I usually get on my knees, open my Bible, and read it aloud to God, saying, “Lord, this is what You have said in Your Word. I trust You to do this in my life.”

Another reason people doubt is their past failures. Most of us need to stop looking over our shoulders at past mistakes. By doing so, they carry guilt over sins the Lord has already forgiven and forgotten. If God has forgiven you—which He says He does every time you confess your sins to Him—then forgive yourself. (See John 1:9.) It isn’t possible to mess up so badly that God will reject you or turn away from using you.

Thinking that you’re a failure will cause you to act like one, and the things you attempt to do will miss the mark. Choose to lay down your defeatist mindset, and embrace your identity as a beloved, spiritually-gifted child of God.

Don’t wait for someone else to do what is really your responsibility. Too often people expect others to provide opportunities and blessings to help them succeed. God wants you to reach the goals He designed uniquely for you. Nobody else can do the believing or the work necessary to accomplish His plans for your life.

Take God at His Word. Many people read the Bible but then conclude, “That’s for somebody else.” What you read in the Scriptures is for you. Count on it.

Jesus gave us great encouragement about what happens to those who face life with faith rather than doubt. He taught that they could move mountains (Mark 11:22-24). Such a large feat may take time––in some cases, years or decades, but it is possible when a believer is yielded to the Holy Spirit and perseveres in His power.

Consider a young man who is called to a life of preaching the gospel. The Lord doesn’t say, “I expect you to produce 50 years’ worth of sermons.” Rather, the Lord says, “I set before you the goal of preaching the gospel as long as you are alive, as effectively and irresistibly as you can.”

The young preacher needs to say, “What does the Lord want to say through me to the people in my church this week?” With that attitude of trust and dependence, he is likely to believe God for a good sermon each week, one at a time. Then, if he lives long enough, he’ll have sermons for 50 years.

Focus your energy on short-range goals, where it will be most effective and potent. Over time, your faith will grow stronger as your goals become more challenging. Only as you look back will you be able to say, “I lived by faith.” And that, of course, is precisely God’s desire for you (2 Cor. 5:7).

Do you doubt your ability to reach God-given goals? If your answer is yes, confess your need to the Lord. Ask Him to forgive you. Then ask Him to help you move forward in your life. Push doubt aside, and act as the saved, Spirit-filled, gifted child of God that you are.