Overcoming Doubt on the Path to Glory – Let Go and Let God!

Preached on February 18, 2024

Having doubt in your heart will prevent you from being able to enter into God’s rest. Scripture shows a heavy penalty to a generation of Israel that moved with doubt in their heart. So, overcoming doubt in the heart is a must for all who desire to enter into God’s rest. How do we overcome doubt? Join Pastor McCrary as he takes a look at doubt and the consequences to having a heart of doubt.


In order to follow Christ on the path to glory, your heart must be right with God.  In Hebrews 3:7-19, there is a word of encouragement and a word of warning about the heart (the soul).  In Hebrews 3:14, the writer encouraged his people to become partakers in Christ.  To be a partaker is to join in— to be in fellowship.  The writer’s goal is clear: he desired for his people to enter Christ’s rest (salvation).  

As we have seen, his people neglected the word of God which is the first step to eternal condemnation.  Some were drifting to condemnation (Heb. 2:1).  Today, we see that others began to harden their hearts in unbelief of salvation. 

12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.


The writer warned his people in my key verse:  “beware, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief.”  The writer was warning about lacking faith in the word of God and the promise of salvation.  Can one be in fellowship with Christ but doubt Him in their heart?  Doubt is something we must address today especially if we are trying to follow Christ on the path to glory. 

The Warning of Stubborn Doubt

The problem the writer faced is still a present problem today.  The problem:  people doubting God and the promise of salvation.  Not only do people doubt salvation but their doubt is being hardened through the deceit of sin.  This is a problem both outside the church and in the church.

The enemy of faith

The hardened heart is one that can no longer be persuaded or moved— it’s a stubborn heart.  It would be good if one’s heart was hardened against sin but it’s terrible to have a hardened heart against God.  You see, doubt is the enemy of faith.  Faith desires to push forward but doubt desires to stay back

There is a great illustration between faith and doubt recorded in Matthew 14:28-31.  In that scripture, Peter desired to walk on water with Jesus.  Scripture shows us a brief moment where Peter walked on water as he kept his eyes on Jesus.  Yet, when he took his eyes off Jesus and saw the boisterous wind, he began to fall.  

Peter began to fall because his fear quickly gave way to doubt.  Jesus said to him “O you of little faith, why did you doubt (Matt. 14:31)?”  Understand:  Doubt will sink you if you let it dwell in you for just a moment! 

In Matthew 17:16-21, the disciples were unable to cast out a demon from a boy though Jesus gave them such authority.  Why were they unable to cast out the demon?  Well, when they asked Jesus, He pointed to their doubting heart.

Jesus answered, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Paul said to the Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)!”  You cannot allow doubt to make a home in your heart because it will keep you from following Christ on the narrow path.  This means that with doubt will keep you from entering God’s rest.

Learning From the Trial in the Wilderness

Now, the writer referenced a rebellion in the wilderness to show the great danger of doubt (Heb. 3:8).  The rebellion is a reference to when the children of Israel were camping in the Wilderness of Paran (Deut. 1:19-46). 

After leaving Mount Sinai, the children of Israel arrived to Kadesh Barnea (Deut. 1:19).  Scripture tells us that at this point on their journey the Promised Land was now set before them (Deut 1:21).  Two years after leaving Egypt, the children of Israel could have possessed the land yet something prevented them from doing so.

Fearful to possess God’s blessing

Now, in Numbers 13:2, you might get the impression that God commanded Moses to send spies into the land of Canaan.  Yet, one would have to wonder, why would God need to have spies sent into the Promised Land?  God is God, right?  Surely He would know the land!

Deuteronomy 1:22 makes it clear that it was the people’s fear that led to the spies being sent into the Promised Land.  The people came to Moses and desired to send spies into the land to bring back a report about the people and the cities.  Now, most of us would see this as a necessary precaution since they were entering foreign land.

While the land may have been foreign to them, God knew the land.  This was the same land Abraham went to without questioning God.  Abraham showed that faith is about having complete trust in another.  So, I would wonder whether or not the people were truly walking by faith.  

I must ask:  When God sets a path before you, will you put all your trust in Him directing your path?  Now, of course there will be times when we feel it wise to take precaution.  However, when it comes to following Christ, we must learn to commit ourselves to following Him!  

In Psalm 37:5, David said, “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it, the way, to pass.”  One of the biggest problems many of us have is that we let our fear give way to doubt.  

This is a thought that reminds me of something my dad used to talk about.  Dad was one that never cared much for delaying when the Spirit laid something in his heart.  He would always say that when God puts something into motion and tells you to move, you shouldn’t delay.  Dad said that when one delays to move, nothing ever gets done and we end up missing out on a blessing.

Turning away from God’s promise

God permitted the children of Israel to send their spies but this only delayed them from moving.  When the spies returned with their report, all twelve agreed that the land was a good land (Deut. 1:25).  However, ten of the spies began to speak against moving to possess the land.

In Numbers 13:28, we will see that fear had turned into what Israel would be unable to do.  You see, the people that dwelt in the land were strong and the cities were large and fortified.  The spies also reported that the sons of the Anakim (giants) lived in the land as well.  So, the spies doubted Israel could overcome strong people, fortified cities, and giants.

If those things weren’t enough, the spies didn’t leave out that many of Israel’s enemies also dwelt in the land (Num. 13:29).  Oddly enough, some of the enemies, like the Amalekites, Israel had already defeated in the past.  Yet, the ten spies doubted that Israel could defeat them again.

The report of doubt discouraged the people.  As we see in Deuteronomy 1:27, the people complained in their tents that God hated them.  Doubt began to settle in their hearts and they began to believe that God was bringing them to a land to be destroyed!  How many of us have ever had a moment where we thought that God does not want us to succeed?  

There are many that begin to think this way when the going gets tough.  We start to think about how good things used to be before the difficulty of moving in a new direction.  Rather than keep going in the new direction God is taking us, we start to desire to go backwards.

In Deuteronomy 1:28 the people began to buy into the doubt that they could not overcome the stronger people.  They begin to doubt in their hearts that they could overcome the cities “fortified up to heaven”.  Even when Moses, Caleb, and Joshua encouraged the people to trust that God would fight for them, the people doubted God (Deut. 1:29-32).

Fear, at times, can be a very good motivator for one moving in a positive direction.  For example, in the fear of God’s judgment, I strive to live in obedience to His word.  However, one has to be very careful of fear that leads to doubt.  One has to also be even more careful of fearful words from others that lead to doubt.  You cannot prosper when you doubt!

God’s Judgment of the Heart of Doubt

Now, let us pay close attention to how God responded to the doubt of the people.  Deuteronomy 1:34, tells us that when the Lord heard the people’s doubt, He was angry and made an oath.

Forbidden from God’s rest

I want to be clear that this anger didn’t come out of nowhere as the children of Israel knew what God was able to do.  We have to remember, these were people that witnessed God’s works in Egypt.  Yet, those same people were doubting God going before them and fighting on their behalf.  They were doubting that God would get the victory!

God made an oath that not one of those of that evil generation would see the good land He promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deut. 1:35).  God doesn’t have to take oaths so when He makes an oath, it’s serious business!  The only ones that would inherit the land were Caleb, Joshua, and the children of the evil generation (Deut. 1:36-39).

Now, let’s not overlook the fact that God looked at those with the heart of doubt as evil (wicked).  Though doubt is part of our nature, it is something that we must overcome on the path to glory.  You see, when one’s heart is hardened in doubt of God, it becomes sin in the eyes of God.

God turned the evil generation away from the Promised Land because they doubted Him.  I wonder how many of us are being turned away from blessings because we doubt God’s delivering of the blessing?  

So, the evil generation was made to take their journey into the wilderness where they wandered for forty years (Deut. 1:40).  Doubt prevented them from entering God’s rest.

Now, after realizing the seriousness of their error, the people tried to make things right.  They determined within themselves they would fight as God had “commanded” (Deut. 1:41).  The problem with this is that this was too little, too late.  God even forbade them from trying to go up and fight “on His behalf” as they would be defeated (Deut. 1:42).

However, they were a hard headed generation of people.  They chose to ignore God, again, and went to the mountain to fight the Amorites (Deut. 1:43-44).  The people were humiliated in defeat and returned back full of tears.  In response to their weeping, scripture tells us that God did not listen to their weeping since they disobeyed (Deut. 1:45).

An illustration for today

The trial in the wilderness turned into an illustration for generations to come.  The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews warned in my key verse about the evil heart of unbelief.  You see, unbelief was the great sin of those that were in the wilderness.  Doubting that they could possess the Promised Land caused the people to depart from God. 

We are on the path to glory and it is a path that’s going to take us into the Promised Land.  No, we’re not going into the land of Canaan, but we are going into a land none of us have ever been into.  In order to get to that land, we are going down a path that we have no knowledge of.

What has been illustrated for us is that you cannot have a hardened heart of doubt and think they will enter God’s rest.  God will not allow one with a heart of doubt to enter His rest.  Not only will God not allow it but the heart of doubt wouldn’t be able to follow God.

Enter God’s Rest

You must not delay to follow Christ.  You must not wait until it is too late.  Jesus said that those who are cast into “outer darkness” will weep and gnash their teeth (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).  I don’t want you to be one who is weeping in eternal condemnation.

What is most frustrating is that there are many wandering down that same broad path today.  There are many wandering in a desolate wilderness where the only end is death and sorrow.  Even worse is that there are many wilderness “Christians”, and again, in the wilderness is nothing but death.  Follow Christ and get out of that wilderness!

Overcoming doubt

To follow Christ and enter into His rest, one must overcome doubt in their heart.  So how do we overcome doubt?

We overcome doubt by keeping our attention on Christ.  Again, we must learn to be committed to His way.  As Paul said, “to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21).  This is a statement that we must learn what it means and then live by it.

To overcome doubt, Peter said that we must learn to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God (1 Pet. 5:6).  To humble ourselves in this manner, we must learn to let go and let God.  We must let go of pride, ego, doubt, questions, and anything else that will hinder us from following the Lord.

When we let go and let God direct our path, we must continue to pay attention to Him so that we don’t get lost.  On the path to glory, we must also learn to be disciplined.  What I mean by this is that we must learn that we are the followers and not the leader!  Too often we get out ahead of God on a path we have no idea about!

So, we must learn to truly trust in the Lord.  As we have seen, such trust calls on us to submit ourselves to Him.  When we do these things, Jesus has promised that we will make it down the path of glory and enter His rest.  

So, if you have a heart problem today because of doubt, I encourage you, take these steps!  Don’t let doubt rule over you!

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