Skeptical: (adj) Inclined to skepticism; having or showing doubt.
I am always impressed with words and the connotations they provide. Take doubt for example. To say that you doubt something has a negative connotation. However, if you were to say you were merely skeptical, that would be different. Skepticism demonstrates a hesitancy to commit where doubt conveys concerns about the person or event of whom the commitment is being asked. Doubt is threatening because it implies that someone or something else is lacking. And while skepticism expresses the same idea, it feels different because the onus is placed on the skeptic himself.
To that end, many people venture through life expressing their skepticism, assuming that in doing so they can pass up and avoid things that might otherwise be a struggle without taking the time to address the issue or explore it personally to take responsibility for their own involvement. Maybe they were the cause and are simply trying to walk away. Maybe they have the solution but for some reason have no interest in sharing. Either way – a skeptic is born.
This isn’t to say that we should blindly run into the burning buildings of our lives. Our natural senses can be very helpful in protecting us from situations that should be avoided. The real problem of skepticism comes when it grows into a lifestyle. If someone quotes you a price and you think you could get it for less, be skeptical. However, refusing to go shopping because you believe that every salesman in the world is nothing more than a crook trying to rob you is totally different and dangerous. Skeptics miss out on happy marriages because they’ve never seen one or have so much pain packed into their baggage they think they know better. Skeptics abandon dreams of financial freedom because they are convinced that society is out to get them. Skeptics even allow themselves to accept less than what God has promised and provided them because the gift couldn’t possibly be so simple and bring them so much pleasure. This is unfortunate because this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Why are we so skeptical of God? What is it that makes us think He wants us bound in the chains of stress, poverty, guilt, worry, and loneliness? Scripture clearly dispels this myth. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 chronicles the blessings that God desires to shower upon the faithful. Nowhere in that segment does it speak in a tone that gives us any reason to doubt Him. Again, we live with our heads on straight, seeking God’s will above all and following it without fail so that we may, in the words of 1 Thessalonians 5: 21, “Test all things; [and] hold fast to what is good.” What we must understand, however, is that the test is not one we wrote, nor is it one we get to assess. God has set the rubric in place. His choices for us are sufficient and will bring us the outcome He desires for us – and how can we do better than that?
May the God of all wisdom and peace fill your hearts and minds with both. Seek out those areas of skepticism in your life that have left you frozen and unable to live a maximized life of blessings and joy, now and forever.