Fear of the unknown is a genuine fear. So not knowing where you stand with God can be debilitating. What follows will either serve to confirm that God has saved your soul or that you need to fall to your face and discover God's love for the very first time.
Why is this so important? Deception is a tactic Satan uses incessantly. He'll deceive some into believing they are truly "born again," when they aren't (Matthew 7:21-23). And he'll also try to trick others into thinking they've never experienced salvation when they may have.
My personal experience is that good churches are filled, or half-filled, with people who don't know Jesus personally. They haven't experienced most of what you'll find here. But some are genuinely transformed and just need a shot of hope and truth that they're on the "narrow path." Jesus calls those who are saved "friend" and invites them into an adventure – never questioning their salvation again. Where do you stand with God?
The following are discernible characteristics of authentic faith. These characteristics are just that – not perfectly reflected in us at all times but truly characteristic of us, and we know it to be true. Some of these God reveals more clearly over time, but you readily agree that all are true or must become true of you as you grow. Here are your NINE WAYS TO KNOW:
- You believe that God's plan for your life is best, that God alone can turn your life around, and that you cannot receive this life or earn it apart from God. Genesis 15:6
- You know it's God's righteousness and not yours that saves you. That it's Jesus' righteous life and death that paved the way for the salvation of your life. You're so convinced of this that as a child of God you know who gets the credit and you're eager to admit it. II Corinthians 5:20-21
- You feel deep conviction and sadness when you sin (miss the mark). You desire not to let this sin become a pattern of behavior in your life. Deep conviction of sin is evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in your heart. John 16:8
- You are willing and ready to claim Jesus as your savior. You don't shy away from boldly stating if asked, that Jesus is the one who saved you from your old life. Your relationship with Jesus is cherished, and you're willing to talk about it. Matthew 10:32
- You have a hunger to obey the teachings of Jesus. Your passion to know and apply God's word is not out of pride or obligation, but knowing that God wants you to stand firm through the storms of life. You know that neglecting to obey God's word is costly, so you aim to understand and apply truth. John 14:23, Matthew 7:24-27
- You know that your ability to produce good fruit and attractive behavior is dependent on your proximity to Jesus. You are fully aware that if there is light shining out from you, it is God at work in you. You know for sure that apart from Jesus, you can do nothing to produce fruit in your strength. Matthew 5:16, John 15:5
- You love to be truthful with God and walk in his light. When walking in sin, you don't lie about it, but you admit it and return to the light of truth. One of the greatest joys you have of walking in the light of truth is the deep connection you make with God and his children. You desire to connect with God and his kids. I John 1:3,6-7
- You desire to live a life that is purified by God. Sin will never be eradicated from our life here on earth. But you don't want patterns of sin to persist. I John 3:3-6
- You are an overcomer! You have seen God change you and give you victory. You know it is God's work and not yours. Faith in God is powerful, and you know it to be true. I John 5:4
Do you stand with God on these? I trust the Holy Spirit to work in your heart. If you need to surrender your life to God, do so right now. Ask him to forgive your sin, cleanse your heart, fill you with his life and power, and confess him as the new leader of your life.
These nine characteristics give us a way to both know where we stand and to move in our relationship with God – growing in confidence, not stumbling, and getting a champions welcome into eternity. I Peter 1:10-11
God speed to you,