A young woman confides to a friend about the confusion of her heart, her voice heavy with the weight of her doubt. “I’ve been in church all my life, just like my parents and grandparents before me. I rarely miss a service. But sometimes, I’m not sure what I really believe about saving faith in God. I mean, am I doing this right?”
Another woman reviews her family’s calendar and feels a sense of dread at the busy schedule ahead. Each entry on ink-filled boxes contains a good activity. Church work. Community service. The children’s sports schedules. But despite a full calendar, she fights a vague sense of emptiness and longing. Why am I restless? I’m busy serving others, but I’m so unfulfilled. Even with all this “goodness,” I feel … empty.
Most people claim to know and love God but are unsure they are doing the faith thing, “right.” What is enough to find favor with God? Is there a way to know for sure that faith in Christ is authentic? Is there really a difference between living a good life and a having a relationship with God?
Genuine faith in Christ Jesus occurs when someone recognizes their unworthiness before a Holy God, confesses and turns from their sin—falling short of God’s holiness (Romans 3:23)—and then makes a conscious decision to live for God each day. Authentic faith is much more than long-standing church membership, good deeds, and simply living a “good” life.
Romans 10:9-10 states, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
A true relationship with God through Jesus Christ is a decision of the whole person—the heart, mind, and soul—through the drawing power of the Holy Spirit. We believe in our heart that God sent His only son, Jesus, to die on a cross for our sins—thereby bridging the gap between sin-filled mankind, and a Holy God (John 3:16, Romans 6:23). We acknowledge that three days after his death, Jesus rose from the grave, defeating sin and death and restoring us to a right relationship with God (1 Peter 1:3).
We all experience seasons of doubt in our walk of faith. But just as a doctor checks our physical health by monitoring our pulse, taking a quick “spiritual pulse” will do wonders for our confidence in Christ. Here are five spiritual checkpoints to help us grow in Christ-centered confidence:
- We have a desire to walk in holiness. When doubts about the genuineness of our faith slip in, Philippians 2:13 is a go-to power verse. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” This is exciting news for the child of God. When we are moved to love God and others, it’s not because we’re so amazing, but because God is moving in us to accomplish His will and purposes. This desire to honor God is proof positive of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Oh, how affirming!
- We bear good fruit. How do we know if an apple tree is healthy? The tree gives (bears) delicious apples for us to enjoy! The same is true for authentic faith. If we are in relationship with our Creator God, the evidence will show in our “fruit” or our actions. Are we living in joy and hope? Scripture tells us that the “fruit” of a Spirit-filled life is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Do we display a life of healthy fruit or are our branches clothed with the dried leaves of anger, bitterness, and selfishness?
- We walk in forgiveness and love. Allowing a bitter root of unforgiveness to spread unchecked through our hearts and minds is a quick way to live a life of angst and frustration. Ephesians 4:32 calls us to be kind and compassionate and to forgive others as we are forgiven in Christ. When we extend grace and mercy to family, friends, and others, we are modeling true saving faith. And the resulting freedom is a treasure of infinite worth.
- We long to know Christ more. If we truly love Jesus, we want to spend time with Him through prayer and in study of His Word. The more we learn, the more we realize the depth of our ignorance and poverty. And the most fascinating aspect is that the closer we grow to Him the hungrier we become for His presence and for time in His Word.
- Our love for God overflows to others. 1 Corinthians 13 is sometimes referred to as the love chapter. These verses are a roadmap of the way of love—how to let God’s love flow through us to those around us. If we profess to love God but neglect to love His people, true love—and genuine faith—is not in us.
As we check our spiritual pulse, we may discover that our “spiritual signs of life” are simply weak, and we need to feast on spiritual food—time with Jesus and His Word. Fellowship (dedicated, purposeful time) with other Christians is also important. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
5 Spiritual Checkpoints to help us grow in Christ-centered confidence. @lthomaswrites #womenoffaith #lifeTweet
Jesus came to offer us life—abundant, full, and free (John 10:10). He did this by laying down His life—stepping in front of our death penalty, and by paying the ultimate price for our sin. We can have assurance of genuine saving faith and we can walk in confidence under the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Because knowing we are created for relationship with our Heavenly Father and that He designed us for a unique purpose is the greatest adventure we can experience. Each new block on our calendars will simply be another opportunity to walk, commune, and rest in the One Who promises to flood our hearts with never-ending joy.
Knowing we are created for relationship with our Heavenly Father and that He designed us for a unique purpose is the greatest adventure we can experience. @lthomaswrites #purpose #faithTweet