Tough questions every American Christian will face at some point in life—that's a Gut Check:
All across this country, every single day, Christians ask themselves difficult questions. Some are born out of anger, others from fear or frustration. In many cases, those kinds of gut check questions can be crippling. Of all these questions, none causes more ulcers than this one, our final question in this series:
When you look over your life and consider
the problems that won't go away
or the spiritual lethargy you constantly struggle against,
do you sometimes ask yourself,
Am I truly saved?
Some gut check questions move from the gut and over the lips to be shared with others. I suspect this one stays buried down deep, rotting away. Questioning one's salvation isn't discussed in polite Christian company unless one wants to send that polite company screaming away into the night.
So people suffer under it.
I can't speak about your salvation. Unless we've fellowshipped in person, I don't really know you. Only God knows you.
But I will say this: people who struggle with this gut check question are typically not the ones who need to worry. People who aren't saved don't typically wander through the day burdened by the question. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
—2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
In context, this is to the people who question his ministry, the spiritually smug and complacent. But people who aren't spiritually smug, the very people who go around gut checking themselves on this question, aren't the ones to whom it is addressed.
Believe in Jesus Christ. Be baptized. Live out—no matter how imperfectly at this point in time—what the Lord reveals to you from the Scriptures and by His Holy Spirit in your life's journey. (Living it out is what separates real Christians from the demons, the ones who also believe, but don't live it—James 2:19, right?) Be at rest on your security, but always desire more of Him. Every runner in the race struggles, some more than others, but all that matters is finishing the race.
We can't test ourselves in each second. Just as you can't look at your son or daughter and see that they've grown since yesterday, so it's not possible to see spiritual progress in one slice of one minute of one day. Your life does not consist of just this one moment in time, and yet we often try to compare it against the entirety of time, especially if we are using another person as our gauge. We might think that Charles Spurgeon's life was so much more fulfilling, but none of us was considering him on that one Tuesday as he lit up a favorite brand of cigar in his private den and kicked back his heels.
If you're questioning your faith, then confess it, have faith in Christ, and pray that He will strengthen you more thoroughly tomorrow. He will honor that prayer. Even if you pray it every day. Especially if you pray it every day. Then one day, you'll look back down the road and see how far you've come. And curiously enough, this particular gut check may have vanished along the way.
Other posts in this series:
In the course of your lifetime, how many people have you led to Christ?
This is not a question most Christians in this country suffer well. In fact, I would predict that on first reading, an immediate objection of some kind or other crops up and the reader begins splitting hairs.
“Define led to Christ…”
“Well, people don’t actually lead others to Christ, the Holy Spirit does all the leading.”
“God doesn’t judge us on our ability to ‘win’ souls.”
We want to make a doctrinal statement, but we don’t want to answer the question.
I’ll answer the question: perhaps a dozen that I can be certain of. There could be as many as ten times that, but only a dozen or so come to mind. I have no doubt that I’ve been an influential sower, but as a reaper, not so much. Pretty sad when you think about it. Right now, the only person I’m actively pursuing in that regard is my own child. And since he’ll probably be our only child, that doesn’t make me much of an evangelist right now.
My lame excuse is that I tend to focus on discipleship. Give me the new believer and let me show them how to walk out their new faith. But when it comes to real evangelism that leads to conversions, I’m a stiff.
Sadly, I’ve got plenty of company. The church used to place more of a responsibility for Christians to be actively sowing and reaping. Nowadays, sowing gets all the buzz, and it’s a minute buzz at that. We think of evangelism as bringing someone to church to have someone else tell them about the Gospel. Us actually explain what we believe? No way. That’s why our church went seeker-sensitive, wasn’t it?
Twenty years ago, I routinely encountered people who tried to evangelize me. Today, it never happens. It’s been at least ten years since anyone’s come up to me and started into an evangelistic message.
There can be only one outcome from a Christians not sharing their faith. Those new folks in church this morning? Cannibalized from another church.
Gut Check #1: In the course of your lifetime, how many people have you led to Christ?
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Other posts in this series: