Do you ever wonder if the people you meet, your friends, co-workers, family members or even your neighbors are really Christians? Better still do you ever wonder if you are a Christian? If so you’re not alone many people have asked that very question. There are questions in life that are easily answered then there are those questions that pose more of a challenge being just a bit more difficult to answer than others especially questions about ourselves. If someone were to ask, “Are you employed?” if you are you would be able to show them where you work, present pay stubs, etc. Yes, you would say without a doubt I am 100% employed.
Other questions are not so easily answered. If I we are asked, “Are you a good husband/wife?” what immediately comes to mind for many are the times we’ve failed our spouse, acted selfishly, and been anything but a good partner. There is no real external, tangible, objective way to answer that question. We must rely on our feelings and speculations.
What about that question, “Are you a Christian, a Follower, a Believer?” You may be thinking it’s all the same thing, unfortunately it is not. You say wait a minute I believe in God and His word, that’s great! Even the demons believe –and shudder. —James 2:19 You may not know and understand all the deep theological truths of Scripture, and you may not understand all the workings of God in providence, but you do know in whom you have believed.
It is a tragedy that many people go through life without ever becoming acquainted with their Creator. To overlook this relationship is to miss the purpose for their existence and the greatest privilege available to mankind: knowing God. Even His followers can undervalue the honor of getting to know Christ more intimately.
If you are looking inside yourself to answer the question you will find a heart that is deceitful above all things -Jeremiah 17:9; a heart from which flow evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander – Matt 15:19; a conscience that testifies that nothing good dwells in you, that the evil you do not want to do, you nevertheless keep right on doing -Rom 7:18-19.
If you try to look at your “good deeds” to answer the question you will find that all your righteousness is as filthy rags – Isa 64:6; and if such be your righteousness, how dirty and defiled must be your unrighteousness. Look at your deeds and you will find that even when you have the desire to do good, you don’t have the ability in and of yourself to carry it out (Rom 7:18). Therefore by looking inside ourselves, or by looking to our acts of kindness, good deeds, or love of the neighbor, is to submerge yourself in doubt.
The answer is found not within you but within Christ. Our assurance is in his objective, external work of salvation on our behalf. Not in our hearts but in the heart, life, death and resurrection of Jesus it is in Him and Him alone that we receive the assurance that we are the children of God. This makes fostering a relationship with Him all the more crucial.
Take the Apostle Paul his all-consuming passion to know God caused him to count everything else as worthless when compared to the incredible blessing of knowing God. Though believers can accept Christ as their Savior, faithfully serve Him, and anticipate being with Him in heaven, many have no hunger to know Him in the here and now. How can you be satisfied with simply being saved yet have such little interest in the most gratifying relationship available to man?
Pursuing Christ with passion requires sacrifice—spending time with the Lord, surrendering our will, and knowing Him through suffering. Although salvation is a free gift, intimacy with God for some can be a costly process, but the rewards are invaluable and eternal. We are inundated with distractions that fill our minds and hearts, often leaving us indifferent about developing a deeper relationship with Him. Some people even substitute learning facts about the Lord for knowing Him relationally.
There are those who will say, “I pray all the time, I talk to God all about my day, I am always talking to God” yet these people do not speak of how God is changing or has changed their lives. They do not speak of a relationship with Christ or what they are learning from Him.
Do we still struggle as Believers? Of course we do, for we are far from perfect in this life. As a father once prayed to Jesus, so should we also pray, “Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief,” – Mark 9:24. Consider ways to carve out time each day to be alone with Him. As you go about your routine, seek His guidance and listen for His voice. You, too, like the Apostle Paul will eventually count everything else as rubbish compared to knowing Christ.