Until a year ago or so, I lived my life only half believing I was truly considered one of God’s chosen children, bought and paid for. I was always so aware of my sin- and, filled with self loathing-was not been able to believe I could take God at His word. Others could but for me, it seemed hopeless. I’d go on living with my fingers crossed that I am truly His. Or this is how I thought for basically 24 years.
I’ve always loved God and wanted to live for Him so it wasn’t as though I was living a purely ritualistic, empty faith with no joy or moments of assurance. Even in the most trying of seasons, I have never once discarded my desire to follow Christ…even when fellow “Christians” have ridiculed me for standing up to anti-God or anti-biblical teachings whether in the class room or in one-on-one conversations. No, I’m not claiming to be a Daniel or a Paul but I have lost out on the popularity ticket because when push comes to shove, I’d rather stand up for God’s truth then be liked.
How then has consistent assurance crept into the picture only recently? Why would I live for something so long that in a sense offered me no real peace? I suppose that thankfully, I always grew up with the belief that we are hear for God, not He for us, therefore diminishing my expectations for a take it or leave it faith-immediate gratification or bust. We are to glorify and worship Him through thick and thin. And perhaps even more importantly, it is how I we live out this Christian walk daily, not when or how I was saved, that really counts.
Let me dig even further…
For the bulk of my child hood, I was surrounded by individuals of the Dutch Reformed persuasion who believed they gained salvation through infant baptism. They were, then, theoretically Christians from the time they were a month or two old. They lived an exclusive faith. I and my family were looked down upon as we were first of all, not Dutch and secondly, not saved as we believed in salvation through faith alone, not sacraments.
Next, the pendulum swung us to the far opposite end of the spectrum…to the Baptist church. There, everybody was saved by faith in the finished work of Christ yet it seemed were always being saved and re saved and re saved. Rededicated. Always carrying with them an exciting, harrowing testimony of darkness to light that would make for great and glorious entertainment but always left me wondering…okay…so is this what being saved looks like? What if you’ve just always walked a fairly even path? What if you don’t even know the exact day, hour or minute it happened but you feel certain you have been changed and have no desire to live any other way?
It is still something I have to regularly process, so trained am I in thinking that somehow, assurance of salvation has eluded me. Yet having a new start in New York and seeing how good God has been to us here, truly showing us that this is where he wants us to be in this time of our lives. Blessing us with relationships at church that are real and natural and true. His love has been made more real than ever before to me and how can that alone not make me feel safe and secure that I am His and He is mine?!