Wrestle with Assurance

I gave my life to Christ when I was ten years old. I was in a Baptist church, and they talked about hell and scared me to death. I did not want to burn in flames, so I thought I would buy my insurance policy and get out. I raised my hand and went down, and nothing changed.
My life was still the same. Nothing changed at all about who I was. No one taught me how to know the Lord and have intimacy with Him. I continued on the same path I was on. I kept going to church. That is what I thought knowing God was all about. I thought it was all about going to church every week, paying your tithe and serving, going to Sunday school classes, and reading your Bible—if you could understand it. 

For me, I couldn’t understand it. I wanted to read the Bible. I read it, and I was like, “What are these words? I can’t even pronounce them.” I wasn’t that great of a reader. I probably should have been in a reading class for slow readers. I didn’t want to be labeled with a disability, although I felt like I had one. I couldn’t read the Bible. I couldn’t pronounce half the names that were in it. So I continued in my life and called myself a “Christian,” but I was like I was before. Nothing had changed.
Now, the Bible says when you become a Christian, you become a new creation. I wasn’t a new creation. Was I saved or not saved? I didn’t know. I had a lot of confidence that I wasn’t going to hell. It wasn’t until later in life when I read John 17:3 that my eyes were opened. It says eternity—in my opinion, heaven—is truly knowing God. It doesn’t say eternity is a place called heaven where you will go some day after you die. Eternal life is knowing God. 

What an eye-opening moment it was. Oh my gosh! This whole time, I thought being a Christian was about going to a destination upon death. But actually, being a Christian is about a destination in your heart that begins the moment you receive Jesus as your Savior. It’s a door opening to knowing God, and knowing God brings you life. Unbelievable. I had no idea. I kind of felt betrayed, honestly, by my church and all my teachers. Like, “How did I not know this? How did I live all these years completely clueless?”

So then I started to clue in that my life was a wreck. I had broken relationships. I’d basically broken every commandment in the Bible. I was like, “I’m supposed to be a Christian, but yet, you know, I don’t even get this. I’ve done everything wrong. What in the world?” So I made a decision. “Okay, God. I don’t know what I am supposed to do to be Your child, but I do know I have to stop breaking Your commandments. I have to stop going in the opposite direction of You. I actually have to pursue You and try to find You.” I tried. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (NIV). I started seeking God. I changed everything. I stopped going out. I stopped drinking. I stopped partying. I stopped sleeping around. I stopped everything. I started seeking God.
Unbelievably, I found Him. I started to realize He had been there all along. He was a God who would basically partner with me and be with me. He would help me shut my mouth when I needed to. He would help me do the right thing. He would be my helper and my friend.
Yet, even still, I went to church. I sought God. I started tearing through my Bible, reading the Word and asking tons of questions because I didn’t understand. See, I didn’t feel qualified to know the answers. I thought, “These people who are pastors, they went to school. They are qualified. They know the answers. They are the ones. If I could just get them to help me make sure I know God, then I will feel better about it. If I can just have that assurance.”
I found myself. I knew I was pursuing God at this point. I thought I was a Christian, but I still had this little percentage of doubt. Do you have a little percentage of doubt? That little percentage of doubt agonized me. Is this truly the right way? Is this the way?
I would take my teacher—she was a pastor and had all these young people in there— and I would ask her question after question after question. I came to realize that I can never get my assurance about being in Christ from another human being. It is impossible. They don’t know me. They don’t know my heart.

But I wanted it. I wrestled with having assurance that I was truly a Christ follower. I sought so hard. I sought man. I looked for man’s opinion. I asked pastors, “How do you know? How are you sure?” I asked the questions over and over. I drove my class insane. They were so mad at me that it ended up creating a feud. I kept asking, and I kept pursuing. It was like, “I have to know!” I have to know God has forgiven me for my past, for breaking all of His commandments.
But you know, no one ever taught me the law was for sinners, for before you received grace. Once you have received grace, you are not under the law. You are under grace. Christ became the cursed for you. God is not mad at you. I had never heard that message. I couldn’t forgive myself. I wasn’t walking in grace. I was still walking under the law. I never felt the fullness of forgiveness, so I wrestled with assurance.

Have you wrestled with being sure? Are you sure? How do you know? How can you be sure? We are going to continue this tomorrow on this blog.

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