Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Evidence of Salvation.. How do I know I'm saved?

A couple of days ago, a radio personality posed a question to his listeners.  He said a man had called into the radio station and confided that he often struggled with doubts of his salvation. The radio personality also revealed that he often struggled with the same questions, so he asked the radio community... How do you know you're saved?

Calls immediately poured into the station.  One caller stated, as long as you truly believe, there shouldn't be any questions. Of course this was soon rebutted by James 2:19.

"You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!"

Obviously there is more to it than just believing.  So others added Romans 10:8-10

".. “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. " 

Confession is a HUGE part of salvation.  We MUST confess. However, to me this didn't answer the caller's question.  "How do I know for sure?"  Make no mistake, satan will always come with worry, doubt and fear.  He will do whatever it takes to destroy faith.  For "by Grace we are saved through faith."  Satan will always be there to TRY to produce doubt to the point of unbelief for ALL of God's promises.  To me, this was the real question,  how can we be certain?   God brought 2 Corinthians 5:17 to my mind.

"17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

So I called in and added this to the conversation. 

"With confession & belief, also comes evidence. How do I know I'm saved? How does a butterfly know he's no longer a caterpillar? I trade my legs for wings. Suddenly I'm able to soar above life's struggles. I'm a new creation. My desires change. My heart changes. My outlook on life completely changes. I no longer want to crawl in the dirt, my eyes are now focused on higher things. My old wants & needs are obsolete. Darkness disappears & light fills my heart. I become a reflection of Jesus. I am suddenly able to love the unlovable. Forgive the unforgivable. I have unexplainable joy and peace in the midst of disaster. I know I'm saved, because the old me no longer lives. Jesus lives through me!!"
When he replayed my response on the radio, I was shocked.  Afterward, he applauded my answer as  "beautiful."  But then he stated he wanted to make one thing very clear, "life is not perfect."  He replayed my response again as listeners called to back his insinuation that I conveyed the message of a perfect life.  As my oldest son and I listened to the calls, we looked at each other shaking our heads in disbelief with a smile on our faces. If anyone knows life isn't always perfect as a believer, surely it's me.
I've endured the earthly loss of two siblings by two separate car accidents.  I endured heart surgery as a child. My daughter was briefly placed on the heart transplant list (And later removed thank you Lord) and we were given little to no hope by the doctors. I've also faced many obstacles in my marriage. My life has been anything but roses and daisies. So..  I was disappointed that I failed to make my message more clear.  I was saddened that they had missed my point entirely. 
Obviously, if I mentioned things such as joy & peace in the midst of DISASTER or being able to soar above life's STRUGGLES, then it should be obvious I do not think life is perfect. 
Here's the thing... while we were in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with Serenity, the nurses use to request being stationed with our family.  They would actually argue over who got to take care of our daughter.  They would often comment about the different atmosphere.  In the PICU they would see & hear a lot of gloom and doom on a daily basis. I often saw the wear and tear of such heartbreaking stories on their faces. I also noticed the way their faces would light up when they entered our room. They quickly took notice to the way we were still able to laugh and joke with them.  They loved the way we were not overcome with  worry, fear & stress, so it wasn't hard to treat them with kindness & respect.  They felt something around our daughter's bed that they seldom felt in their line of work.. Hope. (Confident expectancy) They felt the EVIDENCE of our salvation, the EVIDENCE of someone whose complete trust is in a risen Savior.
"..they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."  Isaiah 40:31
 Did you know, while other birds seek shelter from the storm, the eagle soars above it?  I have often felt this sense of rising above life's circumstance.  I can see the raging winds and waves but I'm somehow completely unaffected by them. It's as if, I'm lifted up, looking down on the storms of life.  
I've often spoke of the struggle I had with casting aside the "what ifs" of  Serenity's valley.  I've told you how I desperately sought God for complete assurance and then once I had it, nothing or no one could take it from me.  The doctors thought I was in denial.  They would throw all these facts and predictions my way and yet, I remained completely untouched, with a smile on my face. I knew but I knew but I knew. All doubt was gone. One doctor said.. "You just don't understand."  I replied. "YOU don't understand how BIG MY GOD IS!" I was able to soar because I sought HIM until I was able to truly Wait (completely rest in trust) upon the Lord.

In another incidence, someone hurt me.  They knew they were in the wrong and they expected me to react in anger.  The human part of me wanted to claws their eyes out but as I drew close to them, something happened. The Spirit within me took charge.  My heart changed and for whatever reason, I decided to wrap my arms around them instead. At that moment, GOD loved them through me.

I have seen tragedy.  I have faced hardship, but I have overcome them all.
We serve a RISEN Savior of Love.  He is alive. He is HIGH and LIFTED UP and HE LIVES IN US.
"17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world."  1 John 4:17
If we are as He IS and He IS High and Lifted up,  then what does that make us?  If we are not walking in the power of His resurrection & feeling the evidence of a RISEN Savior, then we need to walk a little closer.  If we do not see evidence of being a new creation, by having a new desire to fly out of the miry pit of sin and soar into a life of holiness, then we need to question the condition of our heart. Jesus said.. "My sheep know my voice. I know (dwell within) them & they follow Me." We follow Him to the cross daily as this flesh continually dies out and we follow Him to the heavens as He rises us above our trials. If we are not walking close enough to hear His voice & follow, then we need to seek Him until we do!
How do I know I am saved? I'm a new creation. You see..  I traded my legs for wings!