I’ve been abundantly blessed to grow up in a home that places Christ at the center. From a young age, my parents have taught me about sin and my need for a Savior. At 8 years old, I knew I was incapable of doing what God desired because of my sinful flesh and desired to love and serve God, and belong to Him alone. I went to my dad to tell him that I knew I wanted God to save me from my sins. He talked with me, asked me questions, and then prayed with me. After confessing my sin to Christ, praying for Him to save me and fill me with His Spirit, I remember being so joyful as I went to share the good news with my mom and siblings!
From then on I began to read my Bible; I began to share about Jesus with my neighbor friends. I organized “Saturday Bible clubs” where I tried to share truth about God. I gradually noticed changes in my attitudes and life. I was confident that I was a born-again Christian.
Through sermons and testimonies the question was brought to my mind: “What if I’m not a true believer?” Several times I proudly declared in my mind that I must be. I mean, I had to be. As the pastor’s daughter I couldn’t just admit to my family and church that I had been faking it! What would they think?
It was that horrendous pride that kept me from examining and searching my own heart. With other idols beginning to manifest themselves in my heart, I neglected being in the Word and having a consistent daily time of prayer.
By God’s grace He used things like sermons by Paul Washer, his wife Charo’s testimony and Homeschool Dropouts to urge me to test to see if my salvation was real. I still tried to push it aside, to ignore the gentle prodding of the Spirit.
But I was brought to a point when I couldn’t run any more. I couldn’t keep living how I was living. On January 1, 2010, the Lord brought me to my knees in humility and brokenness. I knew where I needed to go, and began reading 1 John and various passages from Romans, meanwhile crying out to God to forgive me and save me. Seeing my complete wretchedness and sinful heart, at that point I honestly thought I wasn’t saved. After about an hour of reading, confession and crying out in prayer, God brought me to Romans 4:7-8:
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
What a sweet reassurance for a believer! I had confidence that God had forgiven me. But at that moment, I wasn’t sure—was this assurance of salvation or salvation? My parents helped me by asking me questions and encouraging me to ask God to unveil my heart and motives. Because at that point I could convince myself either way. I had reasons that I thought evidenced God’s work in my life—changes and desires that had changed. Things He had taught me. But at the same time, I saw things that could persuade me that I wasn’t a true believer, and because my salvation was at such a young age, I questioned if I even understood what I was supposedly committing to. But I didn’t want it to be what I decided; I wanted it to be what He showed to me.
It was a long 5 days as I prayed, read the Bible and asked God to reveal my true motivations, desires and heart to me. After all the heart is wicked and I didn’t want to deceive myself into something that wasn’t true. But throughout that time I had great joy and peace, knowing that I was a true believer and that God would show me in His timing. If I became a true believer on January 1, I wanted to obey the Lord in baptism and testify to my church about how God had worked in my life.
In the end, the Spirit brought to mind different ways that expressed how God had truly been sanctifying me, teaching me and shaping me over the past 9 years. I was indeed assured that January 1st brought the confirmation of my salvation to me and that I had been truly saved years before. What a memorable day and sweet reminder of how God is working in me. And He has a very long way to go, but I know that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion!
"Assurance of salvation is a precious thing, so precious and so necessary that we dare not dilute it with feelings of safety apart from transformed lives."