Recently, I was asked, “How do you know if you are saved?”, by a patient of mine who is a believer. And the question provoked a lot of thought. I have been saved since 2004 and after a year or so from accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I too questioned the same thought.
It took about a year for this thought to settle in. I think the delay was because the first year of being saved was euphoric! My eyes were opened, I felt close to God and I knew He was pleased with me! But then after a year or so, that euphoria wore off and things settled back down to a more normal state.
I guess I can compare the feeling to when I was a child and I got the Atari 5600 Gaming System for Christmas or my birthday. At first, I couldn’t get home soon enough to play my Atari video games. I must have played that thing for HOURS at a time! It was all consuming. But then after awhile, the novelty wore off and it started to become just another thing I owned. Does that make sense?
So about a year after I was saved, I thought to myself, “Well, I don’t feel any different.” Then doubt started to creep into my thoughts. I wondered, “Will I really have everlasting life when I die?” And, “Have I really put my faith in Lord Jesus Christ?” I didn’t feel any different anymore. And I was still committing sins. What I didn’t realize was that the changes were small and that I will always be committing sins, because everyone was born with a sinful nature.
I started to notice that God was changing me through trials. Like the purification of gold, where gold nuggets are heated to extreme temperatures, so that the impurities would rise to the top. Those impurities would then be skimmed to create pure gold. God works in the same way to mold us, like a potter molds clay. And although, it is not a pleasant process to be tried like that, but it does help you grow as a Christian.
And another thing I noticed was that my appetite to sin changed over time. Even though there were times (and still are times!), when my desire to commit my old sins were very apparent, I could feel a conviction inside me that tells me not to do it. So, my “want to” changed. In other words, my desire to change and please God became greater than my old desires to sin. Unfortunately, my fleshly nature sometimes wins, like a smoker trying to quit smoking but then gives into one cigarette. But because I feel sad or disappointed that I let down God, my guilt leads me to repent and ask God for forgiveness. And because God is so good and loving, He forgives me and wipes clean my stain, as stated in Isaiah 1:18, which says, “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow!”
In summary, if you TRULY believe in your heart and confess that Jesus was sent by God to die for your sins, died in your place, and was resurrected by God, then I believe that you have been saved. But pray and ask God for more clarity to your questions. In time, you will notice how much you have changed! But be patient! It takes time. Your walk with Christ will take a lifetime. It is a journey, where your ultimate destination is everlasting life in heaven!