Lately, doubt has been my most prominent adversary. It’s followed me everywhere, something like a dark cloud that looms over my head in every situation. Funny though, it’s not Jesus that I doubt, nor all that He’s done.
It’s the kind of creeping doubt that comes when I’m not on a “Jesus high,” filled with a present, burning passion to seek my God. It comes when I can’t seem to wrap my mind around Christ and the reality of Him and eternal life the way I feel that I should be able to. It comes when I don’t feel like reading the Bible, or when I do read it, yet no tears come, no goosebumps appear on my skin. It comes when I go to the Lord in prayer, yet I can hardly focus my mind so that my prayers are short and distracted. It comes in stealth with its venomous taunting, whispering: “Where are your emotions for your God? Are you truly saved?”
Sometimes I allow this doubt to stand like an insurmountable wall between Truth and myself, and I cave in. I do the same, crying out in my heart, “Lord, Lord! Help me to feel you! Help me to grasp you! You know that I love you, right? And if I don’t know you, will you show me? What if I’m not meant to be saved? What if I’ve been wrong all of this time?” This trap of deception seeps into each following day as I go on questioning my own salvation, all because of…feelings.
But this is not what our salvation rests on. For in God’s Word, it says:
“Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Luke 25:30-31 (ESV)
And that is all. To believe in Jesus Christ, all that He says, and all that He’s done and will do. But doubt is relentless, and goes further to ask: “How do you know you believe? Still, how do you know you’re saved?”
Often I try to push out the thoughts, or to find the answer somewhere within my own inherent confidence. But this is an impossible endeavor, which only ever leaves me even more rattled than before. So I turn to again to God’s Word, and finally find comfort and trust in His Holy Spirit.
“For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” 2 Corinthians 5:2-4 (ESV)
Our hearts have holes in them. We all long for something more. Something deeper, and most of us realize this. But only some of us discover what that something is: to escape our earthly, temporary selves along with our temporary home and enter into our permanent home as our true selves with the One who created us. And why is it there? Because God put it there.
“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 5:5 (ESV)
God knit our hearts with this natural hole, and it’s meant to be filled. But only by God Himself, the very One who put it there in the first place. And we know this. We know that Christ is the only remedy to this deep emptiness that lies within. We understand from Scripture why we need Him, that we need Him, and how what He has done for us is enough. And this is our believing! So what does this have to do with doubting ourselves, with being confident in our salvation?
In the second fragment of this verse, we see that we’ve been given the Spirit as a guarantee. A guarantee of what?
“But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him’—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:6-10
This Spirit, who is our guarantee of salvation, is the only way that God reveals anything to us. He has prepared His wisdom to be understood only for those who belong to Him, or who will belong to Him.
“For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11-12
Just as my own spirit knows my own thoughts, so does God’s Spirit know God’s thoughts. And how beautifully gracious is the Lord, that He’s given us, those who belong to Him, His own Spirit, so that we may know the things of God that He desires for us to understand!?
After all of this, my friends, what encouragement do I have for you?
You read the Word of the Lord, and you may not understand all of it yet, but much of it you do, and even more, you groan to be with the Lord, acknowledging that your emptiness can only be filled by the Eternal One. There is no way but by the Spirit of God, whom He’s reserved for His chosen ones, to have the wisdom of His Holy Scriptures. And this same Spirit, which opens our eyes to know the Truth, is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11
Next time doubt comes, spewing confusion into your heart so that you fear you’ve never truly been saved, because you can’t feel Him the way you ought to, remember this: you understand the Word of God, and you understand your need for Him, which has been made known to you by the Spirit. Brothers and sisters, your salvation is secure.