I went to make some bread in my bread machine this morning and realized that I had a problem. The box of bread mix was supposed to contain everything needed to make the bread, including a small packet of yeast. Well, the box contained a bag of bread mix (flour, salt, etc.) but nothing else. No yeast! And since yeast is not one of the ingredients I keep on hand, I had no choice but to stuff the bag of ingredients back into the box and place the box back in the pantry. So, I guess there won't be any fresh-baked bread here today, and all because something was missing.
Strangely enough, though, that very concept has been the theme for the weekend. On Friday night, Jason and I had the opportunity to hear the Booth Brothers in concert in Toccoa, Georgia. In addition, on Sunday morning we went to hear Brian Free and Assurance at a church here in Greenville. Both concerts were wonderful, and I left feeling refreshed and full of the Lord. But at each meeting, and in the message at our church Sunday night, the theme was the same. At some point, each spoke of "playing Christian" when all along salvation had never occurred.
And it made me wonder how many people have fallen into that trap? I know of preachers, musicians and others in the ministry that have gotten saved after years of service in the church. They were doing the right things and being good people, but for whatever reason, they had never actually accepted Christ as their Savior. It sounds strange, but I know it to be true. The evidence is astounding. How many people are "playing church" without actually knowing the One they claim to serve?
Not wanting to cause people to doubt their salvation, Michael Booth, at Friday's concert, gave three evidences to look for to assure yourself that you have, in fact, met the Master. They are straight from the Bible and serve as proof of your salvation. So, if you're ever in doubt, ask yourself the following questions:
1) Are you drawn to God's Word? - The Bible is our means of knowing and understanding God better. It is the key to the Christian life, and those who are truly saved should feel drawn to it. They should desire to know what it says, to read it, to meditate on it. It is God's love letter to us, so how do we treat it?
2) Do you feel a love and compassion for others? - When the Holy Spirit moves in, He fills us with His love and compassion. He helps us to see others as He sees them. He causes us to feel a burden for those who do not know Him, as well as for those who have gone astray.
3) Do you feel convicted when you do wrong? - Again, when the Holy Spirit moves in, He fills us with His wishes and desires. He helps us to understand right from wrong, and when we do the things we shouldn't do, He lets us know it. Deep down, we feel the guilt and His disapproval. We see our sin as the very thing that put Christ on the cross, and recognize that even though our sins are paid for, that does not give us the right to sin.
Those who have accepted Christ as their Savior should experience all three of these attributes to some degree. Christians are not sinless, perfect or holier than others. Christians are just what the name implies--Christ-like. So, I urge you to take a look at your life. Is there evidence that you're saved, or is your life like my box of bread mix where something is missing?
Please understand, my goal is not to make you doubt your salvation. In fact, it's the exact opposite. I want to help you confirm it so that you need never doubt again. But the fact of the matter is that they're are too many people out there who are living right and going to church, yet something is missing. And that something is salvation.
Do you know Him? I mean, really know Him. Not with your head, but with your heart. I hope so, but if not, it's not too late. There's no need to be embarrassed or ashamed. God wants to save you today. Just ask. I guarantee you, the only response will be that of rejoicing!
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. - I John 2:3-6