Four Tests of Faith

Some of us have doubts about facts in the Bible. We're looking for proof regarding creation, the resurrection, or some other miraculous event. However, I find that even more people have doubts about the reality of their faith.

It's not the theories or stories they have trouble with, it's questions like: "Am I really a Christian?" "Can I really be sure I'd go to Heaven if I died today?" "Sometimes I don't feel close to God, what does that mean?" "Do I really believe?"

I take comfort in reading the book of 1 John when doubts surface about my own Christian experience. This book of the Bible is for people who need assurance of their faith commitment. The author states: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13.

Notice he doesn't say you "might know" or you "could know," he's talking about actual knowledge. It's possible to know with certainty whether or not you have eternal life. So what are the tests?

Test #1 - The Confession Test

"Confess" means to admit truth to God or others. The two confessions mentioned in 1 John are confessing one's sins (admitting to God the wrong things you have done) and confessing Jesus Christ as Lord (admitting him as the rightful authority over your life). Do you confess the truth to God? Have you confessed Jesus Christ as the master of your life?

Test #2 - The Practice Test

Great basketball players don't become great overnight. They work day in and day out perfecting their skill, practicing for the game. They may miss a shot here or there, but they keep practicing. Likewise, while human beings may "miss" once in a while, 1 John says that practicing righteousness is an evidence of true faith. Are you striving to become "righteous"? Do you act, think, and speak in ways that please God?

Test #3 - The Priorities Test

Some people use their lives to chase earthly things: lust, greed and pride. Others, realizing that there's more to life than temporary fulfillment or prestige, live with eternity in view. 1 John teaches us that our priorities are great indicators as to the reality of our faith.

"For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:16-17.

Test #4 - The Love Test

When asked about the most important commandment in God's Law, Jesus said that loving God and loving other people summed up "all the Law and the Prophets." 1 John 3:14 explains, "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death." Do you express your love to God and the people around you?

If you're one of the many who struggles with personal doubt, why not turn to the book of 1 John today, and learn how to be sure of your eternity? After all, who would want to risk not knowing the truth?

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you - unless, of course, you fail the test?" 2 Corinthians 13:5, NIV

I originally wrote this article for publication in the Marco Island Sun Times.


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