People have been in the business of taking advantage of God for so many years. Time and time again, God puts His heart out there, only to have it broken over and over again. Recently I was asked a question. A question that if you truly know and love Jesus, should be fairly easy to answer. But for me, somehow it wasn’t. The question was simple: how do you know you are saved?
This past week in the Bible School I am in, we have been learning about the Christian life — what that means, what it looks like. We’ve covered a lot on the topic of salvation, and my homework the other night was to write out my salvation story. I wrote it and made it sound nice, and I used eloquent words to describe my salvation process and experience. The thing was, it was MY STORY. It wasn’t God’s story. It was my story, and it certainly wasn’t OUR STORY put together. Later on that day I re-wrote a more genuine and original version of my story. It was honest, maybe too honest, but it was also real.
You see, salvation is a change of Lordship. From self to God. Let’s take time to answer that question for ourselves. How do we know we are saved? And even further, how does that shake the very core of who we are?
Here is the excerpt of my honest thoughts from my homework the other night. I truly believe something I heard one time to be true, and that is “God has an honest answer for every honest question asked.” And sometimes we have to ask the hard questions even if we don’t like the answers we get.
“There are many things I could write down about my story. Honestly, I don’t know if I can say the exact moment of when I was truly saved. When I was five years old I asked Jesus to come in to my heart. I remember where I was, who led me to Christ, and almost every detail about that moment as clear as day. I don’t know if I truly knew what it meant to repent for the “bad things” I had done over my five years of life. I was five years old, what could I have possibly done?
“My story continues on and fast forwards to the time I was 15. I believed in God, God was my friend. I used Him when I needed Him, and that was about the extent of my faith in Him. Things started to change for me the summer I was 15. I started working at a summer camp and got totally wrecked by God. I had struggled with a lot of insecurities, emotional instability, inward rebellion, and just an overall dissatisfaction with my life. I was walking around in a circle revolving around me.
“That summer God started getting ahold of my heart. I truly believe that’s when the transformation process started happening for me. I hadn’t exactly made Jesus Lord of my life, but I wanted Him to be. Over the next few years, though, I still loved my sin. In the fall of 2011, I went to a Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Discipleship Training School. There, I realized a lot of things about myself, and a lot of things about my relationship with God and how badly I had treated and used Him. That was a big step for me. And so I guess for me, it kind of took awhile.
“It has been a process that took years. And it’s only been recently that I genuinely haven’t wanted to break God’s heart. The point I came to realization was me realizing that I had messed up, that Jesus wanted my heart. He didn’t want my religious words, He didn’t want my past sins, He just wanted my heart.
“Someone asked me recently, how do I know I am saved? I didn’t know what to say, but I think I am learning that answer. In order to be saved, you have to be saved from something. God saved me from myself. The salvation process for me wasn’t just one emotional experience. It was God continually grabbing my shoulders and looking me square in the face and saying, ‘Olivia, its not about you. I love you, but do you love Me? Are you willing and ready to live for Me?’
Now, I know that I know that I know that I have been saved. Jesus is Lord of my life now and sometimes every day I have to ask Him to be that. I have lived the majority of my life being spiritually half awake. I don’t want to be that way anymore. I want God to be fully alive in my life every day for the sake of Jesus.”