— Greg Laurie
Anonymous asked: What are some passages of scripture to help someone with a doubtful heart? I’m really struggling with fact of am I saved or is God even real. I don’t even know where to look in the Bible please help.
Thanks so much for your question! I really hope and pray that I can help you discover who you are and help you find answers to the challenges you are facing.
First of all, let me say this: Struggling with the belief of salvation is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a very good checkpoint where we can reflect on ourselves and our character and see where we need Christ’s help to renew the broken parts of our lives.
Having said that, let me define salvation for you. Salvation is believing that Jesus Christ, being God, came and died for your sin, resurrecting after his death so that you could walk in newness of life with Him. All you must do to receive his salvation is believe that He is God and He died for you. If you truly believe that, you will follow Him.
Now, what can happen sometimes is that we start to find other things in life that we deem as valuable, and then we soon forget about God. Jesus Christ becomes a concept or fact, rather than a vibrant, living relationship.
Now, I will show you some Scripture:
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge,6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.
8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1:3-11 (NLT)
In this particular passage, Peter is addressing people who truly believe in Jesus (v.1). So this applies to anyone who truly thinks they are Christian. Here is what I want you to focus on: Peter mentions seven things one should add to their faith for growth and maturity (v. 5-7). Doing or not doing these things does not make you saved or condemned, but if you truly believe in Jesus, these 7 things will stop you from becoming fruitless and forgetting that you are saved. So read this over and over and think about how you can improve in all of those areas, and then pray to God to give you strength. If you lack moral excellence, ask God to give you strength to rid yourself of sin and find ways to fight those battles. If you lack knowledge, commit to reading your Bible, join a Bible study, or get someone to hold you accountable or perhaps find a study partner. If you lack Godliness, commit yourself to prayer and fasting and spend time with God so that you can be refreshed and refocused on who He is.
Now that we have talked about that, I want to show you what it looks like to be saved:
“I am thetrue vine, and my Father isthe vinedresser.2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruithe takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,that it may bear more fruit.3 Alreadyyou are cleanbecause of the word that I have spoken to you.4 Abidein me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.5 I am the vine;you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is thatbears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.6 If anyone does not abide in mehe is thrown away like a branch and withers;and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.7 Ifyou abide in me, and my words abide in you,ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8 By this my Father is glorified, that youbear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.9 As the Father has loved me,so have I loved you. Abide in my love.10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just asI have keptmy Father’s commandments and abide in his love.11 These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and thatyour joy may be full.” – John 15:1-11
So I want to make something very clear now. If you are saved, you will not be perfect. We all need to be pruned. We have times in our walk when we get distracted by things of this world, and then we begin to wither and die. Every Christian has been there.
Having made that clear, I want you to ask yourself “Do I really love Jesus? Do I want to obey what He commands because I love Him?” You see, Jesus told His disciples in this passage that they would obey His commands if they love Him. If they do not love Him, they won’t obey His commands. This doesn’t mean you will be perfect. Jesus knew they were not perfect, after all, Peter denied Him three times and everyone abandoned Him at the time of His arrest (Mark 14).
Now, in verse 8 Jesus told them to prove they are His disciples by bearing much fruit. This does not mean that they needed to prove to God that they are His disciples (v. 5 says they can’t). What it does mean is that we can see for ourselves if we are truly His disciples. If you want to know if you are a Christian or not, study this passage and ask yourself these questions afterwards:
1. Do I love Jesus?
2. What is my deepest desire?
3. Is my deepest desire to follow and serve Jesus, or serve myself and my desires?
4. Have I been trying to fix myself for Jesus or have I been asking Jesus to help me grow closer to Him?
After you answer those questions, I am sure that you will be certain on whether or not you are saved. After all, who can love Jesus and not be saved? If you love Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will follow Him.
Bear in mind this one thing: Jesus did not say what He did in John 15 in order to criticize, terrify, or discourage His disciples. He said in verse 11: “These things I have spoken to you,that my joy may be in you, and thatyour joy may be full.” Jesus does not want you to be struggling and heart shattered. He wants you to be full of joy. That is why He told His disciples to abide in Him and love Him and bear fruit in order to show that they are truly children of God. Once you know who you are in Christ, you will have joy. But once you forget and do not apply the 7 pillars that Peter talked about, you will become “shortsighted and blind, forgetting that you have been cleansed from your past sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)
I hope all of this has helped! I want to suggest to you a few resources. I want you to get 2 books: Crazy Love by Francis Chan and Who Do You Think You Are? by Mark Driscoll. Crazy Love is about what truly loving and believing in Christ is all about, and Who Do You Think You Are is a study on Ephesians about your identity and who Christ has made you to be. Please get both of those books! Figuring out where you stand with Christ is worth the 20-30 dollars that you would spend on something else.
Mark Driscoll did a sermon series based on his book that you can find here. You can watch one or two a week until you get through the whole thing. I think it would be very beneficial for you!
Also, I just finished watching a sermon by Francis Chan on being “Lukewarm.” I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that term, but it basically means that you haven’t truly made a decision to follow Christ and you’re just sitting on the fence about it. The sermon was very challenging and I think it would be very beneficial for you to work through it. You can find the video here.
I hope that my words will help you work through all of this. Please take advantage of the resources I have offered. Invest your time into discovering where you stand with God! Nothing else is more important. Cancel social events with friends. Quit your job if you need to! This is far more important than anything in this world. Simply try your very hardest to work and wrestle through this fatal question: “Am I really saved?”
If you have any more questions or anything you want to explain or comment on, please let me know! I am always here to help or simply listen. You are in my prayers.
God bless and much love,
Anonymous said: I was reading Acts 2 this morning and it talked about getting baptised, and I know several other passages of scripture talk about getting baptised. But how important is to somebodies faith?
Thanks for the question!
I need to be very clear in what I say. I do not want to mislead you or anyone else. Baptism is very important and is regarded highly in the Christian faith. Jesus commanded all Christians to be baptized. Obviously, that sounds pretty important.
Now, baptism will not save you. You are saved by grace alone, through Jesus Christ. Baptism is the symbol that you have died to your old life, your sins are washed away by the sacrifice of Jesus, and you are reborn into the new life found in Christ. It is the public proclamation of your eternal commitment and evidence of your repentance.
Again, baptism will not save you or give you some sort of spiritual buff. Is it necessary for salvation? No. The only thing necessary for salvation is believing and following Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So, Jesus said a lot of things unnecessary for salvation, yet completely important for living and following Him. One of those things is baptism.
I hope that helps a little bit! If there is anyone reading this that wants to give in their two cents, feel free. I pray that I have communicated this topic very clearly have answered it well in truth and light of Scripture.
If you have any questions, let me know!
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” - Hebrews 4:12
I read this passage today and it got me thinking about how frustrated I am with the way Christians (myself included) treat the Bible sometimes. We treat the Word of God as some sort of automatic habit or spiritual hobby.
Why do we do that? The Bible is not a textbook. It is God’s message to humanity about Jesus Christ. It is God revealingHimself to us, and with a stone-cold stare, we flip those pages.
When was the last time you read the word of God and its message shot so deep into your heart that you just became still, praying to God and thanking Him for who He is?
Before you open the Bible, open your heart to God and pray for the Holy Spirit to lead you further and deeper into your relationship with Christ.
This is not crusty, stale, wooden knowledge. This is the word of God. Let us treat it as nothing less.
Everything changed but You.
I need a heart that carries on through the pain when the walls start collapsing again
Give me a soul that never ceases to follow, despite the infection within.
When we say: “God, I trust that you are going to give me the hopes and expectations that I have in this life-time.” Is that really trusting God?
We trust God when we say “God, do as You will. I wither as the grass and I know only what I see. I lay all at Your feet. What You take from me, I freely give to You. What You give to me, I will graciously receive. My whole life is Yours. Whatever cross You give me, I will bear. Whichever path You lead me on, I will follow. All I need is you.”
That is faith. Not expecting God to operate in a man-made system, but instead trusting that He will do what is right and good, no matter how much that disappoints us. No matter how much we lose, sacrifice, change, or suffer, God is enough. He satisfies.
I’m dead to those who I tried to impress
I’m dead to those who had my trust
I’m dead to distance and to home
I’m dead to me
I died by the throne.
Martyrs hear me out
Live and die by your Lover’s heart.
We pluck specks from the eyes of our brothers
And crush mustard seeds beneath our feet.
God’s will > your wants
He lets you live.
How Christians post photos or texts like this:
"Just spending time with the Lord!"
"Worshipping God right now!"
"Doing a tumblr/facebook fast!"
"Reading the Bible!"
You get the idea. It absolutely does not bother me when someone personally tells me they did any of those things. It also doesn’t bother me if someone publicly shares an experience or something they learned concerning those things. What bothers me is how people try to turn this into glamour.
You spent time with God and wanted the whole world to know? What did you want us to do? Clap for you?
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. - Matthew 6:5-6
I know I’m sounding harsh, but it really does bother me.There is no reverence for worshipping, serving, or spending time with God. Next time, keep it between you and the Lord. Keep it behind closed doors. If you want to share something that you think will benefit others, that is totally okay and I will always encourage that. But don’t parade your God as if He is yours to show off. Humble yourself.