Definition: Being certain, in the mind
We all want this, where God is concerned. We want to know not only that He is real, but that we are His. That our standing, as His child, is certain.
We want to know.
And yet, assurance can be a tough thing.
Maybe you are like me. Maybe your brain works similarly, to mine. I am. so often, uncertain. About many things, but particularly about God.
Maybe that’s just mine–or our–penchant toward doubt. Let one. little. question. enter the odd place that is my mind, and I can take off after doubt and cynicism with speed that would break the sound barrier.
Or, maybe we are wired that way, with intentionality on the part of God. Maybe there is a purpose in why He created some of us that way.
I have come to know that, when I wake in the morning and I am plagued by doubts, or questions, or cynicism, or fear that either God does not exist, or that I am not His child, I have three choices. And only three choices.
- I can sink into despair and the dark hole that is depression
- I can ramp up my cynicism and hard-heartedness, which naturally and sinfully pushes past my thoughts and extends to life in general
- Or I can fight.
We must do battle, every single day. We must. We are a people prone to discouragement, prone to doubt, prone to throwing our hands in the air and saying “I quit. It doesn’t matter. If I can’t know for certain, why bother.”
I want to choose to fight.
A heavy-weight boxing champion does not go into the ring without his boxing gloves, and expect to win. And he certainly doesn’t step into the ring, without training, first.
And, neither should we. We need tools and training to fight for blessed assurance.
- We can not do battle in our minds, if we don’t allow space for prayerful study. Reading Open Windows or Jesus Calling (do not get me started on my thoughts about that book) for 3-5 minutes each morning is not going to cut it. I can walk every day to the end of my drive and back to my house, and I guarantee you I will not lose a single pound.
- No. We must be willing to rope off, cordon off, sanction off and protect–as if our lives depended on it–time for prolonged scripture work and prayer. Because–our lives do depend on it, because our souls depend on it.
- Is each chunk of serious time you devote to such activities always going to produce right thinking, or a sense of God’s presence? No. I wish that wasn’t the answer, but no. To think so is not realistic. Instead, it is the consistent day-by-day-by-day discipline of study and prayer that will build and build on itself, that will settle your mind and wrap it in assurance.
- I have lots of thoughts about what I want God to look like, and how I want Him to behave. But I can guarantee you that my thoughts are tinted blue with sin, and are cloaked in my experiences, my opinions, and my worldview.
- I have to fight to stay away from my predilection for certain thoughts on God, and instead drown those thoughts in scripture.
- We fight with this tool by spending time studying what scripture says. Reading it, digesting it, writing it out over and over again, and using scripture to interpret scripture.
- You can’t know a person, if you don’t communicate with that person. So it is with God. He longs to hear His children. He longs to hear you, and me. And He is a safe place. Read the Psalms, if you have any doubt that He is a safe place. He is the only safe place, to bring all your questions, all your doubts, all your fears, all your despair.
- This is an area I tend to neglect, personally. It is a regular part of my morning routine, and yet there are times I rush right through it, to get to what I consider “more important matters.” How wrong of me. Worship is not a Sunday-Morning-Music-Set activity. Worship–it is our expression of adoration, respect, and the acknowledgement that God is holy. It is drawing near to the only one capable of helping you, in your fight for assurance.
- A big part of the fight, is trust. And this is why we can refer to assurance as being blessed. Trust is hard. So crazy hard. I can set aside time. I can make sure I have the right tools, know how to use them, and work to implement them. I can train myself in Spiritual Disciplines. But unless I am going to trust what I know to be truth, all of the above is useless. I have to ask God to give me the gift of assurance in my mind and soul–the gift of certainty–and then I have to trust Him to grant it. Assurance is a gift. A blessed gift, to be cherished.
11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12
Let’s fight, with earnestness.
Two gifts I long to share with you today, in this quest for blessed assurance.
First, at this link, you will find a list of scriptures about assurance. Save them. Think on them. Pray them. Soak them in. You can find them at this link: DesiringGod.org: Helping People Have the Assurance of Salvation
And then, this song. New, from Sovereign Grace. Listen to it, embedded above. A new take on an old hymn (written in 1873), I’ll be introducing my church to this song in November. When I hear, or sing this song, I want to shout. I want to yell the words; because they are fighting words. They are words that say, “Yes, God. This is truth. You are truth. Help me, to trust that. Help me, to trust you. Help me, to know with certainty, who You are, and Whose I am. For the battle, be my heavenly sword.”
Come, Holy Spirit, my soul assure
Relieve my fears that I no more
May doubt the love of Christ for me
That my debt is paid, that I’ve been made free
O Comforter, in me reside
When the tempter speaks be my faithful Guide
Show Your promise is for me secured
For the battle be my heavenly sword
Blessed assurance; Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood
Illumine me with the Savior’s light
To dispel my thoughts in the blackest night
In darkest hour to my soul reveal
The wounds which all my sorrows heal
Impress that seal, His image leave
And by Your pow’r to His grace I’ll cleave
Until faith be sight and prayer be praise
When beholding Jesus face to face
This my story, this my song
Born of Spirit, washed in Blood
This my story, this my song
In my Savior I belong