True faith test

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I once read, “resurrection means nothing until salvation is secure”. Spot on! It can be easy to follow the crowd, and say things like “happy resurrection day”. Yet do we know what this even means on a personal level? Who is Christ to us? There is a popular saying that “just like going to McDonald’s doesn’t make us a hamburgers, so too, going to church doesn’t make us Christians”. True again! Paul reminds us time and time again to check ourselves to see if we are right with the Lord.

“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

So how do we test ourselves? Well we can start with the obvious:

1. Do we believe Jesus Christ as our only Lord and Saviour for the forgiveness of our sins? Some people believe that their “niceness” will be enough. Comparing themselves to others, such as criminals, puts them in good standings with society. Yet, it isn’t so with God. If we could gain eternity with God through our own efforts, then there would be no need for Christ to go to the cross. Salvation belongs to the Lord! Our goodness is evidence of salvation, but never the means to it.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” – Ephesians 2:8

2. Do we believe the Bible as the Word of God? And do we obey His Word or do we cherry pick what scriptures we want to follow?

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” – 2 Timothy 3:16

Contrary to the flow of society’s actions, sinning, like sex out of marriage is not approved by Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, the one we claim to be our God and Saviour.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators (sex out of marriage), nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

I once had a friend who thought this meant that no one can go to Heaven based on that scripture from Corinthians. Well, no one can without Christ. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, yet Jesus Christ is willing to forgive those who REPENT (denouce sin) and put their faith in Him.

One might say that is extreme, and following like this is being “religious”. Many do not actually understand that there is a good form of religious behaviour (trusting in Christ, and showing that faith by loving others – James 1:27), approved by God and another that is not, like hypocrisy.

In any order, if we claim to be Christians, Christ must be the pilot of each of our lives, we do not co-pilot with Him by the way.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” – John 14:15

3. Does sin in our lives bother us? If we are not bothered when we disobey God we most probably are failing the test which Paul spoke about.

4. Are we concerned about forgiving others, or do we hold on to grudges? It can be hard, we’ve all been there. Yet, how can we expect forgiveness from God, when we ourselves don’t forgive others? Let the enemy have no mouse hole in our lives! Unforgiveness is an incubation period that can birth sin. Let us ask God to help us to forgive quickly, and move on.

When it comes to church going, some things to look out for:
1. Going to church just to impress others (clothing items etc).
2. Going to church as part of tradition, but no real connection with Christ, nor a desire to obtain a relationship with Him.
3. Lack of interest in the Word (social networking on mobiles during sermons etc.)
4. No desire to worship God (not doing our best to worship through song and prayer)
5. No concern to really fellowship with other believers

If we are trying our best to seek Christ, great, He knows our hearts and is willing to aid us through His Holy Spirit.

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.” John 14:16-18

Let us hold each other accountable. Let us test ourselves.

God lifted up my right hand and helped me

writingYesterday, our class had had an open book exam. You could use your text book but not mobile devices. In open book exams, it is usually difficult to sift through the many pages to find the answer. In some open book exams, while you may have the text book for reference, the questions are hardly derived from it. Thankfully for this exam this was not the case.

When the teacher told us that we were allowed to use only the text book but not the laptops or smartphones, I became a bit worried (you can search pdfs with a pdf reader). For one, the subject was one I chose freely out of my usual software theory. So many of the terms in this class I had little or no understanding of. Anyhow, thanks to God, I was encouraged by another sister whose school load is probably 10 times mine and because of that load of work she endured daily, I was motivated to carefully read the text book. Although much of it I didn’t understand, I knew persistence to the end was necessary.

On the day of the exam and another day before, I remember a classmate enticing me to ignore the teacher and simply use the smartphone. I gave no favour to the idea and just kept silent, but on the day of the exam when he mentioned it again, I said to him, “I cannot, he [the teacher] said not to; if I do this I will disobey him.” Of course in my mind my biggest concern was honouring God. On another occasion I had mentioned to this classmate a little about my faith. Writing this report now I sort of wish I had said, “It would be dishonourable to my God to do such a thing.” However, perhaps what I actually said was how the Spirit wanted me to respond.

During the exam, folks were passing answers. I remember asking God for help because I wanted to honour Him and stay honest. (It’s no fun hearing: “answers on page x”, when you are struggling to find them on your own) Even the teacher failed to correctly invigilate the class. Students were sharing answers right in front of his eyes and he didn’t seem to blink. Anyhow, I didn’t know much that was on the paper, but God opened my eyes and lifted keywords in the text book pages to me. At first I was not finding the answers, but by His grace I remained steadfast to His precepts and my ears heard but didn’t listen, my eyes saw but yet I didn’t see. With His help, I managed to find all answers from the book questioned in the paper. Questions based on my own thinking, He again helped me to answer. I just have to praise God. I am certain it was not me, but by the grace of God.

Thank You God!

1 Sam 2:30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel says: ‘I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever.’ But now the Lord says: ‘Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.