There is a time to rely on feelings and a time to ignore them. Someone once said to me, “I know there are times when I’m not saved because I don’t feel saved.” Pooh! John wrote the believers so that we could be assured of our salvation. In fact, 1 John is the book of assurances. There are several things that give us that assurance. 1 John 4 beginning at verse 13
1. We don’t just talk the walk but we walk the walk. We show love and compassion to our brothers and sisters. We act like a family. There are moments when the flesh takes over and the uglies come bursting from our mouths. But, we do practice loving our neighbors as ourselves, and we love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind. That is a good starting place for an assurance of salvation.
2. We bear witness that Jesus is God’s Son, born in the flesh from Heaven, God’s only begotten Son. That’s another good assurance. That kind of witness does not come from unbelievers.
3. We put action to compassion. We help those we see in need. Like James says we don’t just pat them on the shoulder and say, “I’ll be praying for you. Be warm.” We give them a coat to stay warm.
4. We don’t condemn ourselves. Here’s the feeling part. God is greater than we are, He knows everything in our hearts. How amazing that we are forgiven before we sin. If we confess our sin then God is faithful to forgive us, putting our sin as far away from us as the east is from the west. Astounding!
5. We then have a clear conscience. Not only that, but we are blameless. Imagine it! Blameless in the eyes of God does not mean sinless. It means that we are justified by Jesus’ blood, blameless from the sin because Jesus took care of it for us.
6. God answers our prayers. Sometimes He answers immediately. Sometimes He says, ‘Wait’. Sometimes He says, “You are not ready for that, yet.” The condition is praying for things that are within Jesus’ character and within God’s principles. Like praying for someone to get saved… or for the wisdom of our leaders. We must always remember that God’s ways and thoughts are much higher than our own. He sees all the consequences of every action. If just one thing is out of kilter, which could hinder someone’s walk with Jesus, then He answers prayer in the way which pleases Him, not us.
7. We obey God. We keep His commandments and we don’t “fudge a little” here and there. It is part of our having a clear conscience. Walking with God doesn’t allow for fudging. When we do fudge, the Holy Spirit pounces on it, reminding us of our sin. If you tell a lie and the Holy Spirit doesn’t call you on it, there may be cause for some serious soul searching.
8. We want to please God. It isn’t a matter of “trying to be good.” It isn’t a matter of being fearful of what might happen. It is a definite, deep and deliberate desire to please our Heavenly Father. That stems from loving Him.
9. We believe Him. We not only believe in Jesus, but we believe what He says in His word. How can we trust unless we believe? Believing we believe. Abiding we abide in Him. All the above happens because He first abided in us. The Holy Spirit ignited our souls into life, Spiritual life and the combination of the Holy Spirit with our soul made a brand new creature. That is so exciting. We are not at all “just human”. We are something quite different, and precious in God’s sight. Sacrifice. That word that means the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim. God gave His Son. Jesus willingly laid down His life in sacrifice for us. God says it and that is enough. Believing or not believing does not make it so or not so. God did it. That settles it. This is how we know beyond any doubt, beyond any question that we are saved. These things are outward indications of the inward change that the Holy Spirit caused to happen. Amen and Glory be to God.
10. We work toward a strong relationship with our LORD. We do this through prayer, worship, reading His word. These are daily tasks, and if they are not that is when we start feeling the wall of separation being built between us and God. Avoid the draining emotions of hate and anger and bitterness: These emotions are strongholds that Christians embrace, never realizing they are debilitating to our Spiritual health. When we are wronged, it is so easy to buy into Satan’s accusing whispers, and to fortify unforgiveness with anger and hate which turns to bitterness. These feelings and emotions are what disguise our true relationship. Deliberately choosing to forgive the unforgivable will allow the power of God to make it happen. We can’t do it ourselves because we happen to live in this fleshly body. But, God can. Feelings are too fickle to trust. God, on the other hand is the Rock and Fortress. The joy of the LORD is our strength.