I received 2 questions from a dear brother, which I find are often the most asked questions by brothers who are seeking God; below is the dialogue we had–
I have two questions for you
1) I have been a believer for about 4 years. I see growth in my life, I see more of a desire for Jesus, and I also see more of my sin. I want more of Him and He is spurring me on. I just started leading our prayer meetings at our church last week and it has been super humbling for me to be able to do that and a great blessing! But one of my biggest struggles is assurance of my salvation. Sometimes I think “man I’m so wicked! am I really saved, do I REALLY desire Jesus?!” I don’t love Him near as much as I want to. What would you say to these things?
Assurance of salvation is something that many believers struggle with, usually because their eyes are all too often on themselves and looking within to see what they think ought to be there and when they don’t see it enough, they begin to doubt; but we will never see enough or all that we want to see by looking at ourselves or looking within for encouragments; therefore, we must learn diligently and militantly to focus on the gospel itself and Christ, on what justification truly means and our permanent and perfect acceptance with God, which never changes regardless of our struggles with sin or sanctification;
And we must remember that the possession of salvation and then assurance of that salvation are two separate things; one can possess salvation and have a lack of assurance; assurance is experiential and can come and go, and be in varying degrees; but justification is unchanging and is objective, since our righteousness is in heaven in the person of Christ, who has pronounced us righteous and has imputed to us His very righteousness; therefore, we have permanent standing of peace with God, as Romans 5:1-2 states;
Don Whitney’s book, How Can I Be Sure I am a Christian?, is a great book for those who struggle with this
To overcome the battle with a lack of assurance, stay gospel-focused, Christ-focused, and don’t keep looking at yourself; feed on the promises; remember that God has only promised anything to sinners who need a Saviour; you and I are those guys!!
2) Ironically, after my first question… How do you know when you’re called to preach? I have a desire to preach, but I don’t want to if I’m not called. I know I won’t have any power in my preaching if I’m not called or anointed… How did you know?
In answer to the second question, at age 19, I had a growing interest in ministry and then a growing desire to preach which I could not escape; I lost interest in everything else and had to follow my heart; but it was in the context of being in a local church; I began to teach a 4th grade boys class and be faithful, then I would do whatever my pastor ask me to do, and as I was given opportunities to serve or speak, I would do it with fear and trembling; God will make it clear and all you have to do is obey and follow; none of us are sufficient for these things, but as Paul said, our sufficiency is from God, who makes us able ministers of the New Covenant;
I welcome your questions and am glad to be in touch; its important and you are important, brother; God is at work in and through you, so press in, press on, and He is with you; stay in the Word, go deep, and the Holy Spirit will teach you more and more.