I didn’t realize until recently that a lot, and I mean A LOT, of people deal with doubting their salvation. I am not here to tell you one way or the other if you are saved. But as someone who has dealt with severe doubt, my heart is to help. God is the only one who can truly settle it, but I heard a message last night that I wish everyone who is struggling could hear. I wish that I had heard it years ago.
I don’t share this often because sometimes the more you talk about something, the more the devil has to work with. But somehow this subject is taboo in many churches. ‘Poor girl, she just can’t get victory. She must be a carnal Christian if she’s STILL dealing with that doubt. She must not be reading her Bible or praying like she should. She must have some sin in her life preventing her from getting that settled. She’ll never be used until she does. She needs to get past this.’ I’ve been there. I’ve fasted. I’ve begged. I made another profession after I got saved just to see if it would help. (It did not because I was already saved.)
I got saved at home when I was 12 years old. It was during the summer, in the middle of singing school on a Tuesday night. My doubts started as soon as I said amen. I went from the most amazing peace after the weight of sin lifted to an almost instant question in my mind, “Did you really just get saved?” I BATTLED for 10-12 years afterward. There were moments of complete peace. But there were moments of pure hell. And I don’t say that lightly. If you’ve been there, you know. It affects every waking moment.
I think I talked to anyone who would listen – and some of them multiple times. My parents, my pastor, visiting preachers, ladies who were my mentors who had struggled, missionaries….It was embarrassing. It was discouraging. And it was extremely hard. My doubts ran the gamut. I didn’t believe enough or maybe at all. Maybe I was relying on making sure I said the right words. I wanted to be saved so much that I wanted to DO it right. I knew it was God that saved and I had nothing to do with it, but I didn’t want to mess my part up. And I thought, well if I think I had any part in my salvation, is that relying on works? Maybe I didn’t really repent. It was only a head belief and not a heart belief. I had been in church my whole life, I was a preacher’s daughter so there wasn’t a “huge” change in my life. I’ve doubted so long that I couldn’t really be saved. I have no victory over this, Christians have victory, right? Was there faith and repentance? What if I go to hell thinking I’m saved? I didn’t cry. I wasn’t emotional. I was scared to tell people and saved people weren’t supposed to be that way. (I used to be extremely shy and backwards and I was terrified to talk in front of people.) I could go on for days. I would get one thing settled and be ok for a while. And then, I’d start doubting something else.
Someone asked me about it the other day and I thought long and hard about what I could say that would’ve made me feel better back then. I asked the Lord to help me and He brought this to mind. I would pray sincerely every time I doubted, “Lord if I’m really lost, please show me. I’ll get saved right now, I don’t care what anyone thinks.” And you know, He never did. He never showed me I was lost. There was either always assurance I was His, or just the same confusion. But never once did He put His finger on it and say, “Faith, you are lost.”
I’ve felt conviction. That night I got saved NO ONE was going to talk me out of it. I knew if I died right then and there, I would be in hell. And that brings me to one of the best illustrations I’ve ever heard and I credit it all to Bro. Dean McNeese. The following is from his message last night:
God had just opened the heavens and declared that Jesus was His Son. And then the devil in the next few verses, cast doubt on what God had just said. God wasn’t going to open the heavens again and declare, ‘This is my beloved Son…” because He said it already. Once was enough. That’s all it took.
Read this carefully. If satan could attack the Son of God, then there isn’t something wrong with you.
What makes us think we are less of a Christian for being attacked with doubt when satan tried to make Jesus doubt?
The only reason there’s an “If” from hell, is because there was an “Is” from heaven.Dean McNeese
Satan isn’t trying to get you saved. Do you think if you were really lost, the devil would be whispering in your ear, “Hey, maybe you’re not really saved. You need to get saved.” NO. Satan isn’t a soul winner.
Regarding faith and repentance: Did you come to Jesus? That’s faith. Why would you come to someone if you didn’t believe they could help you? And the only way you can come to Jesus is by turning from everything else. That’s repentance.
Hold onto that first profession, because He’s been holding on to you ever since.Joe Parsons
That first REAL profession. He’s not saying that just because you made some profession or many professions, that you hang onto that until you die. No. That real profession where you came to Jesus and He saved you. That one that you’re doubting. That one that there is mass confusion surrounding.
Who is the author of confusion? satan
Who is the author of conviction? Jesus
If you are confused, that’s not of God. God CONVICTS and CONVINCES. Wow again. I was not confused when I got saved. I was convinced that I was lost. I’ve only been confused since. (And here again, if you have been doubting and God has showed you that you are lost, GET SAVED!)
Bro. McNeese gave the example of satan attacking Jesus and Jesus responding back with His word. He could have wiggled His little finger and put satan in His place without quoting scripture. But He was our ultimate example. He knew we would face attacks and the only thing we can stand on is God’s word. Not our thoughts, not what someone else says, not our feelings. The truth of God’s word.
But he also used the example of John the Baptist. He paved the way for the son of God. He was the only person to ever see the Holy Spirit. He was holding the Lamb when the dove descended from Heaven. And yet, once Jesus came, his ministry ended. He spiraled into deep depression and struggled with doubting if Jesus was even who He said He was. Jesus didn’t come to John while he was in prison. But He sent His WORD. And while John was struggling in that jail cell, Jesus was proclaiming that there was none greater than John the Baptist.
You are ok. There is not something wrong with you. You are not a weak Christian. You are not useless.
You can live with satan. He doesn’t have to get gone for you to get better.Dean McNeese
The best thing I can say to you if you’re dealing with doubt:
Was there ever a time Jesus convinced you that you were lost?
Did you come to Him?
I’m not asking what you prayed, what you thought, how convicted you were, if you believed enough.
Are you convinced now that you really aren’t saved or are you confused about if you are?
Pray. The only person that knows for sure is Jesus. Be real with Him, be honest. Ask Him to show you. And when He does, trust Him if He says yes. Get saved if He says no.
Study 1 John. The word “know” is used over 30 times in that short little book. God wants us to KNOW.
It’s a ‘know so’ salvation. I believe that with all my heart. And whether or not I believe it, the Bible says it’s true.
But doubt is real. As real as knowing.
But oh my goodness, how much Jesus loves us! He wants us to have His peace. He wants us to trust Him. He wants our mind and hearts to be settled.
If you are struggling and would like to reach out to me, I don’t have all the answers or even a lot of answers but I can and will pray for you. I have found that nothing anyone says can really settle doubt. It may help and it may ease it for a while. But God has to do it. I know that isn’t very helpful sometimes, because WHEN will He do it? I don’t know. But if you are truly one of His own, there WILL be peace.
Hell only shows up in what Heaven is interested in.Dean McNeese
You are not alone. I wish I could come up beside you and cry with you and just speak the words one way or the other. And though it may seem like Jesus isn’t there and you can’t hear what He is saying, just stay by Him. Keep listening. Saturate yourself in God’s word.
Bro. Dean told us last night that there are a lot of teens and young adults that doubt. But most of the time, when he preaches messages like this, it’s the older generation that comes up and tells him they needed it. They’ve lived in fear so long. That hurts my heart. We need compassion. Some preachers are dogmatic about it. They’ve never doubted and nothing anyone says or does is going to make them doubt. And it shouldn’t make us doubt either. I’m so happy for them, truly. Because what an amazing thing to never struggle with doubt. But thank God for the men who know it’s real and don’t think less of you because you do struggle.
Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.Bro. AC Durham
Trust Him. That’s the theme of the Christian life. It starts with trust. It ends with trust.
And there is no one more worthy of that trust than Jesus.
Listen to Bro. Dean McNeese’s message here: