Is it Real? – Part 1

“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


The most important question anyone who says, “Yes, I believe I am a Christian” can ask is this: “Is it real?”
In other words, “Is my faith genuine, biblical, saving faith?” If you believe the answer is yes, then the next question should be, “How can you tell?” “What is the evidence of true biblical conversion?”

In the above verse, Paul says that we should all “examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith!” That is the purpose of this devotional. In reality, this devotion is a test that you may take to determine if you truly are a genuine believer in Jesus Christ.

Most church-goers will say, “Yes, I’m a Christian, that’s why I go to church.” If you ask them if they believe in Jesus, more than likely, they will say, “Why yes!” They are surprised that someone would even question them about this. However, the Bible declares that even the demons believe in Jesus. James 2:19 states, “You believe in God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” So, how can you really be sure that you belong to God and are truly headed for heaven.

The most important evidence is the indwelling Holy Spirit. To truly belong to God, His Spirit must be in you. That is what Pentecost was all about—the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell the hearts of men and women. Paul writes in Romans 8:9, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” How can you know if you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit? You can sense His presence within you! You can hear His voice guiding you, not audibly, but you hear it nonetheless, when you read God’s Word or listen to a sermon!

The prophet Isaiah refers to this in Isaiah 20:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Often Jesus said, “He who has ears, let him hear!” What did He mean by this? Everyone listening to Jesus had ears. Jesus was speaking about our spiritual ears—the ears of our heart. Have you heard the Master’s voice speaking to you? Paul confirms this truth in Romans 8:15-16, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

The great hymn, In The Garden, was penned by C. Austin Miles. Miles was a pharmacist who began writing Christian songs. His hobby was photography, and he found his darkroom a wonderful place to commune with God as he read his Bible. One day in March, 1912, while waiting for some film to develop, he opened to his favorite chapter, John 20, the story of the first Easter. Miles later said, “As I read it that day, I seemed to be part of the scene…My hands were resting on the Bible while I stared at the light blue wall. As the light faded, I seemed to be standing at the entrance of a garden, looking down a gently winding path, shaded by olive branches. A woman in white, with head bowed, hand clasping her throat as if to choke back her sobs, walked slowly into the shadows. It was Mary. As she came to the tomb, upon which she placed her hand, she bent over to look in and hurried away. John, in flowing robe, appeared, looking at the tomb; then came Peter, who entered the tomb, followed slowly by John.

“As they departed, Mary reappeared, leaning her head upon her arm at the tomb. She wept. Turning herself, she saw Jesus standing; so, did I. I knew it was He. She knelt before Him, with arms outstretched and looking into his face, cried, ‘Rabboni!’

“I awakened in full light, gripping my Bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision, I wrote as quickly as the words would be formed the poem exactly as it has since appeared. That same evening, I wrote the music.”[1]

Here is what Miles penned:
I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, And He talks with me, And He tells me I am
His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.

What Miles is expressing is what it means to have a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. You spend time alone with Him in prayer and in His Word. You speak to Him and He, in turn, speaks to you. The more you walk and talk with Jesus the more confident you become in your relationship with Him. Have you truly experienced this? In John 10:14 and 27, Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” All of this happens due to the indwelling Holy Spirit. There is no greater peace than to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and to know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. I hope you know Him.

In the coming weeks, we’ll examine other evidences of true salvation. Stay tuned.

[1] Robert J. Morgan, Then Sings My Soul (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003), 271.