The water rushed into the boat as we dipped deeper into the rapids. Although it flowed slowly on the surface, the water was moving very fast underneath the raft. Even with a lifejacket on, I felt uncertain of the foamy water. We slowed down as we approached the rapids. Using our paddles, we worked as a team to navigate around the rocks and through the waves. Our sandaled feet were soaked with river water.
As the boat lurched to a stop, we all tumbled forward. I grabbed the guy next to me to steady myself, but soon found it didn’t matter. The force was too strong and we ended up in the muddy water. I bobbed to the surface, hanging on to my lifejacket.
The inflated yellow raft unhooked itself from the snare of the rapids and began to float calmly down the river. I swam to keep up, looking around for my paddle. Others had fallen in and we exchanged looks of laughter with a tint of uncertainty. With the lifejacket, there was no need to fear, but I still swam swiftly to get back into the boat.
The river is like life. Sometimes we are serenely going through life, paddling with those around us, and suddenly we are jerked to a stop by the unexpected. Life is filled with unexpected hardships, questions, and doubts. The enemy would like nothing more than to use these things in our lives to pull us into the river and drown our faith. Instead, God has given us a lifejacket. Our hope, faith, and joy are not found in what is swirling around us, but the truth of His Word.
Do you know for sure if you are saved? John 11 tells the story of two sisters. They experienced the worst kind of heartache. They had to bury their brother. Death is forever and it seemed the tears wouldn’t stop. Jesus, their dear friend, hadn’t been there. It seemed to them as though He did not really care.
When He did show up, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26)
Do you believe you are saved? How can we know for sure that we are indeed believing in Jesus? Those doubts will come unexpectedly through any season of a Christian’s life. I know I’ve had them, but the Word of God tells us we can know, for sure, that we are saved! Let’s look at the letter of First John for the answers.
1. Walking in the Light – 1 John 1:5-10
If we are Christians, we will walk in the light. We are not children of darkness. We are of the light. I like light a lot better than darkness. But sometimes I still feel like I walk around in the darkness. I see the world and I get discouraged. There is so much hatred and division. But God has called us out of this darkness.
The darkness is sometimes in our hearts. We face difficult situations in our lives and find it so hard to find the light. God says we are now walking in the light. We do this by moving close to God in prayer and seeking Him (Psalm 27). We do not have to walk around stumbling in the darkness. Are you walking in light today? Have confidence that you believe in Jesus!
2. Loving One Another – 1 John 2:7-11
We are given this commandment: to love. How do we know if we are walking in the light? It is not because we are reading our Bible every day or spending hours in prayer. It is loving one another.
We know we are in the light when we walk with God by loving our brother, as John says. Who is our brother? Not necessarily just our family, but our Christian family. “Brother” here means other Christians. We are to love our fellow Christians if we are to walk in the light.
Sometimes Christians are the hardest to love. We see them at church and the sinful nature comes out and we are just discouraged. For me, the more comfortable I am with someone, the more I can be my true self. And sometimes my true self isn’t very nice.
But love is a command, not just a feeling. So, if we are struggling to “feel” love for others, God can change our hearts! I believe wholeheartedly God can give us a love for difficult people. I’ve seen it in my own heart over and over again. I’ve seen it in the hearts of friends. I’ve prayed and acted out in love (even when I didn’t feel it). I would specifically ask God to change my heart towards a specific person – and He does! Are you learning and doing your best to love others? Have the assurance that Christ is indeed in your heart.
Many of John’s readers were caught up in the false teaching that Jesus wasn’t God. Men were walking around, entering churches, and teaching that Jesus was just a spirit or just a good man. John wanted to set the record straight.
“Whoever has the Son has life, whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12
Those are pretty strong words. If you do not believe in Jesus, you do not have eternal life. Our world doesn’t like absolutes. Truth isn’t about feeling good – the truth is truth. God is clear in His word: the only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ.
Not only believing Jesus was real but believing the truth about Jesus. Jesus was the Christ. He was God in flesh, Emmanuel. We cannot just believe Jesus lived. We must believe the entire truth about him. We do not live at a time when we can have proof of Jesus. We did not touch him or see him with our own eyes. But we can read the truth from those who did. Our faith is required to truly believe in Jesus.
1 John 1:1 says: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes which we looked upon and have touched with our hands conceding the word of life.”
The Apostle John really did see Jesus. He touched Jesus’ hands. He heard Jesus’ voice – both before the cross and after the cross. But what gives us the victory to overcome the doubts in our own minds is our faith. What do you believe about Jesus today? If you truly believe these truths, then let John’s words comfort your heart:
“And now, little children, abide in him [Jesus]…by this we shall know that we are of the truth and pressure our heart before him…believe if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God…” 1 John 2:29, 3:19-20 (ESV)
We can be sure of our faith because we know God’s character. The more we know God, the more faith we can have in Him, and the more we can be assured of our place with God.
Sarah E. Frazer is a writer and Bible study mentor. Sarah is the wife of Jason and mother of five. She and her family serve as full-time missionaries in Honduras. Her passion is to encourage women to start today with a Bible reading and prayer habit. Sarah is the author of several self-published Bible study resources for women. She shares tools and encouragement for Bible and prayer study on her blog: sarahefrazer.com.