Lesson 4 – Blessed assurance
Have you ever noticed that mature Christians—people who have been in the faith for a long time—have a wonderful serenity about them? They seem to radiate an inner peace, and no matter what kind of difficult situation they face, they never lose their calmness. They don’t second guess what is happening to them, they don’t ask “why me?” or “what if?” questions, and they aren’t plagued by doubts about the future. They know that God has a plan for them, and they wait in anticipation—not in fear—as it unfolds.
Serenity comes from feeling secure, safe, and loved. We can’t know true contentment until we are convinced in our hearts that we are the children of God, that he is in control of our lives, that he loves us in spite of the mistakes we make, and that he will always take care of us. Once that blessed assurance comes, we, too, can know the joy of inner peace and outer calmness.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, promised us the gift of inner peace before he was crucified. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” he told his disciples in John 14:27, (niv).
Feeling the assurance of God’s love is essential as you stretch and grow in your faith. Here are two reasons to actively seek out and pray for this assurance:
√ Without it, you cannot fully enjoy the Christian life. If you feel uncertain about your relationship with God, if you experience unrest, uncertainty, or dissatisfaction about your experience with him, you will be distracted from your task of serving as a witness for Christ.
√ When you have felt the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, and you have asked forgiveness for your sins and turned to Christ, you can speak with force as you tell others about your faith. You become a strong and believable witness for Christ.
Seeking Assurance Daily
Sometimes assurance comes quickly and easily; other times it comes slowly and requires much prayer and meditation. The good news is that you can build up your feelings of certainty and assurance by following three simple guidelines.
First, cultivate your growing faith in Christ. You know you have turned from sin and have given yourself wholly to God. Keep thanking him for what he has done for you.
Second, follow Christ’s example by leading a life of obedience and service. Good feelings spring from a life of commitment.
Third, be faithful in your daily devotions. Read the Bible, develop habits of daily prayer and communion with Christ. Meet with Christians whose lives inspire you, talk with them, and pray with them. You will find your relationship with God growing deeper. Without thinking about assurance, you will find your heart abundantly secure in the knowledge that God is in control.
As part of your daily devotions, try to find verses that address this whole concept of assurance although they may not refer to it by that name. Here are a few passages to get you started:
√ By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit (1 John 4:13, rsv).
√ It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16–17, rsv).
√ He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony [witness] in himself (1 John 5:10, rsv).
√ But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me (2 Timothy 1:12, rsv).
√ If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17, rsv).
√ Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…. we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God (Romans 5:1–2, rsv).
√ As a hart (deer) longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for thee, O God (Psalm 42 1–2a, rsv).
The Promise of Tranquility
The 23rd Psalm, one of the best known and loved portions of the Bible, serves as a model of the tranquility that is possible when someone feels assured of God’s love. This is particularly obvious if you add a few words at the beginning and at the end of David’s psalm: “[Because] the lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” And the closing says: “[I have assurance that] goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”(niv)
How can you achieve this tranquility? Jesus provides us with the most direct answer: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, niv).