Ask A Pastor: How Do I Know if I Posses the Fruits of Being Saved
How do I know if I posses the fruits of being saved? I believe that the Lord can and will save me from my sins and I put my full trust in Him yet I live the way contrary to this thinking. I want to live a life for Christ yet I still feel like I’m faltering and still for the world. I want to read my Bible more, pray more, etc but I keep getting distracted by this world. I don’t want to act like this world is more important than Christ yet I still do. I know what Paul says, saying the “good that I would, I do not” but I still feel like I should have a stronger desire to serve the Lord. Lately, I feel discouraged from my lack of wanting to serve God, but the world instead. Am I not saved if my desire is not strong enough for God?
Let me preface this answer with saying: Press on looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith! We treasure experiential preaching and recognize the need for and even encourage healthy self-examination—which also necessitates the need for preaching and counseling that clearly focuses on and ends in Christ, His person, His work, and His promises. In other words when you see your sins, your stumbling for worldly attractions, your lethargy in devotion… then look to Christ. Meditate on what He has done for motivation, and press on in this spiritual warfare by seeking strength from Him to do what He is calling you to do, even overcoming the world. An often quoted Puritan saying is, “Take one look at yourself, and take ten looks to Christ!”
However, this is not your question, is it? You asked, how do I know if I posses the fruits of being saved, and how do I know that my desire is enough? Are you possibly answering your own question when you say your desire is to live for Christ out of gratitude and you desire to have communication with God? I don’t want to take your struggle away, because that is real as you also pointed out from Romans 7. So I ask you where did Paul end in Romans 7:25-8:2? Here:
“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
He focuses on and ends in Christ. You only can answer this question, “Does your desire and your own weakness bring you to Christ?” John Newton had a very similar struggles and at the end confessed,
“I am not what I ought to be — ah, how imperfect and deficient! I am not what I wish to be — I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good! I am not what I hope to be — soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
You see, when we look to Christ He tells us He has overcome the world, and it is only by His strength and grace that I can overcome the world! Christ alone sets us free from being a slave to sin, the world, and Satan! If my salvation is only based on my perception of my fruits of grace, then my salvation would always be uncertain. However, by the grace of God my desires are changed as I look to Christ and Him crucified and by His grace and His strength ‘press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ Phil 3:14. Do not be discouraged! Rather “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Josh. 1:9.