How can we know if we belong to God?
Have you ever heard of Kitch-Iti-Kipi? Probably not, unless you travelled in Northern Michigan. It’s Michigan’s largest natural spring, 45 feet deep. The spring flows at a rate of more than 37,854 litters a minute, or for our British and American friends: 10,000 gallons a minute. No wonder it remains so squeaky clean! Trout enjoy swimming in this clean, pure water. They are truly in fish heaven!
The same is true for us who are experiencing God’s Holy Spirit fully. We are renewed daily by His presence, so much so that we hunger for more and more of Him. Sadly, many believers don’t even know Him, but this doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. He is way more active than the flowing 37,854 litters a minutes at Kitch-Iti-Kipi!
Wait a minute. What does this have to do with belonging to God?
Give me a minute to explain. First of all, in my trek through life, I have discovered different kinds of followers of Christ. Some profess that we are free to sin since Christ paid the price. Others believe that we are saved by our own merits. If that were the case, I sure would be desperate . . . Unfortunately, none of these know God on a personal level.
We were not created to hurt others as sin does, nor is salvation a human product. Our Father in Heaven is the One who procured salvation for us, not the other way around: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name (Jesus) under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV2)
Still, many remain on the edge, wondering if they truly belong to God, or in other words, are they truly saved. Their doubts hinder them from experiencing our Father fully. Once I preached in a congregation of about hundred people. When asked who believed they were saved, only three hands went up, and one of them was my wife’s. Why even go to church if we are doomed? God is not a casino where maybe you can win the big prize!
The Bible is clear: The only proof that shows that we belong to God is the presence of God’s Holy Spirit living within us. “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Rom 8:11, NIV2)
It makes sense. If we are part of God’s family, God will reside within us, guiding us gently, exhorting us and loving us: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Rom 8:16-17, NIV2)
As long as we focus on His presence, nothing will faze us. We have nothing to worry about, for God is with us: “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Gal 4:6-7, NIV2)
The sign of his presence within us is an inner peace beyond understanding (See Phil 4:7).
Something happens when God’s Spirit takes up residence in us. Little by little, we find ourselves transformed into His likeness: “We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18, NIV)
Love starts to become a constant, a love that is willing to sacrifice oneself for the sake of others. As we know where we are heading, we have become fearless. Love drives us into action: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” (1John 3:10, NIV2)
Love doesn’t worry about salvation, for salvation is within us: “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” (1 John 3:14, NIV2)
The flowing of God’s Spirit within us moves us to action. This is why Jesus proclaimed: “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (John 7:38-39, NIV2)
As we begin to love as Jesus did, filled with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, we are assured beyond doubt that we are part of God’s family.
Oh, to be like the trout enjoying the pure fresh water of Kitch-Iti-Kipi. God’s presence within us is even more reviving!