Newly-converted Christians are often plagued with doubt. When they feel confused or perturbed, they feel inclined to give up easily and start over again. What causes this? They have not yet learned to discern that it is Satan’s voice that is zealously trying to discourage them. Dear disheartened and despairing soul: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Therefore, rest assured; you can overcome doubts and discouragement. An older, mature Christian will acknowledge that it is common for Satan to try to discourage and confuse a new Christian specifically regarding the credibility of their salvation.
Hear this though, young child of God. Why would you so easily give up your redemptive experience and have doubts about your salvation? Before you were pardoned, you were not plagued by Satan by such doubts because you had no reason to doubt. The fact that Satan is trying to discourage you is simple proof that you have been saved. The devil will stalk you and will try to plague and confuse you. God never does that. He loves stillness, peace, and confidence, but hates chaos and confusion. It is Satan who whispers, “Start all over again.” He knows how to attack your weakness. If you lend him your ear, he will gladly continue his craftiness until you are completely disheartened. Even if he persuades you to start over again, he will continue to torment you, allowing you to believe that your salvation is not genuine. Will you truly allow him to drag you into such an agonizing tumult? No! Through the power of Christ, confront him sooner rather than later.
It is God’s plan and purpose to ground us and save us for all time. It will never be in His will nor plan that we should give up our salvation. Through His lovingkindness, our Lord made His sacrifice for us, making it possible for us to be saved forever, each day getting brighter and better. Perhaps you are countering, saying: “But I have so many trials, and my mind is bombarded with so many unpleasant thoughts. Why do I have to feel so bad?” We know that everyone who has entered the Way of Life will have trials and troubles and that their hearts do not always produce the best feelings.
The following example is meant to illustrate this. Presume that you have registered at a music school, signed the contract, and even made a deposit. By following the protocol, having fulfilled the requirements and receiving acceptance by the administration, you have become a student of music even though you may not have any musical knowledge and cannot distinguish between an “A” and a “G.” Imagine now if you said, “I don’t feel that I am a music student, not being able to recognize the musical notes. I guess it would be better for me to quit.” Or, if after a few lessons you would say: “I don’t feel like a musician, so it is better that I give it all up and start all over.” Wouldn’t that be ridiculous? Wouldn’t that be a contradiction to the fact that you are, after all, a student of music? Your task is only to diligently and boldly keep learning so that you eventually become a virtuoso.
This is exactly how it is concerning the lessons and exercises of your Christian experience. When we fulfill the conditions and requirement of God’s Word and our names have been entered into the Book of Life, we are truly God’s children. Satan, however, roams about like a roaring lion. He tries to frighten us and whispers that something may not be quite right with our salvation. But let it be said that even if you cannot distinguish the difference between an “A” and a “G” in your practical service, do not drop out of God’s school. Rather, continue to research God’s Word, and soon you will discover clarity and one truth after another. Eventually, you will become so skilled that you will become an example for others.
The best remedy to overcome doubt is to read God’s Word with a prayerful heart. Just as Jesus countered Satan with the Word of God, you must also resist the devil with God’s Word. Do not run away, but lift up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one. We walk and live in faith, even when we cannot see or feel anything.
If we wanted to go by our feelings and use them as a guide to measure our salvation, it would be as foolish as if a precision engineer would use the mercury thread of a thermometer to do his precise measurements. We know that it is about as unstable as our feelings are and is regulated by the temperature of its surroundings. We do, however, have something reliable and certain; it is our faith. “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Our faith makes it possible to remain saved, even in trials and in the darkest hours. If we falter during a trial, it demonstrates that we don’t have faith. 1 John 5:4 says: “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” And, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). Therefore, be courageous and believe in Him who says in His Word: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1).