After I accepted Christ at a young age, I had trouble really knowing that it was true. Yes, I knew I had said the prayer. Yes, I even knew that I believed in Jesus. At the same time, I had this nagging doubt that I just couldn’t shake. Was I really saved? The matter was eventually resolved around a nap. One day I was lounging in the house going through my usual worries, and I decided I just couldn’t take it anymore. I decided I was either saved or I wasn’t – no more waffling – and drifted off to sleep. When I awoke the question was settled. I knew in my deepest being that I was saved, and the issue has been settled ever since.

What exactly happened during that nap? I think Romans 8:12-17 gives us the answer. Verses 16 tells us this:

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

According to this verse, knowing deep in our beings that we are saved isn’t something that we conjure up in ourselves. Instead, it is something that God himself settles within us by his Spirit. The Spirit is the one who testifies to our spirits that we are children of God. When I woke up from that nap, the Spirit’s testimony had taken root in my life. I simply knew, not because I talked myself into it, but because I clearly heard the Spirit’s testimony.

When we talk about the Spirit’s work in our lives, we aren’t talking about some abstract force that does abstract things. Instead, we are talking about the very presence of God doing very specific things in God’s people. The Spirit helps us know that we belong to God. Amazingly, by the Spirit we are able to call God the same thing that Jesus did: Abba Father. More than this, the Spirit makes us able to actually do the will of God. This is often a stuttering process as we bring our lives into line with the Spirit, but it is a true process nonetheless.

May we hear clearly that we belong to God, and may we align ourselves with his work in our lives.