How Do I Know I'm a Christian?

How Do I Know I'm a Christian?

by R. York Moore

Becoming a Christian is the most important decision you could ever make! This single decision changes you forever…but what about right now?

New Christians often struggle with initial doubts and questions. You, too, may be wondering, “Am I genuinely a Christian?”

It’s important to know that becoming a Christian is not just about one point in time—a particular moment when you gave your life to Christ. Instead, following Jesus is a lifelong journey. It’s a process that will lead to a number of changes in your life, both now and over time.

How the Process Begins

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This verse makes it clear you are new, set free, given a fresh start, born all over again when you choose to recognize what Christ did for you on the cross in order to pay the penalty for your sin.

By embracing this message—the gospel—you receive the new life he offers through his resurrection power and leadership over your life.

Signs of Transformation

When you accepted new life in Christ, God began to change you. That’s because he is after a whole-person transformation of how you think, feel, and behave.

For some people, change is quick and obvious. For others, it is slow or hidden. There are markers for growth along the way that can help you recognize this transformation. Some of these signs are listed in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."

Love is the overarching characteristic of God’s transformation of your life. Love looks like joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You demonstrate God’s transformation process by living a life of love in your relationships with God, others, and yourself.

Note that, even after becoming a Christian, you may still have desires for your old way of life and occasionally relapse into ungodly behaviors. That’s because Christians can and do struggle with hatred, jealousy, sexual sin, and so on. The key word here, however, is struggle. Christians aren’t throwing themselves headlong into an old life of sin; rather, they work with God daily to walk in a new life of love. For new Christians, this can be frustrating and discouraging as the temptation to rely on old habits and comforts is still fresh, and can create doubt about their new start with Christ.

God’s Gifts to Help Your Process

Fortunately, God gives new Christians like you gifts that empower you to live the life of love:

  1. God gives you the Holy Spirit who comes and lives in you to enact God’s promise of transformation. From the inside out, the Holy Spirit changes your feelings and thoughts, and gives you power to change your behavior. If you'd like help praying about the Holy Spirit's role in your life, here are 6 Prayers to Help a New Believer Receive the Holy Spirit.
  2. God gives you the Bible, his recorded Word. By reading the Bible, your attitudes and perspective on the world around you–and within you–begin to realign. Through regular Bible study, the life of love becomes clearer, and you see growing evidence of God’s transformation in you. One way to begin learning how to study the Bible is to grab a friend and go through the Launch session called "How do I learn something from the Bible?" You can also look at the list of resources on that session's On Your Own page.
  3. God gives you other Christians. The worldwide Church is the community that Jesus formed to connect Christians to each other, to lead all of us into life-change, and to bring us together to heal and serve a lost and hurting world. To learn more about Christian community, go through the Launch session called "Why do I need Christian community?" and check out the videos, audio, books, and articles on its On Your Own page as well.

These are just a few of the encouraging ways you can know God is at work in you now that you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior.

How have you noticed yourself change or used God’s gifts to you so far in your relationship with him? Share your experiences in a comment below.