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How Can I Tell If I Belong to Christ?

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Some “proofs” that you belong to Christ include some of these things:

  • You begin to hate your sin.
  • You WANT God to change you.
  • You are willing to learn to trust Him with everything and you want to give up your own control.
  • You are willing to submit to Him – meaning, He is in charge now, not you. He is Lord of your life. He is the Master.
  • You are willing to seek His will above your own.
  • You realize His wisdom is much greater than yours.
  • You see Him changing you over time to be more like Jesus.
  • You see more and more fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23.
  • You desire Him or you want to learn to desire Him more than anything else.
  • Things of this world begin to be less and less important. You are willing to give up “friendship with the world” in order to have friendship with God.
  • Things of God begin to be more and more important.
  • You want to hear His voice and obey Him. You learn to recognize His voice and you want to be quick to do whatever He commands.
  • You want to spend time with Him.
  • You want to please God rather than people.
  • You want to hear solid Bible teaching/preaching.
  • You are willing to receive life-giving rebukes from God and from mature, godly, wise believers.
  • You want to share this Greatest Treasure with many other people.
  • You want everyone to know Jesus.
  • You want to know God more and more.
  • You are passionate about God and you want to be even more on fire for Him.
  • You have His peace and joy in your heart.
  • You want to love God above everything in life and love other people.
  • If you see that you are putting anything above Christ in your life and heart, you are willing to get rid of it no matter how painful it might be.
  • You are willing to be content with what you have because your contentment comes from Christ Jesus, not your circumstances.
  • You are willing to learn to be thankful for suffering, knowing God is using that to prune, refine, and mature you.
  • You want to praise and thank Him.
  • You want to pray.
  • You want to bless others.
  • You want to take care of the poor, the oppressed, those who are hurting, etc…
  • You want to love those who mistreat you.
  • You want to forgive and not hold on to bitterness.
  • The Bible is alive to you, you know God is speaking to you through it, and you want to read it.
  • You can’t be comfortable living in sin.
  • You want to humble yourself before God and become less and less so that God can become more and more in your life.
  • God refines your motives and points out your selfishness, pride, self-righteousness, control, idolatry, jealousy, lust, disrespect, contempt, unforgiveness, bitterness, materialism, greed, etc… and you want to get rid of those things.
  • It is His power that is changing you, not your own. He begins to radically change your heart, mind, and soul. You are willing and thankful to grant Him access to allow Him to change you.
  • Your motives are just that you love God and want to please Him. Your motives are not fear or guilt – but LOVE.

 

Of course, this is a process – the process of sanctification.

None of us will be perfect until heaven. We grow from babies in Christ to mature adults in Him. But if we belong to Jesus, He will change us and we will respond to His voice. There are times when it is harder to hear Him. Sometimes that is because of sin in our lives – sometimes we are under the enemy’s attack or we are very weak/exhausted/sick. Sometimes we stumble, then we want to get right back up. In general, however, the direction of our lives is moving in the way that I described above.

I hope this might be helpful. 🙂

9 thoughts on “How Can I Tell If I Belong to Christ?

  1. April, thank you for publishing the list of fruit that will be in our lives if we belong to Christ. I often wonder if I’m doing ok with God; your list was very encouraging to me, because most of that is true in my life.

    The one I struggled with lately is “If you see that you are putting anything above Christ in your life and heart, you are willing to get rid of it no matter how painful it might be.” The struggle for me was, I was madly in love with a girl, but I wasn’t sure if it was ok with God if I remarried. But I did seek God and His will with all my heart on the matter, and I concluded that it was in fact ok with Him if I remarried. In fact, I honestly believe that He set the whole thing up. (My wife believes the same thing — we were married on Jan 4th!)

  2. What a beautful list, April – how I long to have even half of these things right in my own life!
    I just wanted to share 2 little encouragements from the past week, which have shown me how much I have changed in my heart towards my husband and marriage! Jesus is changing me daily and doing a work in my life that I am just amazed by.
    One is a tiny thing: I went out on Sunday night to church with my son, and left my husband home alone (not unusual). When I returned he had tidied up and hoovered the lounge. I was so thankful! Yes, I thanked him straightaway, and guess what? My heart matched my words! Now, just to tell you, when my husband hoovers, which isn’t that often, he does this thing where he never sweeps the other downstairs rooms (kitchen, hall) so the freshly hoovered lounge carpet doesn’t stay that way for long with people walking around between rooms! So a few weeks ago I would’ve made some comment about it, and felt cross with him for only doing half a job. Now I am grateful that he lovingly made the effort and did a household job without being asked, just to be helpful and please me. And I didn’t have to hold back any negative criticism- it genuinely wasn’t there! God has changed my heart so much lately, and little things like this just show me 🙂
    The other one is bigger: For many years I have kept a secret from him concerning my giving. I have my own bank account, where my monthly salary goes, and I pay a set amount into our joint account where his money goes – I have only just realised how disrespectful to him this is. But he is not a Christian and has no concept of tithing or giving to charity. So I just hid it from him and did it behind his back. Now that I am trying this new thing where I respect him (!) I felt convicted to tell him the truth. I was so afraid of his reaction and I felt so guilty and worried. But he has been so kind and loving about it – praise God! He just said, ‘well I go to football matches and sometimes music concerts’! (i.e. he thinks that it’s fine if I spend money too, on my ‘hobby’ of God! 😀 )
    So I just want to encourage others who might be ‘unequally yoked’ that you can be open about the “God stuff” and trust God to protect you and your motives and go ahead of you to prepare your husband’s heart.
    I feel so relieved that it is out in the open! I have hidden my giving for 8 years!
    Exciting times ahead!!!
    Much love in Christ, Sus

    1. Sus,

      WOW! I am so excited to hear about how you were appreciative and not critical of your husband Sunday night. THAT IS AWESOME! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!

      WOOHOO!

      I am very glad that you decided to be truthful about your tithing. I know that was scary! But what a respectful thing to do – to be honest with him. I know he will appreciate that gesture. And wow, what a blessing that he was fine with you giving. God is so very good!

      Beautiful! I am so excited to be on this road with you, my precious sister!!!!!!

  3. Great stuff again April. Thank you for writing this.

    I’m grieving some years of confusion still, but as usual your recognizable heart for holiness is reminding me of the way back to where I was in the good ways!

  4. Even as I am going through a tough phase, I can find the list so useful to keep myself in constant check rather be found off guard!!! Its truly a struggle which develops our character in the likeness of God…

    Thanks April for this post!!!

  5. Wow April I am so encouraged by this post..I have read it before, but I read it again today just as a reminder…because like most, I too struggle with this issue, and I long for clarity….because when I turn in upon myself, all I see is vileness…and isn’t that the greatest Grace? To know how vile we are, yet He loves us….and chose us….It is hard to fathom how He could! I read from a man of God yesterday, that unworthiness is the spirit of the church…pride and worthiness is the spirit of the WORLD! It just reminds me of the loving mercy of our God…and of His goodness!!! Thanks for sharing your many beautiful lessons God has taught you!

    Love,
    Amanda

    1. Amanda,

      Yes! Pride is the root of all evil and sin. Our thinking we are good enough on our own and we are worthy – that leads to all the other wickedness. Because then, we know “better” than God – just like Satan thought he did.

      So thankful this was a blessing to you, my sweet sister. 🙂 And thank you for sharing what God is showing you! He blesses me so much through the fresh insights He gives you.

  6. April, Even though God has been showing me so many things and teaching me….lately I have been feeling the need to seek how God truly changes our heart….and I am landing right back to the point that we must TRUST Him and hope in Him alone…and it makes total sense to me…… yet I keep failing!!!

    It is so strange, and it boggles my mind….back in January when I first found your site, I was like an open heart just eating up everything God was showing me through your site and just really embracing everything and I saw true change in myself and so did my husband….over the first month or 2, my husband was respondant, yet he was very much not obeying the word, but we were still living apart for his job, so I only really caught a glimpse of it on the weekends. Things were great for me – I held onto Christ for dear life at the time and I truly found joy and rest and peace, whether my husband was content or not.

    In March, however, we hit some trials and everything I held onto – I just let it all go and totally did a 360 back to my old ways. I became bitter at my husband, I started trying to please him, I got very insecure and frustrated if he didn’t want me, I just basically made him my life all over again. And he did NOT respond well, in fact, something so major happened, I am now in counseling and so is he because of what happened.

    Counseling has been going good, and my husband’s job sent him back home, so we are now back in the same home and that alone has helped a lot. But this time around, my husband has been the one who is content, while on the other hand, I have not been so much. And your husband’s quote keeps ringing in my head “Grace is like looking in a mirror” (something like that 🙂 ) But that is what is happening, God is truly giving my husband the power to control himself and respond with grace and to forbear my random spurts of sin, basically. And I don’t like it. I want to CHANGE!!! And I am blessed to be home ALONE while my son is back in school, and my husband is at work, and I seek God EVERYDAY! Everyday….and He has been faithful to still show me and lead me and guide me….but why is my heart not changing? 🙁 Why am I still stumbling over this same issue…wanting my husband to give me my worth and why am I still disrespecting him when I KNOW BETTER?! And what hurts the most is, a few months ago I WAS DOING IT!! AND FULL OF JOY!!!! I keep confessing my sin..and asking God to change me…I’m not denying I have issues here or sin!!! I am fully aware of my short comings….and I so long to change….

    You clearly have seen a lot with the women on your site.. is this a normal phase?

    And not only that, I have discovered time and time again, that yes JESUS is my only source of TRUE satisfaction……… AND I’VE EXPERIENCED THIS!!! …… so why am I still stumbling??? why am I still forgetting!? This is a lonely road right now….. and I am so thankful to have a sister out there like you who has been through it all and has helped many a woman to the truth!

    Much much love,
    Amanda

    1. Amanda,

      I can definitely relate! And I think many women can. Although, it took me way longer to know what to do – I fumbled around for 2.5 years before I started to have any clue what I was doing! But then it was another year before I felt this new place was more “natural” and didn’t require constant emotional/spiritual contortion.

      This is a LONG journey. It takes time to have total heart change. Please don’t be discouraged! If your husband has recently come home, you are having to make a big adjustment. It is MUCH EASIER to be respectful long distance than it is to truly respect and honor our husbands’ leadership on a daily basis with them living with us. There will be temptations to make our husbands into idols again – that is always a potential temptation. When you find yourself feeling negative, bitter, upset, entitled, resentful, and upset – go to God. Journal. Ask Him to help you see your motives and any sin that you may be cherishing in your heart. There is a LONG process of refining our motives. Well, that process doesn’t end until heaven! But there will be many tests. You will stumble at times – especially the first few years of this journey, it seems. Or when there are big tests. Or any time when you are not keeping Christ on the throne of your heart. The flesh is always waiting to rise back up. We have to nail it back to the cross as soon as it begins to make a move.

      What are your greatest fears?

      What do you believe you need to be content and happy?

      What thoughts fill your mind the most?

      Are you taking your thoughts captive for Christ?

      What are you praying for? Why?

      What are you feeding your mind with – romance novels or romantic movies or songs?

      Are you spending time with friends or family or coworkers who bash their husbands?

      I’d be glad to hash through this with you. It can be a lonely road, I have a post about that. And one about not expecting outside support.

      Is there something you are still holding back from trusting to God?

      Are you willing to be completely content in Christ alone without anything else?

      What is your counselor suggesting? Is this person living a Spirit-filled life and setting a godly example?

      Much love to you!

  7. April, Thank you for being willing to sort this out—- it means so much to me. I am grateful! I have also dived into many of your posts about these certain things and I have been helped extremely by them in understanding the different aspects of this journey and different stages and even what is going on in my heart…… But there is still something..which I hope to discover now. So here goes:

    1. Greatest Fears:
    -That I will never change and be “good enough” for God, my husband, or anyone (I know this is PRIDE! and that I can’t ever be good enough to earn Grace….yet I can’t let this go. And it is something I am working with the counselor specifically about…I have been wounded many a time, and the constant “theme message” in my life has been “You are not good enough”

    -To be abandoned by my husband

    2. Need for Contentment: Well, before I dove into that Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment book, I struggled with this. And I think I tend to struggle with it subconsciously still, now that my husband is home. I am that soul that ever longs to be satisfied, and so far, in my 29 years of life, I have tried it all– and ONE THING- Jesus Christ Himself, has been the only satisfaction I have ever had in my heart. But for a really long time, even though I believed with my brain that I only needed Jesus, I found myself always seeking love/men/a husband to make me happy. It was always about finding the man who would actually love me and marry me and take care of me and treat me right! And that fell apart about 2 days after I got married. (It was funny when I read your book intro about how you thought your marriage was going to go…I so had the same exact expectations! lol) Right now, I am desperately seeking the face of GOD! I know that HE is the only one that can satisfy my heart, and I am seeking Him to make it a REALITY in my heart…… I just want Him, I want Him to change me…. maybe I think I need to change in order to be happy?

    3. & 4.God is on my mind the MOST. He is literally my life anymore. I am so blessed to have the time alone to seek Him daily. I have gleaned so much from your journey specifically about this topic and about how whatever we think about grows…it is so true and I can confirm that once I stopped constantly thinking negative, and started focusing solely on God and praising him and singing to Him all the day….things changed. My focus shifted off of my husband. BUT—— the times that I have sinned lately since he’s been home…..I found my thoughts to be VERY NEGATIVE in that moment..for example…if he didn’t do/say/think/know whatever I wanted in those demanding moments, I would immediately think negatively…it took actual like taking control of my thoughts for me to stop..and realize that it wasn’t helping…..and I would either wait to bring it up in our marriage counseling or I would try to talk to him about it without freaking out..sometimes i freaked out, but he has shown grace in those times, thank God!

    5. I have been praying for God to reveal Himself to me, and to change my heart and to lead me through my husband. I’ve been praying to be filled with the Spirit and for God to heal my wounded heart. For Him to give me faith and teach me how to truly TRUST Him in every way. To expose any sin, etc. To open my eyes and to soften my heart!

    6. I am not feeding my mind with any type of romance novels, songs, etc. I have never really been into that type of thing. I am feeding my mind everyday with the Word of God and reading Christian books, your blog…I mostly seek answers to what I feel God is laying on my heart!

    7. Sadly, I do not have many friends where we live, being that we only moved here for my husbands job. The few friends I do have are not husband-bashers at all, and the friends and family I do keep in touch with from where I’m from are fully supportive of my marriage and they are sisters in Christ!

    8. I think this one is a MAIN issue that I am seeing clearly as I read your response…… Trusting God has been the theme lately for me as well….God keeps bringing me back to this point all the time lately….And when I started counseling, it was the first thing revealed….that I have been trying to save my life my whole life due to all the wounds and rejection.. it’s like, I believed the lies that I wasn’t good enough (my father was abusive, i sought love from men my whole life and every one left me high and dry, etc), and so I learned from an early age to not trust men, my father, anyone, because all they will do is use me, hurt me, or leave me for no apparent reason. This was re-inforced when my son’s father left me while pregnant to be with another woman who he married instead of me. I never realized the extent of my life-saving mentality until I started counseling and she recomended the book ‘Captivating’–God used it to open my eyes to this fact, and ever since, I have been seeking Him to show me what the issue is..and I see now that it is a major issue!!!! I am very scared to trust my husband again. I’ve been deeply hurt by him and we have only been married for 2 years…But I know this is not the way it should be and that I should trust God no matter WHAT he does or doesn’t do….but it’s just so hard for me and I don’t know why….I want to trust Him for real…..but I am struggling with it. Like here’s a picture of this—-I say I trust God in the morning when I journal my prayers, etc…..I’m thinking I fully trust Him…then my husband drives us somewhere and I am holding on for dear life making “OMG” noises at every turn and when it LOOKS like he’s about to drive off the road, even though I am only imagining it! (trying to save my life, while thinking I am trusting God).

    9. I am more than willing to be content in Christ alone…I long for this…I long to TRULY DEEPLY let go of all my fears and life-saving control, and all my hurts and just truly, really, forever, be satisfied and fully trusting in CHRIST no MATTER WHAT!

    10. My counselor is a Christian and her advice is Biblical…she encourages me to respect my husband and affirm His leadership etc, and she is also working with me on this major trust issue……

    Maybe this is why I am so focused on why Am I not changing…… I can SEE it. I know what the issue is….but actually letting go…I am not there yet. I want to be though! It sounds so easy……why Can’t I do it??

    1. Amanda,

      My sweet, precious sister…. none of us are good enough. None of us are worthy. Only Jesus. We can die to that old self that is not worthy and receive His worthiness as our identity – but it is all Him and His Work and power, not ours. It is painful to tear out all that pride. But it has to go – and a proper understanding of God, ourselves, and others must take the place of pride – a godly, beautiful, humility – which is the root of every virtue.

      This takes time. It is a lot like eating an elephant, in my view. You take a few bites and chew on it and digest that. But you can’t eat the whole thing in a day, a week, two months, or maybe even a year. This is a lifelong process of sanctification. You have some very major wounds, scars, and wrong spiritual thinking. So you work on what God shows you each day and seek Him wholeheartedly – but have grace for yourself. The women I have known – it seems that it often takes a number of years to feel like they begin to become “fluent” in respect and biblical submission – and in trusting and yielding to God. You had some really awful examples of masculinity – and we tend to assume that God’s character is like our father’s. There is deep heart work to be done to dig out the lies and tear them out and then to slowly rebuild on Christ and His truth alone. This can’t be rushed.

      You will have to slowly hash through all of the wrong thinking and lies and scars with God’s Spirit and maybe some counseling, too. This will be a cross country journey of 3000 miles. It is not a sprint. Be patient with yourself. Accept that it takes time to grow spiritually just like it takes time for a baby to physically grow to adulthood. You will not be perfect in this lifetime – but God can mature and grow you and you can learn to live in victory in Christ. You don’t have to be a slave to sin anymore. 🙂 WOOHOO!

      Is your husband driving recklessly or really fast? Or is it just scary not being in control? Do you live in the mountains? I do that when we are in the mountains even though I trust Greg completely and his driving is awesome. Sometimes I can’t look at the road around all of those hairpin turns!

      Much love to you!

  8. April,
    Thank you for this encouragement. God is showing me that yes, it will take a lot longer than I would like! (There’s that 100 mile an hour emotions running in me 🙂 ) I need to stop. Wait. Be patient. And let His spirit do the work in my heart. I think what is happening is God is taking me deeper and it is hurting more again. But this is necessary. I have discovered that I am scared that if I don’t change, my husband will leave me. I am also realizing now that this is why it is so important, a MUST, to put GOD and PLEASING ONLY HIM first…because when Christ is truly on the throne of my heart, I will not be shaken by what anyone does or doesn’t do. I can rest and trust God, and seek HIM. I see now that it is an idol I’ve had for my whole life…… that I’ve wanted the love of a man more than anything else. But here’s the truth—I’ve never had it, I never will have it (the way I long for, the way only GOD can fulfill), and it needs to be torn down and let go for good! Otherwise I will keep coming back to these old ways and old thinking and misery that is self-inflicted.

    Wow, never thought letting go would be so hard! I will continue to work through my fears and trust issues with God and I am believing for Him to truly change my heart and mind by His Word and Spirit!!!! This is actually exciting right now, because I see that I’ve just put so much emphasis on my OWN ability and my OWN need to change, I’ve lost everything, including my joy and intimacy with my husband. Totally not what I was shooting for there! But there is HOPE! THANK YOU JESUS!!! His Grace truly is enough!!!!

    And I am choosing to do the work, believing that over time, God will align my heart with my mind and it will be all for His Glory!!!

    I am also SO THANKFUL TO GOD that this time around, it didn’t take months and months for me to realize what He was trying to do in me and what He was showing me was in my heart still about all this…..I am grateful…He is surely Faithful, and He has kept His promise to continue the work He has started in me! Praise God!!!!

    As for my husband’s driving, he’s a fine driver, he’s never endangered us, but I have been in many accidents in my life and my imagination just soars with the possibilities of how we could end up in the ditch if he even looks away for one second! I need Jesus desperately lol 🙂 Yes, We live in the North where mountains and turns are an everyday thing 🙂 He gets upset though that I don’t trust him…so I try as hard as I can to just not say anything anymore and not even look, now I usually just close my eyes!

    I am so thankful God brought you into my life. You are living proof 🙂

    Love, Amanda

    1. Amanda,

      I smile every time I read a comment from you. God’s work in you is unmistakable, powerful, and beautiful. Yes, be patient, sweet sister! His work takes time. He is a Master Artist. The chisel is painful, but what He creates will be stunning! I love your heart to learn and to yield to Christ and to seek Him. You are really getting it!

      I am sending you the BIGGEST HUG EVER!!!!

      Much love!
      April

  9. THANK YOU! HUG ACCEPTED! 🙂 AN GIVEN BACK 10 FOLD!!!

    These are YOUR words below) that I just came across in a diff post, and my heart melted….as I believe the Lord is speaking right to me through you!

    “Much more than you having a strong marriage, God wants you to desire Him, to know Him, and to look to Him alone to meet your needs. He wants your life to glorify Him.

    God is never going to allow us to put our marriages, our husbands, our feelings, or anything or anyone else above Himself in our hearts. That is idolatry. If His having you go through a painful trial results in you growing in your faith and you making Him THE priority in your life and putting everything else WAY below Him – then this trial was worth it in God’s eyes. One day, it will be worth it in your eyes, too, my dear sister! You know the pain you have when your husband doesn’t want to spend time with you? That is a similar pain that God experiences when you brush Him off and don’t want to spend time with Him – except that His pain is much deeper.”

    Amen!! TY JESUS!

    1. Amanda,

      I’m so thankful God is speaking to you. When His Spirit is working, we hear Him in new ways – at deeper and deeper levels as the journey continues. I believe He is pouring His love, truth, and words through me to you. 🙂 How cool is that!?!?!?!

      Much love!!!!!

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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