People actually in the dark . . . tend to not question whether they are or not. They bump into stuff and say, "What's this? What's that?" When the Light is on--when it beams through you because He (Who IS the Light) is in you, you see things clearly. Well, increasingly so. In the baby-steps part of the Walk, there is still a lot of learning and orientating going on, but steadily, surely, you begin to See more and more what's what and who's who.
A good test for the legitimacy of your walk on the path of Truth . . . is that your ability to discern grows more and more quick and focused. The process of sanctification also causes you to become more holy. Yep, holy. Made in the image of God . . . and now indwelt by the Holy Spirit Himself . . . you should increasingly change to be conformed more and more to the image and character of Christ. Bold claim? Perhaps to the disbelieving, but this is what is promised and it does actually occur.
Who to trust? A believer recognizes his or her brothers and sisters in short time. Like recognizes like. False teachers, phony "prophets", purveyors of falsehood and confusion are Seen because the Spirit of Truth, of Discernment is in Born Again.
A similar way to test whether you are truly on The Path or still floundering in the weeds is found in looking at your self and seeing that you are indeed becoming "sanctified." Are old bad habits finally being overcome? . . . Habits of thought, behavior, emotion? Or are you still just the same and maybe a little worse? You should be moving on, transforming--not repeating and repeating all of the same old sinful tendencies. Not that you are perfect now, but at the very least, the fruit of the Spirit ought be increasingly manifest within and around your life.
Also, do you crave more of the Truth? Or do you crave more rabbit trails, more adventures in made-up, fanciful theories and stories? Do you crave more of the Word, more of hearing the preaching of the Word and Gospel, more reading of the Truth expounded? Or do a thousand and one shiny objects continue to attract and distract your attention?
Proceeding along The Way . . . you should be acquiring an increasing thirst and hunger for the Truth and fellowship with those like-minded who also love the Truth. On the flip-side, you get a deepening impatience for fraud, lies, self-serving, sinful seduction, carnal and worldly temptations, tricksters, con-artists. A real, visceral distaste for blasphemy, Bible-bashing, bigotry, self-promotion, anti-Christ blather . . . develops in the believer who is well on The Way.
Compassion is there too, but not that fake compassion which is really just eager to give liars and frauds a break because deep down you know you too are a partner in deception, so you dare not throw stones.
Real compassion comes from recognizing "there but for the grace of God would be I", and then true humility and gratitude to God Who is sovereign.
Another big test is, in fact, noting whether secretly you begrudge God's sovereignty and are always still angling to give Man's will some preeminence. Whose will be done? Who is to rule the day? The unregenerate just can't quite ever give it all to God. They want to reserve even a little bit of glory to themselves. "I did it. Okay, He did a lot, but I did some too!"
"Luke-warmness" is another sign. Are you lazy, apathetic, wishy-washy, tepid toward the Gospel? Do a hundred other topics and goals take its place in your day-to-day thoughts, emotions and actions? How often do you think about God during each day and night? Rarely, if ever? To the true disciple of Jesus, nothing is more important, interesting, attractive, drawing. Oh yes, there can be other interests--there has to be in surviving in this world. But God and the Gospel ought not be way down on the list of things and Persons you think of and act toward. The real believer is working out his/her salvation with "fear and trembling". It should be your life work AND your premier hobby.
. . . .And everything I just wrote can be easily backed up by Scripture. It's the way it is.
I also believe that someone reading this will be convicted if they are a child of God. I am in myself even having written it. But a false convert, a "Chino" (Christian In Name Only), or flat-out "child of wrath/the devil" (remembering that "he who is not with Him is against Him) will reject it, contest it, resent it, or just shrug it off, assuming they would even be reading this blog in the first place. The Subject and subjects I write about, for the most part, would be a complete turn-off and bore to the unregenerate, unless they like to revel in and compound their hatred and condemnation of me and the Subject.
How 'bout that?
:) Have a Gospel centered day and praise God!