Billy Graham was fond of telling a story about Albert Einstein. Einstein was traveling but couldn’t find his train ticket when the conductor asked for it. After looking through all his belongings, Einstein couldn’t find the ticket. Finally the conductor said, “We know who you are, Dr. Einstein. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”
Before the conductor moved to the next car, he saw Einstein down on his hands and knees trying to find his ticket. He gently said, “Dr. Einstein, please don’t worry about it. I know who you are.”
Einstein looked up and said, “I, too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going!”
Many of us, in our serious moments, may be afflicted with what some refer to as the imposter syndrome, the internal belief that we are not as capable and competent as people think we are. It’s the nagging feeling that we’re really fakes. We tend to put ourselves down in comparison to others and believe that it’s only a matter of time before people discover that we are, in fact, frauds.
The late Maya Angelou said, “I have written 11 books, but each time I think, Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.”
Many believers struggle with doubt and experience the imposter syndrome in their relationship with Christ.
Many believers struggle with doubt and experience the imposter syndrome in their relationship with Christ. A study conducted by the Institute of World Mission some time ago discovered that fewer than 70 percent of Adventists worldwide are confident about their salvation.*
Some believers read these beautiful and assuring words, but doubt that they apply to them: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:11-13).
How can we be confident of our salvation?
First, we have to recognize in the providence of God and circumstances of life that God loves us and has a plan for our lives.
Second, we have to admit our undone state right up front; no excuses, no cover-ups, no rationalizations. We have to admit we cannot save ourselves (see Rom. 3:23).
Third, we have to understand that Jesus is the only solution to our sin-guilt problem. He loved and died for us (Rom. 5:8; John 14:6).
Finally, we have to accept Jesus as Redeemer, Savior, and Lord. As long as we commit to Christ and His righteousness, we have the assurance of salvation (see John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8, 9).
Let’s grasp His promise: “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37).
This is the time to be sure. Let’s invite Christ every day to run the affairs of our lives. Let’s commune with Him though prayer and read the Bible for strength. Let’s serve devotedly, meeting with other believers and serving others.
This is who we are, and it will take us where we want to be.
* “Three Strategic Issues: A World Survey” (Institute of World Mission, Andrews University, 2002).
Delbert W. Baker, a former vice-president of the Geeral Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, was until 2020, vice chancellor of the Adventist University of Africa near Nairobi, Kenya.