How do we know what we believe? The question seems nonsensical in a way, but the bible affirms that our hearts are dishonest.
How do we know we have faith or are a true follower of God? I suppose than answer is not easy. First the question is if we have doubt "do we want to believe."
You see the desire to believe is usually a sign of faith.
A lot of people try to look negatively at the issue: how righteous am I. The whole issue is that righteousness is not a lack of bad actions. This is always the worst way to look at the situation especially since the issue with a dead heart is it does not see sin.
The main two ways to truly perceive faith are: where is your time and where your treasure is.
First where is your time? I'm not speaking about outward usage of time when people see us. There can be a bit of a deceptive nature to this. But when we have time and no one is watching what are we doing.
I'm not talking negatively saying are we sinning or not sinning. I'm saying when no one is watching is there a sense in which we positively live to the glory of God.
Did we happen to pick up a bible or a devotional when no one was looking? Did we think about anyone we knew in need and how they might be helped?
Did we have any contemplation of how the world might be better? Did we think of God? Was there anything good or noble or praise worthy we do when no one is around of which no one will know.
You see when we do good in private - real good of which we may not receive praise from men then we are following God. This is possibly one of the surest signs of faith.
Another is where is our treasure. The bible says where your treasure is there your heart is. We all have possessions and some of us are fortunate to have investments. But the simplicity is this have we done anything with our money for God.
Statistics suggest for most of the church the answer is no. Most of the charity of church members is done by 20% of its members. 20% of members account for 80% of giving. Usually giving to religion is also coupled with increased giving outside of religion as well.
Again there is a giving which has a nature of showiness to itself. The question is where is our money put when we have no benefit. Maybe we give but do we give if no one knows or praises us.
Obviously the quality of faith is difficult to judge. God knows and not man. If we want to believe we probably do.
I simply wish to point today to two signs of faith: the private use of time and money as what is done in secret is more important that what is not done. And absence of bad behavior is a much less interesting sign than what we infarct positively do when no one is looking.