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Doubting my Salvation

My name is Ken G. I'm by trade a newspaper reporter, radio announcer and I have been a play-by-play sports caster. I love to play golf, bowl, play basketball, soccer and softball. I also like to run quite a bit. I live near Atlanta, GA.
I want to take this time to tell you about my struggles that I have had just about all of my life with one issue: Salvation. I know this is going to be an extremely Iong post, but try to bear with me. I don't want to go to hell and I want to go to heaven. I believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven. According to my mother, when I was very young, I prayed to receive Jesus into my heart at a very young age. I wish I could remember that, but I don't. Fortunately, she does.
I asked her if I was sincere about it and really understood what I was doing. She said that I understood what I needed to know: that God loves me and Jesus wants to save me. A couple of years later, I wanted to be baptized, but I fear I really didn't understand the significance of baptism (I believe I was 7 years old). Before I was baptized, I remember praying with a pastor, with my parents present, to receive Jesus as my savior. Unfortunately, I fear I was more interested in "going swimming" in the baptismal pool than getting saved. I hope that wasn't the case. I may have understood enough about salvation that I truly prayed to receive Jesus into my heart at that time. I certainly didn't have any negative thoughts or reservations about salvation that I would have later on in life.
Later on, my grandfather and I were having a conversation about Jesus. I told him that I wanted to be baptized because I wanted to go swimming in the baptismal pool. He said that was the wrong attitude. I was very distrought that I might not have been saved like I thought I had, so much so that when I prayed with my grandmother, I didn't want to face the fact that I might not have been saved in the first place, Although I probably was when I prayed with my mother. Again, I don't remember that event, but she does.

Later on in life, about when I was entering the sixth grade, I started having questions about whether God really exists. The very fact that I was having these doubts frightened me, even to the point of getting physically ill at times. This made me think I wasn't saved because when, while in class at a Christian school, a student asked the teacher: "What if someone gets saved, but later on decides that they don't believe in God?" The teacher replied: "That person was never saved to begin with." I went through a whole year questioning the existence of God. I eventually decided that I would believe in Him know matter what. A year later, I began praying to receive Christ over and over again, but couldn't ever get the satisfaction that He really saved me because I wasn't sure I was sincere enough. Unfortunately, this began a 30-year struggle to this day. Every time I would try to pray to receive Jesus, I would get thoughts of reservation. Thoughts of "Do I really want to be saved." Every time these thoughts would come up, I would tell Jesus to ignore those thoughts I was thinking and come into my heart and save me anyway, no matter what.
Beginning in eighth grade, it got even worse. I began having thoughts that I didn't want to see my parents in heaven because of the way they looked (they look just fine...just insane thinking on my part). I would pray over and over again asking Christ to save me, but again, I couldn't get the satisfaction that I was truly saved because of these negative thoughts. When I would think I was saved, I would have thoughts of regretting my salvation, making me feel even more like I wasn't saved. This went on for another two years. Then, in the Summer of 1988, wanting desperately to nail this down and sensing that I was "hardening my heart" I prayed very hard to receive Christ. It was at a Christian camp in South Carolina. Something was different. I thought I had finally done it. I had finally received Christ. It felt beautiful. I couldn't believe it. I thought everything had changed. However, a few weeks later, I sensed that the negative thoughts hadn't gone away. The cycle that started back in 1985 has unfortunately continued to this day. I have prayed "the sinner's prayer" over 20,000 times. Every time I would pray, I got the sense that Jesus was saying "Are you sure you want me in your heart?" It's as if Jesus starts to walk in and then stops just before stepping fully in because he thinks I don't mean it enough. Sometimes these thoughts go away and I don't worry about them. Sometimes I've felt like I don't want to be saved because I thought about being different from the rest of my family, but I no longer feel that way. I want to be saved and I want to know I'm saved. It's just that ever4y time I have tried to pray to received Jesus as my savior, thoughts of reluctance come into my mind. Thoughts of reservation. Do I really want to do this. I want to go to heaven and not hell. I ask God to take these reluctant thoughts about accepting Christ away and to come into my heart anyway, regardless of what I'm thinking or feeling. I ask him to change my heart and to help me get rid of any negative attitude towards him or towards being a Christian. I just hope I've been sincere enough.
For the last three months, I've been having intense worries and thoughts about going to hell. Once in a while, they're intense and last maybe a couple of days, but them I think about other things and then they go away, but not in this case. The thoughts would be so intense. "You're not saved and you're going to hell. You'll never get saved." I would get those thoughts. Sometimes I wonder if I'm still not really saved and perhaps the Holy Spirit is convicting me. This started in March and went all through March and April and into early May. Every day I felt depressed. I would wake up every morning feeling sick and depressed. I'd have diahrrea and my stomach would constantly growl. I exercised a good bit and that would help temporarily. I would feel better in the evenings and even stay up late watching tv and enjoying it. I would go to bed with the thoughts not as intense. In the middle of May, I started feeling better. I wasn't getting sick in the mornings like I was. I went up to Jonesboro, GA to cover a soccer game for the Albany Herald and I wasn't depressed or thinking about these thoughts about salvation. It's always been in the back of my mind for all these years, but there were times I wouldn't worry about it because because I would obsess about other things, like worrying about committing murder. Then at other times, I would be fine, not really worrying about anything. I enjoyed Mother's Day spending it with my Mom and family a few weeks ago. However, in the last week or so, the intensity of the thoughts have come back. The depression has come back, particularly in the morning. I'm trying to claim Romans 10:13. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." I have to keep remembering that and to tell Satan "Get behind me in Jesus name".
. In the first week of June, I went with a group of singles from my church in Atlanta to a singles retreat at St. Georgie Island, FL. Amazingly, once I got there, the salvation thoughts went away. I obsessed about other things, but I wasn't bothered about salvation. At that time, I was unemployed. I had lost my job with the retail merchandising company back in April of 2016. Then I got on with another company in May, but lost that one too. In mid June, I began to drive with Uber in Atlanta, even though I still had an apartment in Albany. I was having a blast, being my own boss. I was having fun and not worrying about anything, including salvation. However, because my car didn't meet Uber standards, I got too many low ratings and lost my job with Uber on July 28. I was unemployed again. August was a rough month with no money. The Rio Olympics came around, and for two weeks I was watching them and thinking about them, not salvation. Then when they were over, I started obsessing about Christmas. For several years I worried about Christmas and whether or not I was going to have a good time. I obsessed about Christmas from mid-August to September 17, 2016, but I wasn't thinking too much about salvation. Then, however, on September 17, the salvation worries and thoughts came back with a vengence. It was (and has been) the only thing I could think about. Since September 17, it's been "hell on earth". The worst I'd ever been since the Fall of 1985. That was when I started eighth Grade. Back then, I worried every day and prayed almost every day all the way through September 1986. My parents switched me to another Christian school and things did get better.
But now, the salvation issue has been bothering me tremendously ever since September 17, 2016. It's as if Satan has been constantly badgering me about it (if I am saved), or the Holy Spirit has been badgering me about it (if I'm not). It's as if the Holy Spirit might be saying: 'I'm going to make your life miserable every day until you finally accept Christ". I actually told the Holy Spirit to stop convicting me not because I don't want to be saved, but because I just want peace and relief. I have confessed all of my sins that I know of and asked God to reveal any that I haven't confessed. Either Satan or the Holy Spirit has me in a vice grip on my mind and won't let me go. I need relief. I need assurance of salvation. I don't want to live like this anymore. I want to get rid of these silly thoughts of reluctance and reservation. I may already be saved. I've prayed over and over again so many times. The fact the one would do that would indicate that they want Christ
I felt sad reading your testimony.

God is not waiting for you to pass a test by praying a prayer sincerely enough: your salvation depends on God's power and grace. He will hold you.

I wonder if it would be helpful (or even possible) to sidestep this issue. Ask yourself how you would follow Jesus if you were completely confident of your salvation. What would you lifeel look like?

Then start to live 'as if' you had complete confidence. Jesus asked the disciples to follow him before they believed in him and settles the questions of faith.
I know for me once I made reading the bible part of my daily life things really started becoming a lot clearer for me as far as if I was saved. Also anytime I am struggling with something I always think fasting praying and reading the bible and praying to God will help shed light on the issue. we have to be persistent sometimes. I am praying for you now Ken

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;knock and the door will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened
I believe your problem is you need to grow up spiritually. You need to find out through the scriptures what "authority" the Lord God has given you over all the power of the devil, and begin to exercise that authority in Jesus name If you never do this, you will constantly be bombarded by lying deceiving spirits that you are not truly saved!! The spirit of fear brings torment!!! Learn how to stand against all the wiles of the enemy of your soul, because only then will you begin to have that peace you are seeking.

Luke 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.

Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Eph 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

All Christians are in a battle, and that battle is raging against the thoughts in your mind to cause you to doubt what the Word of God has already said!!!

2Cor 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
2Cor 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2Cor 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

These weapon are the Word of God that we are suppose to speak out of our mouths!!! It is known as the "sword of the Spirit"
Welcome to TJ @Ken G ,
There is alot going on in your welcome post and maybe @Christ4Ever or any Staff can move your cry for help to a better fitted area where you might get more replies.

If you have any questions or issues with the forum, please feel free to contact a moderator and they will do what ever they can to help you out.

One thing Sir I can tell you that God is not the author of confusion nor is the Holy Spirit making you feel that way.
Been there before and blamed God and wasted 20 years of my life.

For Starters Sir, I would repent and ask God to forgive you and that you can't do this any more on your own.
Ask Jesus to be Lord of your life and give yourself unto God.

Now you can know that you know you are saved.

Then we can get you in His word and get you set free from these strong holds the enemy has kept you in bondage with.

Brother you can be free of all of this and you have come to a great place to see it happen.

Again Welcome to TJ