The apostle Paul wrote a very odd thing in a letter to Christian believers, he said:
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” 2 Corinthians 13 verse 5
So how can we test ourselves, if in fact we would describe ourselves as Christians, to see whether or not we are really Christians or just kidding ourselves? Well, Jesus has given to us a very helpful parable which supplies us some tests, it is that Parable of the Sower. Let me give you a brief summary of the parable. The sower sows his seed (which is the word of God) and it ends up in four different places as follows: the path, hard and fully unreceptive, the rocky place, receptive but in reality shallow, the thorny patch, again receptive but sadly choked with other things, and lastly the good soil, receptive and more crucially bearing fruit.
The soils relate to four different types of people, and only one type is a bonafide Christian according to Jesus’ own measure, and that is the one who, in the final analysis, is not barren but fruitful. Now we all tend to make assumptions and by default most people would see themselves as the good soil and bearing fruit, although they would admit that they are, of course, not perfect.
How can we tell if this is the correct assumption to make about ourselves? The passage itself gives four stress tests which will show up the true nature of things. What are they? Problems and persecution, worries and wealth. Never ask yourself, am I a Christian, when all is good and the sun is shining, reality gets shown up when instead there is much pressure heaped up on you.