Here are two quotes for meditation from chapter 3 of the book, The Deliberate Church:
Often Christians will share the Gospel with an unbeliever and then encourage him to pray a written prayer. People may indeed repent and believe this way. But then the well-meaning evangelist will encourage the “new believer” that “if you prayed that prayer and sincerely meant it, then congratulations! You are now a child of God.” Yet praying a prayer is never offered in Scripture as a ground of assurance, nor is sincerity. Jesus tells us not to look at prayers and sincerity for assurance, but at your actions—the fruit of our lives (Matt. 7:15-27; John 15:8; 2 Pet. 1:5-12). The New Testament tells us to look at the holiness of our conduct, the love we have for others, and the soundness of our doctrine as the key indicators of our assurance (I Thess. 3:12-13; I John 4:8; Gal. 1:6-9; 5:22-25; I Tim. 6:3-5) (53).
I agree with this. There is too much superficial, professing Christianity. But for one so introspective like me, I have to look beyond the intensity of my actions for full assurance. I never measure up. I feel woefully inadequate in my love, in my actions, and in my doctrinal soundness. Like the morose David Brainerd, I am reduced to pitiful discouragement.
Yet my fears and depression flee when I look upon the object of my faith, when I look upon the beautiful Christ in blazing glory.
And the second to the last paragraph of the chapter . . .
“Benefit evangelism” fills our churches with people who are taught to expect everything to go their way just because they became Christians. But Jesus promises persecution for following Him, not worldly perks (John 15:18-16:4; cf. 2 Tim. 3:12). We want to build Christians and churches who persevere through hardship, who are willing to suffer and be persecuted and even die for the Gospel of Christ, because they value God’s glory more than the temporal benefits of conversion. We don’t want people to become Christians because it will reduce their stress. We want them to become Christians because they know they need to repent of their sins, believe in Jesus Christ, and joyfully take up their cross and follow Him for the glory of God (56-57).