You’ve done it. Stepped over the line and accepted God’s free gift of love and salvation, deciding to become a follower of Jesus Christ. You may feel different, forgiven and ready to start a new life. Or you may feel pretty much the same, but with a whole lot of new questions that come with a decision to do life God’s way. Either way, the next question is…
For new Christians, walking from their “decision” on wobbly spiritual legs, the next few moments, hours, and days can seem bewildering. There’s new vocabulary confusion, or “Christian-ese” that’s easier for theologians to understand than those who have just begun their journey spiritually. And it may seem like every Christian veteran has unsolicited advice for you.
So Corydon New Hope wants to provide some “crawl” steps on your way to what we pray will be a strong walk with God. Coincidentally, these are also STEPS that every Christian must make daily regardless of how long they have been a part of the family.
S – Start developing your relationship with God.
The entire “Christian” conversation, and the most distinctive part of our faith, is focused on God’s desire to have a relationship with us. He wants to be your friend and heavenly father. He wants you to know him, which is a deeply personal connection. At first, God may seem like a distant being, but He’s not. He’s very available. The more you know him, the more you will love Him and many, many other benefits will come. To know God you need to be with God.
The first, best way to know God is to read, and/or listen to the Bible, which is also referred to as God’s “Word” or “Scripture.” Consider God’s word daily bread you can’t live without.
- Beginner’s Tip: New Christians may want to get a Bible designed for “new believers” that offer how the Bible is organized, how to find certain passages, provide interpretation, and additional sections to answer some of the more common questions we all wrestle with. Also, don’t get bogged down trying to read the Bible cover to cover, and save books like “Deuteronomy” and “Numbers” for later on, because these are historical oriented and demonstrate the validity of the context. Instead, start with the New Testament, learning about the life and teachings of Jesus.
T – Talk to God about everything.
The words “pray” and “talk” are used interchangeably. Prayer is just talking to God, and it doesn’t have to be poetic, master-minded or perfectly worded. Just authentic. Share your concerns, hopes, dreams. Ask Him for what you need and want. He promises to hear your prayers, and answer them. But the answer may not always be the answer you’re hoping for. If you are at a loss of how to pray, don’t feel alone. Even Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach him how to pray. Read Matthew 6:8-14.
- Beginner’s Tip: You may want to start a “Journal” to record certain prayers, requests, thoughts etc. Over time, you will begin to see that God is answering your prayers in marvelous ways.
E – Experience God with others.
You are now a part of God’s family, which means a spiritual connection with God and other people. Find a church that studies the Bible. Join “Life STEPS” or another group where you can get insight and encouragement from others. You will find there is strength in numbers, and a community that cares.
- Beginner’s Tip: Test any advice you receive by comparing it with what the Bible says, and ask God to help you understand whatever “teaching” you receive.
P – Prioritize your faith.
Developing a relationship with your maker needs to become a top priority. Soon, you will see why. His love, protection, provision, wisdom, comfort and joy are just a few examples of how He will justify being your new priority in life. This paradigm shift may not happen overnight, so you will need to take time from your day to sit and seek him. Take time from your week to meet with other Christians, go to church. Find answers to your questions about God, creation, heaven and hell, the spiritual battle going on, your purpose, and yes, even God’s perspective on money.
S – Serve the Lord and Others
Service is a part of Christianity. Jesus was a leader-servant. He spent His time serving the Father and serving others. He said ‘The servant is not better than the Master’. In other words, if he did it, we should as well.
Seek God about how He would like for you to serve. If you’re not sure of His plan for you; volunteer at the church, seek out people in need, ask your Pastor. There will never be a shortage of opportunities for you to serve when you are serious about being used.
- Beginner’s Tip: Start your day by talking to God, reading the Bible and reflecting on your day. You may need to set aside a quiet space, and a few moments, but it’s a small step that will leap your forward in your faith.
You’ve entered a new life, a new lifestyle, with a new life pursuit that has eternal significance. Give it all to God, and you will be glad you did.
What advice would you give “new believers?” Add your comments below!