You've Come to Christ. Now What?
- Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Brian Tome's book, Welcome to the Revolution: A Field Guide for New Believers, (Thomas Nelson Publishers).
Now that you've begun a relationship with Jesus Christ, you're excited about your newfound salvation and connection with God. But where do you go from here?
Living the Christian life may seem overwhelming to you right now. If you take it one step at a time, though, you'll grow in your faith.
Here's how you can start growing as a new Christian:
Recognize the difference between religion and revolution. You don't have to worry about trying to keep up with lots of religious rules. Instead, God calls you to something simpler yet more profound - inviting Him to transform you through the power of love. God isn't concerned just about your external behavior; He wants to change you from the inside out, so you'll not just do the right things, but you'll want to do the right things. God isn't a killjoy who wants to stifle your freedom with rules; He wants to give you freedom from sin that can destroy you. God's kingdom isn't a culture of its own that's isolated from the mainstream culture; it's a powerful force that shapes people in all cultures. Take your place in God's revolution that's already at work changing the world for the better.
Discover God's purposes for your life. You weren't created to live an aimless, unfulfilling life. God designed you to fulfill specific purposes during your lifetime. So stop looking for ultimate fulfillment in lesser things - like your job, your relationships, or activities you enjoy. Instead, ask God to reveal His purposes to you, and order your priorities around those purposes. Evaluate where you're really placing your faith by asking yourself: "Do I feel close to a specific God, or is mine a general spirituality?", "Do I have a deep inner satisfaction that isn't fading?", "Am I praying for things and actually seeing answers or feeling a response?", and "Do I know people who have been following this path for 20 or 30 years? Do they have the kind of life I aspire to have?". Make sure that you're ultimately trusting in Jesus above all else. He alone will empower you to live a significant life.
Participate in spiritual disciplines. Some key spiritual disciplines will help you grow more and more into the person God wants you to become: prayer, Bible reading, community, and mission. Be patient, recognizing that growth is gradual and there aren't any shortcuts to becoming more like Jesus. Every day, stay in the flow of what God is doing in your life and in the world.
Read the Bible well. Get a copy of the Bible in any translation that you find easiest to understand. Realize that the Bible is a love letter from God. God doesn't want you to just fill up your head with biblical information; He wants you to let biblical truths change your heart to make you more like Jesus and help you change the world. When you read the Bible, pray that the Holy Spirit who inspired it will speak to your spirit and make the words come alive for you. Meditate on and study the words you read, but don't stop there. Put what you read into practice in your life. Apply what you've learned to your everyday decisions. Make a habit of reading the Bible regularly. Start with books that are easier to read and have an immediate impact on your life (like the Gospel of John and Psalms and Proverbs) before moving on to other books. If you find yourself getting bored while reading something from the Bible, switch to another part of Scripture that's more relevant to your life right now. If you encounter something in the Bible that makes you mad, don't fight against it. Instead, remember that God doesn't always tell you what you want to hear, but He always tells you the truth. And if you accept that truth even when you don't like it, God will use that to help you grow. Every time you read the Bible, pray that God will help you hear the message He wants to give you through it, and look forward to what He has to say to you.
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