My previous blog was about the essentials of salvation. This one offers the basic fundamentals that will promote growth in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. It was written for a friend who had just responded to the love of God and was a new Christ-follower.
When God gives the amazing gift of faith, with it comes New Life. You actually were spiritually dead before. You had no true life – all you had was physical life. True life is spiritual life. God gives a person spiritual life when He gives them faith to trust Jesus for forgiveness of sin. (Ephesians 2:1 & John 3:3)
When you are born you are a baby. If God has given you new life, spiritual life, you have some growing up to do, baby Christian! (1 Peter 2:2) Growing up is a life-long process. No one is ever “all grown up in Christ.” Don’t expect anyone else to be; don’t expect yourself to be. You will continue to understand more, to love God more, to see more of Him in His Word, to love church & gatherings with other Christians more & more as you continue to grow. (Phil 3:14)
God gave us the Bible to reveal Himself to us and how he wants us to respond to Him. As He gives you faith to trust Christ for forgiveness and cleansing from your sinfulness, He will also give you faith to believe that the Bible is true. It contains God’s love letter to you and God’s directions for how to live. It is to be obeyed. Consider it the authority over your life. Submission to what God says in His Word is an essential part of being a Christian. (Psalm 119:9 and Hebrews 4:12)
You have a lot to learn and the Bible is the place to learn it! But, the Bible is not just a book that you can pick up and read and learn from. Oh, no! (Psalm 119:18) We need the help of God Himself to grasp the meanings behind the words in His Word.
There is another gift that comes with this New Life, it is the gift of God’s Holy Spirit, part of God, Himself (part of the Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). God gives us the Holy Spirit to live inside of our spirit when He gives us spiritual life. We need Him! (John 16:7)
He, within us, guides us into truth, helps us understand what God is telling us in the Bible, protects our minds from error, helps us want to obey God, makes us sad when we disobey God and gives us the right words when we have opportunity to tell someone else about Christ, the Lamb of God. We need the Holy Spirit! (John 16:13,14)
The most important stimulus for your Christian growth is the Bible, also called the Word of God (God’s Words to us). Get yourself a modern English version of the Bible. Ask the bookstore clerk for one with some good study notes. Read the Bible regularly, even daily. Before you begin each time, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into truth and protect you from error as you read. (2 Timothy 2:15)
The 2nd most important stimulus for your Christian growth is prayer, talking things over with God. Get into the habit of talking with Him regularly, often throughout the day. Ask Him to guide your thinking, to help you make decisions the way He wants them made, to control your words & actions so people will see that you are very different since being born into the family of God through Jesus. Pray for your family & friends. Ask God to open the “eyes of their heart” and help them understand their sin and the salvation He offers. (Psalm 5:3)
Being with other Christians is very important to growing in Christ. Find a church that teaches God’s Word and be loyal to that church family. Christians love each other, encourage, challenge and help each other follow Jesus and live the way He wants them to. They act like family in ways mere human families don’t even know how to act. (Hebrews 10:25)
Telling Others About Jesus.
Telling others about the wonderful gift of New Life God has given you is also part of obedience & growing up as a Christian. Tell other Christians about your new life in Christ as soon as possible. God will help you know when the time & opportunity are right to tell those who do not yet know Him. He will help you express what He wants you to say. You become a witness, simply telling what you, yourself, have experienced. No more, no less. God doesn’t expect you to tell people more than He has taught you. Be kind and loving; behave in such a way that your friends & family members are pleased with the changes they see in you. Ask God to give you opportunities to tell them how the changes they see are because of your new life in Christ. (Mark 5:19)