Here Are Five Things That You Want to Know
And to Practice In Your New Walk With Christ
Let me encourage you in the decision you've made to
give your heart and your life to Christ. You've made a wise decision. It
sounds like you've found the narrow gate that leads to spiritual life. As
you pass into that gate and up the path towards living the Christian life,
it is important to bear in mind several basic principles that will keep you
moving in the right direction towards God.
Becoming a Christian is free, but that doesn't mean it won't be without a cost in our lives. A few years back, missionary Jim Elliot wrote in his diary, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." You can't keep your life, because you will eventually die. But eternal life is something that you'll never lose.
Shortly after he wrote those words in his diary, Elliot embarked upon on a mission in Central America with four other missionaries to reach the Huaorani people of Ecuador. No one had ever been able to reach out to that tribe before with the Gospel. And on January 8, 1956, while attempting to make contact with the indians, all five missionaries were killed by those tribesman. In the end, Jim's widow Elizabeth and Rachel Saint (the sister of one of the other martyred missionaries) learned the language of the tribe and ended up converting to Christ all the killers of their husbands. Jim and the others gave their lives to allow the conversion of that unreached tribe.
The first thing you must know about being a Christian is:
1. All Who Live Godly in Christ Jesus Will Suffer Persecution
There are a lot of things you need to know about the Christian life, but
this is probably the most important place to start. You must expect problems
and persecution as a result of your commitment to Christ, especially now in
the last days. Those who are living for themselves will resent your stand
with Christ. They will be offended by your beliefs and your morality. They
will even take it personally that you will no longer party with them, and
they will probably make fun of you. If you expect this kind of opposition,
when it does come at you, it will be much easier to handle.
Most of the persecution and opposing we receive today is nothing compared to what the early church suffered. The New Testament is absolutely FULL of verses that encourage believers to hang tough in the midst of persecution. You see, the early Church was a persecuted church. Almost no society or group was positive towards the new Christian faith. Even the Jews, from whom the Church sprang, were fierce in their opposition towards believers, putting many Christians to death.
The amazing thing is that this persecution caused the Church to thrive. Anyone who was playing religious games didn't stick around in the face of this intense persecution. Because the believers often had to flee from their homes just so that they could find a place to live in safety, the message of the Gospel of Christ spread throughout the ancient world.
Actually, the worst thing that happened to the Christians was when Emperor Constantine legalized the church and made it into the state religion. Overnight, the dynamics of the church changed. Suddenly it became politically and financially beneficial for people who were not really believers to join the church and "play Christian." So the church became corrupted and lost much of its true message, once again sending the true believers unground.
So one of the best things that can happen for you as a new believer is to realize that true Christians will always be persecuted. If you live just like everyone else in this world, why would they be upset with you? But if you live for Christ, you will find that the world around you simply won't appreciate your stand for good over evil.
2. Stay Fierce in Your Fight Against Sin
One of the biggest difficulties you'll face as a new believer in Christ is the problem in your life of sin and temptation. If you succumb to temptation on a regular basis, sin will soon entangle your life. Sin is like a malignant creeping vine; if allowed to grow, it will overgrow your heart and you'll be an ineffective Christian.
We can't escape from this world with all of its temptations like monks in some difficult to reach monastery. Jesus said we were to be in the world but not of it. It is important that we view all of the things that originate from this world as being passing attachments. The entertainments and the "toys" of this world only satisfy for a short while. And if you build your life around accumulating possessions or spend all your extra time on endless entertainments, you'll end up as a shallow, spiritually unproductive person. Ultimately, the only possessions worth obtaining are those that will pass the test of eternity. Will this activity have any spiritual impact on my life or the lives of those around me?
Your life will soon become a battleground between the values of this world and the next. "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:15-17 NIV).
Keep in mind that this world is passing away. And if you love this world more than you love the Lord, the Scriptures tell us that we are not worthy of him. You don't want to be what the Bible calls a "double minded man" who is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). You can't have one foot in the world and one foot in Christ and expect to live a powerful Christian life.
You might also want to
take a look at the article strong Christians
Sin In the Light which will explain how you cannot be sinless,
but you can sin less.
3. Become Addicted to the Word of God.
The substance of what God wants to reveal to us is found in his Word. Here's a verse just for you: "like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation" (1 Peter 2:2 NASB). So brand new Christians are like new babies in the world who should get the pure milk of God's word.
"I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able." (1 Corinthians 3:2 NASB). After you've been around for a while in your Christian life, you'll graduate to the more "meaty" and deeper things of God.
The Word of God is unlike any book ever written. God speaks through it in unusual ways. In the Book of Hebrews we see the Word of God described in a unique way:
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 NASB).
So it is a living book that
is able to cut deeply into your soul and spirit, and is able to judge your
thoughts and the intentions of your heart. It can tell you when your
thoughts are right or wrong. It is a mighty tool which God uses to
convict us of sin and point us along the correct path of righteousness.
The Lord will use it to build your character and give content and substance
to your Christian life.
Reading and studying the Word of God in a clear translation in your own language is one of your best methods of growing as a believer. Knowing the Word will keep you away from false teachers, because the Scriptures will help you separate truth from error. You'll want to obtain a book version of the Bible. It is easy to take a paperback with you even when you have no power and no Internet which may definitely happen in the last days.
I hope that this website will whet your hunger for the Word of God. But you need the a Bible itself of your own that you can read for yourself. You don't take my opinion or any preacher's opinion as the full truth. You won't be able to depend upon websites in the future, you might lose your Internet connection or your favorite site might become unavailable. The same is could be true of Online Bibles. All of the Christian presence Online could go away in a moment's time if your government chooses to shut down the Internet or filter out whatever message it disproves of in your country.
In the days ahead you should expect that the Bible will once again be confiscated and burned as it has been for centuries. That's why I would make sure that you have your own copy now and memorize the most important verses that you find during your studies.
If you have memorized the Word of God, no
one can take it away from you. During the Viet Nam war, many American
prisoners survived because of the hope they held onto as they were able to
remember bits and pieces of the Bible. When everything else is stripped away from
you, you quickly realize just how important the Bible really is.
Fall in love with this book of books. Start with the New Testament, which reveals the ministry of Jesus, the birth of the early Church in the Book of Acts, the letters to Christians (called Epistles) and also the many prophecies about the last days before the Lord returns. Later, you can go and study the Old Testament and learn how it creates the foundation for the New.
The Word Will Help You Avoid Being Snagged Into A Cult
In the last days we're told that there will be a lot of false doctrine,
cultists and even false messiahs. It is important that you are aware that
all those who call themselves "Christians" are not always believers. The best way to avoid falling into a false cult group is to
spend regular time in the Word of God. If you know the truth it is much
easier to spot falsehood.
Unfortunately, many new believers are seduced into error by groups that twist the truth and push false doctrine. These groups will often add another book or "key" which they claim will help you to "truly understand" the Bible. And they often also proclaim that they are the only true church. Beware of anyone who tells you they (and they only) are part of the true church. If you don't know your Bible, it will be much easier for you to avoid cult groups.
For example, the Mormons are a group who put the Book of Mormon and a few other of their books on equal footing with the Bible. Their doctrine teaches, among other things, that Jesus and Lucifer (Satan) were brothers. (The Bible definitely does NOT teach that). The Mormons use just enough of the Bible to impersonate being a Christian church, but their doctrine is full of false teaching and even though they are often nice people, they will mislead you into a cult that is not true Christianity.
Another cult, the Jehovah Witnesses, don't believe that Jesus Christ is God. They have re-translated the Bible and their version eliminates most of the verses which proclaim Christ's true nature. Their mistranslation (which is called the New World Translation) will lead you into a system of works and away from the grace of God found in the true Word of God. My book on The Liberator will give you a lot of the basics about who Jesus really is.
4. Spend Regular Time With Other Believers.
In New Testament times, the
Church hadn't yet formed into large denominational groups or organizations.
The Christians concentrated on spending time with each other in house
churches and also in breaking bread with one another. In this way, they grew
in their fellowship with each other and they spent a lot of time talking
about the Lord. This dramatically impacted their walk with Christ and helped
them grow strong.
The word "fellowship" really is like two fellows in the same ship. We get together with other believers to pray, talk about the Lord, witness and eat when them. We also want to build deep Christian relationships with those who are of like mind with us. Fellowship and and should happen in your church, but it can also happen outside of your church with other believers.
Another thing we do at church is to worship. This is so important. Most hymn singing doesn't contain a lot of worship. If you can find a church that sings songs that are Scripture songs and verses with meaningful messages so that you can sing to the Lord, you'll be able to worship there.
You also want to find a church that teaches right from the Bible. The best preaching usually is verse-by-verse teaching right through the books of the Bible. You should also be aware of many churches that do not teach the Word of God. These churches will often focus upon other things like "feel good" messages and quick topical subjects that barely even mention the Bible at all. So be careful about attending or joining any church that attempts to steal your heart and your mind away from the message of the New Testament. I have written an article about What to look for in a Bible-teaching church when it comes to how they teach because this is so important.
5. Become A Prayer Warrior With God
We communicate with the Lord through prayer and also through worship.
Jesus gave the disciples what has been labeled as "the Lord's prayer" as a
model which we could use for our prayers. But the Bible is full of prayers
that show how the early believers prayed. Prayer is one of the most
important things you can do, because as you talk to the Lord, your
relationship with him will also grow. With prayer you'll sense the Lord
talking back to you more and more.
When I sense that I'm just not walking in the Spirit, I'll often take a moment to just talk to the Lord and focus upon him. If I sense that I am starting to wallow in some mental sin, I often force myself to talk to the Lord and repent. Repentance is changing my mind about sin, agreeing with God that my sin is as bad as he says it is, and turning away from it.
Every Christian should have regular prayer times, like at the beginning or the end of your day or at meals, but we're also told to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It's nice to allow your heart to blur the normal lines of conversation in life with your spiritual conversation with God. I enjoy being around other believers who will spontaneously break out into prayer in the middle of our conversation whenever they have a question for the Lord about one of the decisions we need to make.
You don't need to close your eyes and bow your head to pray. Obviously, if you're driving your car you won't close your eyes to pray. There is no "correct position" that your physical body must take. In the Bible men pray standing, sitting, walking, with bowed heads, with their faces to the ground. Every posture and position is acceptable. It's your heart that's most important.
We are to offer up the "sacrifice of praise" to God when we pray. Worship is giving worth back to God. It's proclaiming his holiness. Of course we should worship when we sing to the Lord in church and the songs strongly touch our hearts, but worship and praise should also be a part of our prayer times to God about how much we appreciate and honor him for what he's done for us.