If you are a new Christian, you may be puzzled and perhaps a little afraid of this new kind of life you have started.
This is only natural, for you are like a baby that has just been born into the world. It takes a baby many years to learn all about life, with its responsibilities and difficulties. And the step you have taken in receiving Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord is not the end – it is a gateway to a whole new life.
Do not worry if you cannot understand everything at one. God will be with you to guide you each step of the new way.
Those who are the “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26) have many privileges and also some responsibilities. They need to keep their priorities straight.
1. A child of God grows
First, there is the privilege of growth. A baby is not born just to be a baby – the parents expect the baby to grow up. Just so, God expects you to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18)
God had a definite purpose in making you His child. God’s purpose for you is that you become “Christ-Like.” Just as earthly parents look for the family likeness in a child, so God, having planted the seed of His own nature in you by the new birth, wants you to see His likeness, the likeness of Christ in you.
God wants you to put off “the old man” (the life controlled by the old sinful nature) and to put on the “new man” (the life controlled by your love for Christ and for others).
Spiritual growth in a Christian is not measured only by how often you go to church, or how much money you give, or by the amount of time you spend in prayer. All these are important, but real Christian growth is measured by how much you become like Jesus Christ.
You cannot become like Jesus Christ simply by trying to imitate Him. As you give your life daily to God, the Holy Spirit, who now lives within you, produces Christ’s life in you.
2. He reads God’s Word
God has given us the privilege of Bible study and prayer. Through these two things the Holy Spirit guides and controls our lives. Be sure to take time every day to study the Bible. I suggest you begin with the Gospel of John, and read a chapter a day. It would be good to keep a notebook in which to write down special thoughts or questions that come to you. You will also want to memorize some of the verses. “Thy word I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11)
3. A child of God prays
Then you need conversation with your heavenly Father – this is prayer. As you read the Bible, God speaks to you. As you pray, you speak to God. I suggest that you give half your quiet time every morning to Bible reading and study, and half of it to prayer.
In your prayer, ask God to make real in your life what you have read in His Word. Plan your day with the Lord, ask for His guidance, and share with Him your plans and the special difficulties or temptations which you may meet. Praise and thank God for Himself and for His blessings, and pray for the needs of others.
4. A child of God Worships
You have the privilege of belonging to God’s family. The New Testament speaks of the “house-hold of God” (Ephesians 2:19). When you were born of God, you not only received a new heavenly Father, you also came into a new relationship with many earthly brothers and sisters – those who, like you, have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
You will find that one of the greatest privileges of the Christian life is that of having fellowship with other Christians. And you will discover the need of meeting regularly with other Christians. Your decision for Christ ought to lead to fellowship with them.
As soon as possible, join a church where Christ is preached. Be at all of the services. Find some work to do for God in the Church. There you will find the love and protection of the Christian family that you need.
5. A child of God witnesses
You have the privilege of sharing with others what you know about Christ. Each Christian is to be not only a receiver, but a sharer. You will find that Christ becomes even more precious to you as you tell others about Him.
The human race grows only as each pair of parents reproduce their life in their children. And the Christian church grows only as each Christian wins others to Christ. A good motto is” “Each one reach one each day.”
You can witness for Christ by the way you live, and this is important. You can also witness by what you say. Look for opportunities to tell your friends what Christ means to you.
You can witness to others by giving them good Christian literature that tells them the way to find Christ.
By Rev. Leighton Ford – American Tract Society