Praise Jesus! By accepting Christ into your life, you have just experienced the beginning of your new, eternal life (John 3:16; 10:10). Your sins have been forgiven once and for all and you have been given a fresh start (Romans 4:7). There was rejoicing in Heaven (Luke 15:7) when you became a Christ follower! The one thing the Bible emphasizes more than us loving God and people is that God loves us. He loves us first and most. His love for you is not based on your performance, it’s unconditional and illogical. He cannot not love you (Rom. 5:8 and 1 Jn. 4:16). This motivates us to want to learn, serve, worship, give, reach, read, pray, etc. to grow more in love with God and other people (Mt. 22:36-40).
Focus on Jesus, His cross, His resurrection and His kingdom. Your citizenship is now in Heaven. When you confessed Jesus as the living Lord and Messiah, you never said—and will never say—anything more important. Jesus is God in the flesh. World religion founders were mere men; Jesus is God who became a man. He is the center of all of life and creation. All of the world’s greatest gifts—love, life, truth, grace, etc.—have a name. Jesus.
All Christ followers, no matter how new or mature, are encouraged to be regularly communicating with God through prayer and listening to and learning about God through the Bible. Your relationship with God, much like any earthly relationship, needs time for it to flourish and mature. Read about Jesus (in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). These Synoptic Gospels tell the dramatic story of Jesus, the Son of God and our Lord and Savior. His birth to a virgin, His parables, His love for all people, His miracles, His triumphs, His disappointments, His arrest and trial, His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to Heaven are all narrated in these books. Read some letters written by Christians for Christians—Acts through Revelation. These books cover the time following Jesus’s resurrection from the dead and look at the courageous lives of the very first Christ followers. Further reading should include the book of Genesis which introduces us to the creation of the world, human beings and gives us insight into who we are, how we live in a fallen world and what our purpose is.
As a new Christian, we realize reading the Bible may be completely new to you. There are many translations and numerous places to start. While there is no perfect translation, we recommend you choose a Bible that is easy for you to understand and is faithful to the original text of the Bible. The NLT, NLV, NIV, The Message and NASB are translations to check out. A life application study Bible has notes on every page explaining context of verses and can be very helpful. To sample some of today’s popular translations, you can go to websites such as BibleGateway.com or YouVersion.com.
We strongly encourage you to begin praying. Prayer is simply having a conversation with God. The Bible teaches us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It can be done anywhere, anytime, eyes open or closed, standing up, walking, kneeling, swimming….you can even pray while talking to someone. Talk to him like you would a father who loves you unconditionally and illogically, because He does! Don’t worry about sounding good or having every thought make complete sense, God looks at your heart and knows what you mean before you say it! Throughout each day, you can thank God, talk to Him about needs you have, talk to Him about things you struggle with and pray for others. God cares about your whole life, not just your “spiritual life.” It is shortsighted to think that God is only concerned about a specific area of your life. God cares about and is to be Lord of all of your life—personal, emotional, social, family, financial, physical, vocational, sexual and intellectual. Talk to Him about everything!
Love other Christians who go to different churches (or no church at all) and who aren’t like you and who don’t look like you. Unfortunately, some Christians and churches view their “brand” of Christianity as the only pure or most true type of Christianity. They may not think they are the only Christians, but some may think they are the most correct ones. This is a prideful and sinful attitude that grieves Jesus and divides His body. Aim for unity in the body of Christ by praying thankfully for other Christians no matter how they act, no matter how they treat you, no matter what they do…God loves them, and they are your brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
We recommend you to build friendships with other Christ followers. Find a Christian mentor. You will need help and encouragement in this journey with Jesus. Ask someone who has been a follower of Christ for multiple years (preferably of the same gender as you) to mentor you. Look for someone who displays the attitudes and actions that are described by Jesus. Be a blessing to them in return. The Christian life is designed to be enjoyed with others. Jesus invested much of His ministry with 12 disciples as His closest friends. In the same way, He calls us to live in community with one another. The New Testament has over 50 “one another” verses that refer to loving one another, serving one another, encouraging one another, and praying for one another. Fellowship with other believers is one of the purposes of local small groups and churches. If there is a Jesus-focused small group or church in your area, they are great places to get involved. If you are having trouble locating one, or unsure of what to look for, contact us. We will reach out into your community to help you meet other Christ followers in your area and find a Jesus centered local church.
You will find a new love inside you from Christ living in you, giving you a deep desire to help others. The Holy Spirit will guide you to show God’s love (1 John 3:17-18). Becoming a Christ follower is not a secret; it’s a celebration! Lead people to Jesus by loving people to Jesus (1 Cor. 13:1-3). If they ask you why you live the way you do, simply share with them your story and why you put your hope and faith in Jesus. Some people will get upset, some may give you a crazy look, but in many cases other people will come to faith in Jesus through the example you share of Christ having changed your life and the love and peace you exude. Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His disciples to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Today, more than ever, Christ followers are called to share He who is within us with others (1 Peter 3:15-16). Sometimes light shines best in the midst of darkness!
WARNING: These are simply helpful suggestions; they are not a list of requirements to become a Christian or to stay a Christian. You have been saved by grace through faith, apart from any works of your own (Ephesians 2:8-9). God started the work in you, and He promises to finish it (Philippians 1:6). God bless you as you continue to learn and mature in your faith!