I made the decision to live for Christ seven years ago. At that time I was a fragile 24 year old, mentally and emotionally in shambles. It was hands down the best decision I could have ever made; And to this day I have never regretted it.
Over these past seven years I have learned and experienced quite a bit. There are a few things that would have been helpful to know from the beginning. No doubt, the journey so far could have been much easier if I did.
A beautiful thing about life is that we often get the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others. The key is to utilize the knowledge in such a way as to avoid the same pitfalls they had or to help you handle certain situations in the wisest way. This is my goal for you as I share 5 things I wish I had known as a new Christian.
You may encounter some people who talk as if they’ve been walking in perfection since the day they found Christ (You may know this “jesus junior” type). Listening to them makes it seem like every bad habit was immediately overcome that day and they have lived sin free ever since. The truth is becoming more like Christ is a process. Dropping the old habits and establishing a new way of living is a gradual transformation.
As we learn more of His Word and grow closer to Him things begin to fall off. So, please don’t beat yourself up because you have some struggles or you make mistakes. You will get stronger as you grow. (Notice I didn’t say as you go. You must be growing to become stronger in God).
We are fleshly beings and the Bible tells us in our flesh there is nothing good. This includes the desire to live for God, which would be a good thing right? Right. It also tells us our flesh is weak though our spirit is willing to do right. At one point I struggled with pressuring myself to always be perfect. However, I could not be and I beat myself up over and over again. I felt like God wanted nothing to do with me and I’d never please Him.
I never considered God’s unending love for me. Never thought to actually depend on the Holy Spirit to help me. I was looking at things with a carnal perception. (Carnal def: worldly, earthly). Not through His Word. His Word would have told me that His mercy endures forever (Psalms 136:1) and He’d always want to be a part of my life. It would have told me that he is ready to forgive when I make mistakes (Psalms 86:5). So we must put our faith in Jesus to help us; He sent His Holy Spirit to do just that.
Growing up in church I was used to hearing these beautifully articulated prayers. They were composed of many scriptures, spoken with great confidence and always stirred the church. As a new Christian this was secretly one of my biggest goals. I couldn’t wait until fancy words and powerful scriptures could roll off my tongue. Back then, I believed that to be proof you were definitely close to God and on your way to heaven. Boy, did I have it all wrong. I struggled in my prayer life because of misguided intention. Then God taught me what prayer really is. It’s simply conversation with Him.
Don’t stress over prayer. When you pray be real, be reverent, and do nothing for show. Approach God with the confidence that He hears you, loves you and desires what’s best for you (Psalms 34:15). Can’t remember scriptures yet? No problem! Find your scriptures before you pray and open your Bible and read them during prayer. Feel like you don’t know what to pray? (There is so much to pray for; your needs, the needs of others, your church, salvation for those who are lost and many other things. If you find this difficult just comment below or send me an email. I’ll do what I can to help get those wheels in your head turning).
It’s a good idea to keep a prayer list and jot down what you want to pray for when it comes to mind, if someone requests you to pray for them or expresses a need. Prayer isn’t difficult and is between you and God. Just talk… and always remember to take time to listen for Him to speak to your heart.
After getting saved I had to separate from the type of people I was hanging with. This isn’t because I was all of a sudden better than them, but because I was living my life differently (2 Cor 6:14). We no longer had anything in common. I needed friends who were of the same mindset In order to be successful in living for Christ (1 Cor 15:33).
When this separation takes place you may feel lonely, as if you have no friends. You need friends who are also walking with Christ and who can encourage you to live right. If you find yourself here pray and ask God and He’ll send you true friends. Until then, take time to get to know God. Spend time in prayer and study. Come to know Him in a more intimate way and you’ll realize that there is no greater friend than Jesus. You’ll be glad you did.
Hypocrisy is a big part of the church. You may feel like everyone loves you and loves God. But realize only God knows a person’s heart, even though you may think you do. There are many who have experienced church hurt and allowed it to turn them away from God. I don’t want that for you.
I dealt with my share of foolishness in the beginning. I was shocked because what I thought I knew about certain people turned out to be totally wrong. I suffered hurt because of it. This may happen to you but stay close to God. You never know where people are in their relationship with God; some people may cause hurt unintentionally, and others may intentionally– you never know. Don’t be discouraged or deterred by this. There are hypocrites in every area of life.
I hope this post will encourage you to stay focused as you pursue God. You will encounter distractions, opposition and stumbling blocks along the way, but keep to the path Christ has paved for you. The enemy is out there wanting to make you give up and turn back to your old ways. But girl, you are a new creation in Christ; old things have passed away, and all things have become new. Remember in the end, we win! Praying for you always…
But the one who endures until the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:13