March 08, 2008

Advice to a New Christian

Advice to a New Christian

My dear christian friend,
Likewise, I say unto you,
there is joy in the presence of the angels of God
over one sinner that repents.
Luke 15:10 (KJV)
If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
in His good time he will lift you up.
{7} Let him have all your worries and cares,
for he is always thinking about you
and watching everything that concerns you.
{8} Be careful--watch out for attacks from Satan,
your great enemy.
He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion,
looking for some victim to tear apart.
{9} Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord;
and remember that other Christians all around the world
are going through these sufferings too.
{10} After you have suffered a little while,
our God, who is full of kindness through Christ,
will give you his eternal glory.
He personally will come and pick you up,
and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever.
{11} To him be all power over all things, forever and ever. Amen.
1 Pet 5:6-11 (THE LIVING BIBLE)
Praise God that you have accepted His offer of forgiveness and salvation.
You have taken the first step in an eternal walk with Jesus Christ.
You have been "born from above", your past has been forgiven,
and Christ will never leave you nor forsake you.
However, there is something important you must know...
He is not all-powerful, like God is.
He only is allowed to act by getting permission from God...
and God only gives this permission in a way that will ultimately benefit you .
You may undergo some suffering...all christians do ....
but God always gives you His strength to withstand it
in proportion to the severity of the testing,
and Christ always is in your heart to talk to and give you peace.
In your life before Christ, satan did everything he could
to bring you his brand of sinful pleasures and escapes from God.
He blinded your eyes and stole any Bible passages away from your mind
so that you would not come to Christ.
He filled your eyes with lusting after sinful pleasures and riches of this world,
lied to you that there was no God or afterlife or Hell.
and you and i were willing victims of his lies.
But now things are different.
You have been made into a new person by the Holy Spirit.
Christ has come to live in your heart,
and wants to live His Life out through you on earth.
Your old person, the one that had no power to resist sin, is dead.
You have a new start, a new future, a new source of strength,
because Jesus Christ lives in your heart.
And so Satan has changed his attitude and his tactics with you.
You used to be his slave,
but now you are his enemy.
Whereas, before you had no power to say "no" to sin... now you do.
Whereas, hopelessness, depression, guilt and sin were a way of life,
now you have inner joy, peace meaning and purpose.

Please understand that as a new Christian,
satan targets you for all kinds of discouragement and depression,
and temptations, and then comes around later
and accuses you of sinning and heaps guilt upon you.

Satan doesnt play fair.
he's like a lion thinning out the herd of antelope...
the lion seeks out the weakest one to attack and kill.
he doesnt go after the strong leader of the pack,
he attacks the young and defenseless and lame.
that is where you are now...
relatively young, defenseless and unable to walk strongly in the faith.
Satan cannot take away your salvation
it is too late for that.
The best he can do is make you discouraged, lie to you,
fill your life with confusing and untrue information about your faith,
and get you to draw into your shell,
and become a non-witness for Christ...
I've seen it many times,
and it also happened to me when I was a young christian.

Becoming closer to the Lord
is a co-operative effort between you and God.
It happens on the your soul.
God wants to make you a special project for spiritual growth,
but you have to do your part to take advantage of what He provides.
Start filling your eyes and mind with the Word of God.
Carry your Bible with you at all times,
and make use of any spare moments in the day to read it.
Even if it is 5 minutes while sitting and waiting for something.
Remember and inwardly digest God's word.
Pray for wisdom from the Holy Spirit to apply it to your life.
Memorize it by hand-copying Bible verses into a notebook.
Then the Holy Spirit can bring it to your rememberance at a later time,
and you can apply it to specific situations.
As you read the Word of God,
you will become aware of conflicts
between what you believed in the past,
and what God's Word is telling you now.
This is the time to decide to believe and follow God's Word,
and throw your old ideas from the world overboard.
Even if it means throwing overboard some religious teachings
that you believed were true,
but now find that God's Word does not agree with them.
Use as many Bible helps as you need
to clarify what the Word is really saying.
This includes using other translations, Greek and Hebrew dictionaries,
topical Bibles, concordances, study Bible cross references...
but stay away from using just one author's commentary..
some author's have a particular viewpoint to promote,
and it becomes subtly interwoven into their writings.
"in the multitude of counsellors there is safety" (Prov 11:14)
In this regard, you must be ready
to go against the grain of the society that you are in,
and be different.
because the world will not welcome you..
it will try to bring you down, and make you forget about God.
Your old friends will not want to be with you.
You will be ignored, insulted, falsely accused, misunderstood, isolated...
but in the midst of all of that, you must focus your attention on Jesus Christ,
who lives inside you now and will never leave you or forsake you.

Getting closer to the Lord takes
setting aside some time every day to talk to Him in prayer,
as He talks to you through the Bible.
Dont be in a hurry...
the time you invest in getting to know Christ personally
will come back to you as increased maturity, and stength and wisdom,
just what you need to fend off the attacks of satan.
Although it may sound simple,
there is no substitute for time alone with Jesus in prayer and worship.

Another common problem for christians of all ages is unconfessed sin.
and if there is unconfessed sin in your life...
name it, confess it to Him , and resist doing it any more,
and allow Christ to cleanse your inner self.
1 John 1:8-9 (KJV)
If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
{9} If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
And dont worry if you keep on sinning the same sin....
the Lord told Peter that he should forgive his brother 70 times 7 times...
a very large number for a Jewish fisherman....
and the Lord is prepared to forgive us when we confess
even more times than that.
What will happen is that when you confess and ask forgiveness,
then re-sin, then confess and ask forgiveness,
and re-sin, again and again....
eventually The Holy Spirit puts the conviction into you that..
"this is something i need to totally stop doing."
And the Holy Sprirt has done His cleansing work in your heart.

Also, start praying that God would bring you into contact
with a christian friend that you can fellowship and confide in.
Gen 2:18a (KJV)
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone...
and this applies to fellowship as well as marriage.
this is true whether you are married or not.
for a married person, your spouse, if saved,
should be the primary choice for this intimate confidence.
If you are not married,
if you pray and ask the Lord to send someone to fellowship with in this way,
He will do it..
because He knows the power of good fellowship
to encourage and strengthen you in times of hardship and struggle.

Be aware of one of the greatest unrecognized mysteries of the Christian life:
The indwelling presence of Jesus Christ in your heart
in the person of the Holy Spirit.
If you then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sits on the right hand of God.
for you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(Col 3:1-3)

..and as Paul said...
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ lives in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by the faith of the Son of God,
who loved me, and gave himself for me.
(Gal 2:20)

and as Jesus said...
Abide in me, and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine;
no more can you, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, you are the branches:
He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit:
for without me you can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me,
he is cast out as a branch, and is withered;
and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
(John 15:4-7)

(NOTE: that in other places in scripture, the word "abide" also means
"-- continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand.")
I hope that this helps you along the way
in your eternal walk with Christ.
and remember, the christrian life IS a walk,
and not a 40 yard dash.

(From Bro. Bob, Ixtheus Christian Growth Devotionals)

1 comment:

FlipFlop Mom said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this.. I haven't seen this before... GOSH!! it makes you stop and think... I'm not a NEW Christian.. but golly... I surely needed the reminder of these !!!!
Thank you for sharing!!