Welcome to Your New Life in Christ: Tips for Beginners
By Dr. Ron Woodworth
Congratulations on making Jesus the Lord of your life! The Bible says that the moment you believed in your heart and confessed with your mouth your faith in Christ you were saved. “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Although you may not have felt or seen anything physically, I can assure you that many things instantly happened spiritually!
1. The debt for all your sins was paid in full by Christ’s death on the cross at Calvary! Everything God had against you has now been purged from His records by the blood of Christ! (Rev. 1:5; I Cor. 15:3)
2. You were born into the family of God. You are now a child of your Father in heaven. (Matt. 6:14)
3. You were transferred from Satan’s authority into God’s Kingdom. Jesus is now your official representative to God. As a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, you must pledge to Christ your total allegiance and are therefore qualified to receive his sovereign protection. (Col. 1:13; I Tim. 1:5)
4. You died spiritually to all that bound you in this life, “…The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life.” (I John 2:16)
5. Your inner man became spiritually alive by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now you’re able to live a pleasing, productive, and holy life for God. (Romans 6:3-6)
How did I learn these things? The same way you’re going to–by prayer, study of the Bible, obedience to the Holy Spirit, becoming part of a Christian fellowship, and sharing your faith with others. Let’s look at each of these vital keys to spiritual growth for a moment.
Now that God is your Father, He desires to talk with you about everything. He loves you and wants to help meet your every need. But remember the four secrets to effective prayer:
- Faith – Keep believing God is listening to you and desires to give you the best, even when things aren’t going very well!
- Perseverance – Some things just can’t be solved overnight. So keep at it.
- A thankful attitude – God does not appreciate an ungrateful, demanding, and critical attitude. Remember: He is not manipulated by temper tantrumsJ
- A listening ear – Don’t just talk to God, but learn to listen to His responses. It will change your prayer life for sure.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)
Study of the Bible…
The Bible is the most tested and trusted source of God’s written Word in the world. If you ever hope to mature spiritually, you must renew your mind with the word of God. You see, the mind is like a computer. It operates according to the way it’s been programmed. As you prayerfully study God’s word, the Holy Spirit will help you to see how you’ve been thinking wrongly or rightly about things in your life. As you practice right thinking, you will then be able to speak and act rightly as well. In this way you will be able to find and fulfill God’s will for your life.
Sow a thought, you reap an action.
Sow an action, you reap a habit.
Sow a habit, you reap a lifestyle.
Sow a lifestyle, you reap a destiny.
DO – Begin a regular Bible study program today! [Note: Your local Christian bookstore is loaded with great Bible study resources. Visit it as soon as possible to get started]
“Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)
Obedience to the Holy Spirit…
In order for the Word of God to have its desired effect, the Spirit of God must accompany it. Without the power of the Holy Spirit energizing God’s Word, Christianity becomes just another legalistic and death-producing religion! The truth is, though millions may try, you and I cannot live the Christian life in our own strength. This is where naturally gifted and strong people are especially vulnerable to error. Whereas weak people know that they can’t do it on their own, the strong tend to last longer on sheer will powerJ But don’t worry, God has a way of breaking us all from trusting in ourselves and teaching us to rely on His grace to work in us “both to will and to work for His own good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)
Allow me to suggest four ways that you can avoid the pitfall of legalism as you seek to grow in grace:
- Acknowledge God’s word to you when you hear it, even if you don’t like what he says.
- Admit to yourself and Him that you cannot perform His will in your own strength.
- Ask the Lord to give you His strength.
- Act on your faith now, trusting that He is working in you (Philippians 4:13).
If you should fail don’t backslide! Confess your fault to God and He will forgive you. (John 1:9) Then try again. After a while you will grow stronger in spirit and won’t make such silly mistakes. If on the other hand, you succeed the first couple of tries, praise the Lord! But don’t congratulate yourself too quickly. (Maybe you had beginners luck!) Just remember, it’s those who finish the course who win the race, not just those who start. In God’s school you only graduate when you can prove your learning by how you liveand not just by what you think you know
“He has made us competent as ministers of the new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit: For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (II Corinthians 3:6 NIV)
“The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.”
(1 Corinthians 8:2 NIV)
Becoming part of a Christian fellowship…
The moment you became a Christian, (by receiving Christ) you also became a part of the family of God. You are not alone anymore. (Psalm 68:6) And like any responsible father, your Heavenly Father has provided a home for all of His children to come and live. It’s called the Church. Not just a building, but also a body of believers who are seeking to learn how to lovingly relate as fellow members of God’s household. I say, “learn to lovingly relate” because some of us may have had less than a loving family experience in the past.
For those with a troubled family background, it may be a little harder and take a little longer for you to be healed of past hurts and offenses; especially if someone in the church should act just like those who wounded you in the past! Cheer up, God may be providing a great experience (in a controlled environment) to help you learn how to rightly respond to situations that would have devastated you before. So be patient with yourself and with others. After all, only Jesus is the perfect elder-brother into whose likeness we are all being conformed by the Spirit of Grace.
DO – Go and ask the person who led you to Christ which church (and additional small group) they would suggest you join so you can begin to learn to love and be loved by the family of God!
Sharing your faith with others…
Now that you have come to know the truth of God in Christ you will naturally want to share such exciting news with your family and friends. However, as you will soon discover, not everyone is as equally excited about your new faith as are youL Some may be intimidate by the radical claims of Christ, or jealous that you might be rejecting them, or defensive against religious hypocrisy, or too wounded by life to care, or too deceived by counterfeit philosophies to hear your words. (See the “Parable of the Sower” in Luke Chapter 8) This can be discouraging unless you understand that all of these reactions can help teach you how to be more of a gracious, truthful, and wise witness for Christ Jesus. Remember: The more you allow God to deeply work within you (your character, attitudes, and actions)–the more he will be able to effectively work through youJ The best way to share your faith with others is by “show and tell”! This means that we should not just say with our words the we are Christians, but we should equally show with our lives that we truly care about Christ and others—even those who do not yet believe. Always remember this verse: “It’s the kindness of the Lord [and of us too!] that leads people to repentance” (Romans 2:4). Learn more of the truth in Christ (See Biblical Christianity 101 next LINK), pray for others to be open, be genuinely caring and friendly, invite those you are sharing with to appropriate Christian functions, and be patient!
Do: Begin to pray daily for the top three people in your life that you would love to see come to faith in Jesus Christ. Then follow the tips above and watch how God works in their lives!
Two Other Foundations…
There are two other things you will want to consider in order to lay a good foundation for your new life in Christ:
1. Water Baptism – This is a testimony to your personal identification and appropriation of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through water baptism you are signifying that you have died to your old life and have been raised to live the rest of your life on earth to do God’s will alone.
DO – Ask the Pastor of the church you are joining to baptize you as soon as possible.
2. Gift of The Holy Spirit – This is another important foundation to establish early on in your walk with Christ. The first gift God gave you was His Son, the Lord Jesus. Now the Lord Jesus wants to give you the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then the Holy Spirit will provide you with the power you need to live a victorious Christian life over sin, Satan and sickness as well as the boldness you need to witness for Christ to unbelievers.
DO – Ask the Pastor of the church you are joining to help you receive the Holy Spirit.
Note: If you receive an unfavorable response about the gift of the Holy Spirit (and spiritual gifts in general), let me suggest that you study Biblical Christianity 101–especially Lesson #6 on The Person and Power of the Holy Spirit and decide for yourself. Most mature pastors will allow some doctrinal latitude to their church members so long as they maintain a respectful attitude toward others who differ. If you continue to receive a cold reception to your request then you probably have not found your church home yet. Keep looking, or contact me and I’ll help you find a church home in your area of residence. Remember: In the final analysis, Christ-like character is the ultimate test of any doctrine and those who teach Bible doctrine should be the best examples of such character (James 3:13-18).
Allow me to pray with you now…
Father God, thank you for loving and accepting my precious brother or sister in Christ. Lord, I ask that you grant them your grace to obey, your hope to endure, and your wisdom to discern. Please enable them to let go of the things in their life that would hold them back from becoming all that you’ve intended them to be. I break the power of the enemy over them now in Jesus name! Heal their hearts from all wounds and help them to be merciful to others who are ignorant. Speak peace to their troubled soul and bring healing to any sickness in their body. Lord, place within their heart an undying love for you and an uncompromising conviction for the truth in Christ. Equip them to fulfill their ministry in your kingdom. Prosper them financially and teach them to give cheerfully and generously of their time, talents, and treasures. May they bear much fruit and lead many others to your pathway of life as faithful followers of your Son. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.
God bless you my friend. I hope this little tract has been helpful. Make sure to re-read it often for encouragement (I do). Now may the Lord Jesus take you gently by the hand and guide you safely into the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23) If I can be of any further service or assistance to you, please contact me the following ways:
Ron Woodworth Ministries
438 W. Sagebrush St.
Gilbert, Arizona 85233