First things first! A great start can make all the difference to a long journey. To help you make good progress in your spiritual life, let us take you through the most significant things you should do after making the all-important decision to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
When you experience God’s forgiveness for all the sins you committed against Him, it is necessary to seek the forgiveness of those against whom you might have sinned. Those may include your parents, siblings, children, relatives, friends, colleagues, etc. Even if they do not wish to forgive you, let them know that you are sorry for the hurt or offense cause. If you had caused harm to anyone or stolen anything from others, please make restitution. It is good to replace things or make payment, along with the offer of a sincere apology. If there are legal consequences, you should be willing to bear it. Forgiveness from God does not eliminate such liability or consequences.
It is also necessary to forgive all who may have sinned against you. To forgive is to abandon a desire for revenge and to replace any ill will with good will. You may not be able to forget the hurts or offences. You still can forgive and start praying for them.
After forgiving the sins of people, Jesus commanded them to abstain from sins. Although there are a number of sins that are expressly condemned by the Bibel, God commands us to abstain and set ourselves apart from these cardinal sins from the time we make a commitment to follow Jesus:
The Lord Jesus commanded his disciples to preach His good news (gospel) to all nations. Those who believed the gospel and sought forgiveness of sins were required to be baptized. That is, they were to be immersed in water. The immersion signifies the end of the old life and marks the beginning of a new life. In other words, those who accepts baptism accept Jesus’ death as their own. They “die with Jesus.” are “buried” with Jesus, and are “resurrected” with Jesus, to being a new life. Jesus commanded that his followers be baptized in the “name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”
You should request a Bible-believing church to arrange your water baptism. Baptism happens in a natural body of water or a [warm] pool. Some churches baptise people as and when requests are made. Most churches baptise people in two or three batches a year. Make a request in good time so that you will be included in the next batch of candidates.
Water baptism marks the official beginning of your Christian life. Governments too regard baptism as evidence of a conversion, the mark of a new beginning. Therefore, baptism is often a condition for membership in a church.
Prayer, in the Christian faith, is communication with God in one's own words. God doesn’t care about the length of any prayer or the beauty of anyone’s flowery language. God is our Father and he rewards sincere prayers from a heart of faith. There is no set time or place to say a prayer. Like a child that talks to her father, you can talk to God at any time and anywhere.
Jesus taught us to address our prayers to “Our Heavenly Father”. We also need to pray in the name of Jesus because God is not bound to accept prayers that do not acknowledge Jesus as the only way to Him. So, being your prayers with “Our Heavenly Father” and end it with “In Jesus’ name.” Jesus taught his disciples to pray along these lines:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the kingdom, the power
and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
In our prayers, we should be reverent, thankful, humble and submissive to God’s will. We should pray believing that God will answer our prayers. If we pray selfish prayers or if we are motiviated by a wicked intention, God will not listen to our prayers.
In the Bible, a new believer is compared to a newborn baby who has to feed on God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures. The Bible is God’s inspired Word and is therefore regarded as the final authority in all matters related to faith and actions of Christians.
Please get yourself a copy of the Bible and read it regularly. You could start with one of the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke or John - in the New Testament. Regular reading and reflection of the holy Scriptures is like looking at ourselves in a mirror. It will instruct us and influence our choices. It will keep us from sin and help us to understand the perfect will of God.
The Bible is rooted in history. Being a set of books that were completed over nineteen centuries ago, there is a geographical and cultural distance between us and the events recorded in the Bible. We will need a little help in understanding the context of each passage or book. Apart from that, the history and teachings found in the Bible is easily understood by any reader. To know more about the Bible, choose the second icon on the home page or click here.
Christians, from the first century, have maintained the practice of coming together several times a week. We meet in homes, prayer halls, and designated buildings referred to as ‘Church’ buildings. Often, we share a meal. There are Christians who meet regularly in prisons, battlefields, hospitals, city parks, forests and even caves!
Why does the Bible require Christians to be faithful in attending meetings? It is primarily for mutual encouragement. Like hot coals that stay red hot as long as they are together, Christians tend to remain vibrant in their faith when they receive mutual encouragement. Secondly, fellowship is for causing mutual spiritual growth. Each Christian is differently gifted. When they come together, they contribute to the spiritual upliftment of one another. Finally, fellowship provides opportunities to show mutual care. Sickness, poverty, disabilities of various kinds and bereavement plague everyone from time to time. We need to provide tangible care and love to one another.
A witness is a person who tells others what he has seen or experienced. After having experienced God’s forgiveness in your life, it is your duty to bear witness about Jesus and His saving grace. Share this good news with your family, relatives and friends. This does not need any specialized knowledge or training. Just tell people what God did for you!
Jesus told his disciples:
Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
While there are people who are eager to learn about your experience with Jesus, there will be a lot more people who might be skeptical or even hostile. Just as we are called to