You are a new creature. You became a Christian and began a new life when you prayed to God and accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
Now what? Do you say to yourself, "Is there more or is this all there is? What am I supposed to do now?"
You start learning.
I accepted Christ 32 years ago - Aug. 29, 1982. I participated in a Bible Study, a Practical Guide to Spiritual Growth, known as Survival Kit for New Christians.
It was a good place to begin then ... to learn more about what being a Christian means, and it is a good place to begin now - for you.
There are 5 Bible principles. You can remember them on your hand:
The Thumb represents the Body
The First Finger represents your old and new natures (personalities)
The Second Finger represents things about salvation
The Third Finger represents authority
The Little Finger represents the Five-and-Five Principle
The Palm of your hand represents Christ living in you and controlling everything.
You will face many problems and temptations in everyday life -- as a babe in Christ, much of your future growth in your Christian life depends on your relationship to the church.
There are 5 stages you will pass through:
- The Honeymoon Stage - This is when you are happy and excited. You have a new life. You have been baptized and you are a member of His church.
- The Fight Stage - The Honeymoon stage ends when you have your first fight. Frustration, temptation, jealousy, gossip, etc. crop up again -- the same old problems are present. Christ started to live in you when you began your new life. The old self, with all the sins, did not die. So, you have your old self with the sins and your new self with Christ living in you. The new nature and the old nature battle for control.
- The Doubting Stage - You begin to doubt your salvation if you do not learn the right things. You start thinking that just knowing you are saved is all that is important. Jesus promised that when you became a Christian the Holy Spirit would be with you. He would teach you all things.
(John 14:26 - "But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you." New Living Translation)
You need more information about salvation when you have conflict within yourself between your old life and your new life. The more you know, not just in your head, but primarily your heart, the less you doubt. Three things to know about your salvation are: a) it happens at an exact time; b) it is a process through time as you beat the old you; c) there is a final time when Christ will make you free forever.
- The Panic-Search for what is Right Stage - Here you need to learn where to go to find what is right to be protected from this stage. You must learn how to compare the truth to other things. The only place to find the truth and what is right is in the written word of God, The Bible.
- The Silent Christian Stage - A silent Christian is one who does not witness, but instead substitutes church activities. A Christian who does not witness is not effective in helping another become a Christian or influencing others in a positive way for the Lord. To become effective in witnessing, learn the Five-and-Five Principle - five people in your live you can witness to and five people you cannot witness to but can pray for.
Week 1: CHRIST IN YOU
Day 1: How to Establish a Quiet Time
Just like feeding your body daily by eating food, you need to feed your soul by having a daily Quiet Time with the Lord.
Here are some suggestions to start a daily quiet time:
- Have a specific time and place.
I find mornings to be best for me. The beginning of your day will be so much better if it is started with Christ.
I used to do my Bible study at the kitchen table while having breakfast, but for the past couple of years I have used the bedroom. I spend from 20 minutes to 2 hours daily. I use a devotional, my Bible, a pen, highlighter and journal.
I suggest you have 15 minutes to yourself.
- Be regular.
Skipping days makes it harder to grow spiritually.
- Have ready a Bible, pencil and paper.
For now you will use the Survival Kit for your quiet time.
- Begin with prayer.
Open your heart and your mind to Christ. Give Him permission to teach, lead or discipline you in your Bible study.
Before you stop your Quiet Time, decide how your life will be different because of the things you learned in the Bible.
TODAY'S QUIET TIME:
Tell God about your love for Him. Thank Him for your many blessings. Tell Him the things you need for God to do in your life. Ask Him to use you and control you in your life today.
1 John 4:13-15
Go to the contents in the front of your Bible and locate 1 John. It will be in the New Testament - that is the second half of the Bible. Read the Scripture verses and then in your own words, write what the verses say.
If you don't have a Bible, here is the text. But if you do have a Bible, I suggest you look it up in your own Bible to familiarize yourself with it.
1 John 4:13-15 (NLT)
13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.
14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.
About these verses,
What did God give you to prove you are saved?________________
What do Christian people tell other people that shows God is living in them?
What other words are used to tell who Jesus is?_____________________
You have as a Christian experienced personally that God sent His Son to be your Savior. How will the things from this verse change your life today?
Write one thing you will do today that shows these verses working in your life.
Week 1: CHRIST IN YOU
Day 2: Using Your Bible For Christian Growth
Today's Bible verses are Psalms 119:11, 15-16 and 40:8
Your daily Quiet Time should always focus on the Bible.
Turn to the contents in the front of your Bible -- this will help you find the books you are looking for.
Find Psalm 119, verse 11.
Psalm 119:11 (NLT)
11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Where did the writer keep the Word of God. In ____________
It is good to memorize Scripture. Another way to say the same thing is "I know it by heart." The writer used the word heart to explain where he keeps God's Word. The last part of the verse tells the reason to keep God's Word in our hearts. What is that reason? _________________________________________________
Memorizing God's Word can help you avoid sinning against God.
Find Psalm 40:8 and read it.
Psalm 40:8 (NLT)
8 I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.”
Where can you keep verses for emergencies if you don't have a Bible with you?
Go back to Psalm 119 and read verses 15-16.
Psalm 119:15-16 (NLT)
15 I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.
What feelings will you have as you learn to memorize Bible verses?
Memorization can be fun. Don't tell yourself you can't do it. Why look at the things you already know by heart -- telephone numbers, zip codes, people's names, streets, house addresses, book titles, important dates, etc.
No other word of advice will have as much value as Scripture verses. Memorize Scripture on a regular basis -- two verses each week. This week's verses to memorize are Psalm 119:11 and Psalm 40:8.
When you memorizing Bible verses, it will help you resist sin. It helps you tell other people about Jesus. It is used in explaining things you believe.
Write down the verses. Carry them with you. Practice repeating the verses.
Week 1: CHRIST IN YOU
Day 3: Learning to Pray
Some Christians are afraid to pray in a public place - perhaps you know some. Praying is really pretty simple, whether it is done in front of others or in private, because all you are doing is talking to the Lord -- sharing with Him your attitudes, fears, wants, frustrations, etc. He understands, He listens, and He answers.
Jesus' disciples asked Him how to pray, so He provided them and us with a model -- a roadmap for us to use when we pray. It is called the Lord's Prayer.
The Sunday school class of which I am a part has spent the last year studying prayer, and the last two weeks specifically on the Lord's Prayer.
Here are things to consider and how to make your prayer life more meaingful. I have used the New Living Translation, but I learned the Lord's Prayer from the King James Bible.
v.9 - "Our Father in heaven, may your name by kept holy." = we acknowledge and give praise to God
v. 10 - "May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven." = we pray over our needs (not our wants) and bring them into line with God's.
v. 11 - "Give us today the food we need" = we remember that the same God we worship, the same God who is in control of our life, is the same God who wants to provide for our daily needs.
v. 12 - "And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us." = we ask God to forgive us when we do wrong as we likewise forgive another
v. 13 - "And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one." = we remember that the God who provides is the God who protects.
v 13b KJV: For Thines is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." We acknowledge God's eternal kingdom, His power, His glory. All to Him belongs.
The best way to learn how to pray is ... to pray!
Week 1: CHRIST IN YOU
Day 4: Understanding What Has Happened to You
II Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 1:21-22, 27
As you develop your Quiet Time you will see changes. II Corinthians 5:17 (NLT) explains some of these changes. Read the verse and fill in the blanks.
"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!"
Your ________________ life is passing away.
Your _________________ life is beginning.
All of these changes are made by ____________________________.
Yes, Christ makes the difference between your old and new life.
Read Colossians 1:21-22 (NLT) and fill in the blanks.
"This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault."
What was your attitude about God before you accepted Christ and became a Christian?
Because you and God were enemies, you did things that were ___________________________
Now you are learning that some things you did when you were not a Christian are no fun. God is changing you! He is making you
Holy means you are reserved for God's use and no one else's. II Corinthians 5:17 explains that a different way.
Read Colossians 1:27 (NLT).
"For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory."
Where is Christ now? __________________________________________________________
Remember discussing the hand? Write what the palm of the hand is ____________________
Week 1: CHRIST IN YOU
Day 5: A Basic Principle to Choose By
I Corinthians 10:31, Romans 14:7-8
The Christian religion does not have a long list of do's and don'ts for you to follow, but rather a simple principle to follow. It is stated clearly in I Corinthians 10:31 NLT
"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
Now read Romans 14:7-8 NLT
"For we don't live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it's to honor the Lord. And if we die, it's to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord."
These verses make it clear we should
- have behavior that shows our new life with Christ
- do everything we do to bring glory to God
A. Take a small sip and then no more. ____
B. Scold the friend for drinking wine. ____
C. Avoid facing it and make up an excuse. ______
D. Explain that you are now a Christian. Tell your friend that God has taken away your desire for a drink of wine. _____
Which one brings glory to God?