Believing on Christ for salvation is the first step on an awesome journey with God. So what’s next? Let’s look at some first steps for new Christians.
All Christians benefit from these steps. If you were saved some time ago, but aren’t where you need to be with God, this list is for you too. Usually, when a Christian starts sliding backwards in their walk with Jesus, it starts with apathy in one or more of these areas.
We have received new life in order that “we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) Jesus Christ died so that you would live–for Him. “And He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Corinthians 5:15) This doesn’t happen without effort, though. It begins with God’s grace and continues as you draw closer to Him each day.
A New Spirit for New Christians
At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells us (He comes to live in us). He helps us understand God’s word. He helps us identify right and wrong. He helps us perceive God’s specific will for each of us, while we are in these bodies.
We please Him when we bear spiritual fruit, like an apple tree bears apples. We don’t work to be saved; that’s impossible. Instead, we are motivated by gratitude that God saved us, and because we love Him, because He first loved us.
On the other hand, we can grieve the Holy Spirit too. We all fall short in many ways. Yet a Christian can disobey so often that his heart grows callous. He ignores the Spirit’s gentle voice until he can’t even hear it anymore. (If any Christian’s life doesn’t evidence God’s continuing work, that person should question whether He ever gave himself to Christ in the first place.)
So let’s get started on the right foot, and keep moving forward.
“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Baptism is a symbol. Going under the water illustrates the death of our old selves. Coming back out of the water illustrates our spiritual rebirth, and our future resurrection.
Baptism is an early act of obedience for the new believer. It doesn’t save, but Jesus Christ set the example for us to follow. (Matthew 3:13‑17) Willingly refusing it, or delaying it unnecessarily, demonstrates lack of submission and repentance toward God. “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” (Acts 22:16)
Join a Local Bible-Believing Church
A good local church glorifies God together. There you’ll receive sound teaching and meet other believers. You’ll find encouragement and opportunities to serve. He will work in your life through other members, and He will work through you too. “For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)
Most local churches say they believe the Bible. Unfortunately, not everything is what people say it is. Find a local church that you like. But you need to start reading God’s word for yourself and comparing the things you see and hear in your local church with that Word you read.
People, even well-meaning people, will tell you all kinds of things. You don’t have to believe it, just because somebody said it. Remember that Bible, the one that told you the life-changing Gospel that you believed unto salvation, that’s the measure of truth in all things. Find a congregation that loves His word as much as you love it, and wants to live by it.
Talk to God Everyday
“Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises.” (James 5:13) Prayer is talking to God; praise is thanking Him. Bring your needs, questions, difficulties, and hopes to your heavenly Father. He wants to hear from you, and He’ll answer.
We pray, not to inform God (He knows everything already), but to draw closer through it. We humble ourselves before Him to ask for help. We exercise trust in His goodness and power by giving our cares to Him (Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7). Likewise, acknowledging His character and work, through praise, reminds us of His faithfulness. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2)
What? You don’t know how to pray? Just talk to Him like your best friend, because He is your best friend. Talk to Him like He’s sitting next to you and hearing every bit of the hope, pain, concern, confusion or gladness in your voice.
He’s your friend, but He’s your God too. So respect that. Prayer isn’t you reading your wishlist to Santa. It’s your amazing privilege to talk to the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of the universe, and be heard and helped. That should make you want to start praying right now. Amen?
Read Your Bible Everyday
“For the word of God is living and active…” (Hebrews 4:12) If prayer is talking to God (and it is), then studying your Bible is listening to Him. The Bible is more than just words on paper. It’s God’s revelation to mankind; it expounds the truth about everything we need to know in this life. Love it, learn it, and let it work in you.
Beware, for the enemy deceives many into judging the word of God, to their own detriment. They may doubt parts or all of it, but they will never disprove a single pen stroke. As you believe the Gospel, and were saved by it, believe the rest of it too–the whole counsel of our Lord. For the same precious word which made us alive also teaches us how to live this new life for His glory. “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4)
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” (John 13:34) What’s fellowship? It means spending time with other Christians, in friendship, as members of the same body. The church is a family. So our relationship with one another isn’t limited to weekend worship services.
We care for eachother. We support and pray for eachother. We teach and learn from eachother. From Bible study to bass fishing, it only matters that we glorify God together. Discover the joy and benefits of fellowship; start seeking out healthy Christian relationships, and nurture them. “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Serve God Continually
“Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) The Bible says a lot about serving God. We serve, if we truly love the Lord, and people, whom the Lord has made in His image. We serve by living holy lives, sharing the Gospel, and helping others in God-honoring ways. Our service is a “Thank You” to our Savior and a witness of His love to others.
Jesus Christ came to us as a man. He lived as an example to us. He died as an acceptable sacrifice for us. He rose to give us eternal life. Follow Him with a joyful, humble heart, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
Tell Others Constantly
“Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.’ ” (Matthew 9:37) One hundred and fifty thousand people die each day, worldwide. Most of them are not headed into the arms of Jesus Christ. They are bound for eternal punishment and suffering, where the fire is not quenched and the worm does not die. Share the Gospel today.
You have been saved by grace. Hallelujah! What about your family? Friends? Neighbors? The cashier? The waitress? That unpleasant person who just offended you? “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19‑20)
A New Life for New Christians
Some new Christians have been raised by faithful Christian parents. Conversely, the Christian life is foreign to many new believers. Either way, none of us receives the Holy Spirit until we are born again. And that is when we truly begin to see the world as God sees it–from the vileness of sin to the joy of seeing a sinner saved, and the richness of His mercy toward us.
So maybe you haven’t attended church or read the Bible much, or at all. Maybe you don’t understand Christian vocabulary words. Don’t worry; this journey with God is a learning process for everyone. Moreover, this is only the beginning. As Paul’s epistle (letter) to the church in Philippi assures us, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
Just stay committed to Christ! Study these first steps for new Christians, and follow them. You will experience trials and triumphs. God will work through all of them for your good and His glory. Hold on to our Heavenly Father like a child holds onto his father: with a humble and devoted disposition toward Him.