When you find yourself surrendering your life to God, it might seem overwhelming knowing what to do next. If you did not grow up in a Christian home, how are you supposed to follow God? Here are some basic tips for growing in a relationship with Jesus.
1) Find a Bible believing Christian church that teaches from the Bible. There are many churches that are falling away from sound doctrine, but this is why a Christian reads their Bible, to know what the Bible actually says and to see if it matches up with what is being taught in any church. It is important to be around other Christians that can help teach you Biblical things and encourage you. This is especially important when a crisis occurs or tragedy because you need spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ to lift you up in prayer during difficult times.
2.) Join a Bible study at your church. Sometimes this is not always possible. Some people live in persecuted areas and there are none. Others might not have one available. If you live in a city, you can always search for Bible studies that are active and you don’t necessarily have to be a member of that church to join in reading God’s Word. Beware of false teaching. If the church doesn’t teach the Bible as the Holy Word of God, find another church. (Acts 17: 11)
3.) Study the Bible and get to know God’s deep love for you, and let Him transform you into someone He can use for His kingdom. The best way to get to know someone, is by spending time with them. Have you ever been infatuated with someone or in love? What did you do? You spent time with them, studied their likes and dislikes, the same goes with God. He will make you stronger in your faith, so you can stand up to the World (the tempting, sinful Culture all around you), your Old Self (the selfish, self-centered one), and the Devil(Romans 12: 1-3) (Matthew 13:18-23). If you need a Bible, but cannot afford one, please look on my resources page (according to where you live). In order to study the Bible, I use the acronym S-O-A-P
S-Scripture, I write the scripture in a journal
O-Observation ( I answer the questions, what, where, when, why and how, using observations from that scripture).
A-Application (how can I apply this to my life?)
P-Prayer ( write a prayer to God about what you read and learned and say it out loud).
One does not need to lean on anyone else, except the Holy Spirit for guidance. At the beginning, some scripture is difficult to understand. One must get familiar with the history of the scripture, at that time in order to understand it better. One must also get familiar with the cultural references of that time. One must also use a concordance to really find out what certain words mean, in its original language. Like all relationships that are meaningful, it takes work, time and dedication.
4.) Pray several times per day. The wonderful thing is that we can approach God anywhere in prayer. Prayer is the open communication we have as believers that allows for God to hear us and our requests. It is through prayer, that we also grow spiritually. Before reading a scripture, this is the time to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and understanding and He will. Allow Him to work in your life.
5.) Get familiar with the Holy Spirit. After you ask God into your life, the Holy Spirit comes into you. I know it is a difficult concept, but He resides inside of us as Lord and ruler of our life. He convicts us when we are choosing the wrong thing, He comforts us in times of trouble. He is the most neglected person of the Godhead and yet so powerful and important! Get to know Him better and allow Him to transform your life.
6.) The next step in faith is to get baptized. I Peter 3:21 reads, “And this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” It is a physical expression that we physically die to our old sinful “nature” and are buried with Christ. When one comes up out of the water, one receives the Holy Spirit and it is also symbolic of Christ’s resurrection.
Do not become insnared into a ritualistic routine. Learn what God hates and what He loves. Learn how to worship Him in spirit and in truth and He will guide you. Also, know that you will be a target for the evil one (Satan) and he will begin to place the wrong people in your life, cause problems for you that will test you to see how serious you actually are about God. Stay anchored in God and in His Word! At the end of one’s life, the ONLY thing that will matter is whether or not we had a relationship with God and how we treated others. God bless you.