CROSSING OVER ♦ YOUR NEXT STEPS
What I really desired for the man I talked with that Easter Sunday was that he wouldn’t leave church that day glad about his decision but failing to grasp its meaning with no discipleship in sight. It hurt me to think that he might go through the motions of living for God but, without further explanation, become frustrated and find himself slinking back to his old ways. This is what happens with too many people.
How symbolic it was that he wore a white suit that day. Perhaps he chose it for the occasion, yet it became significant in a greater way: He now wore the righteousness of Christ. He needed to know that the change in his life was real but was going to be a lifelong process. I wanted to express that to him. What I’ve written in this study is all I wish I could have fully explained to him.
I am very grateful, however, that I’ve been able to share it with you. In fact, I hope that this study has been simple, clear, and straightforward and that you would find yourself always referring to it.
My biggest and final encouragement to you is to allow yourself to grow gradually. You’re a baby right now. The apostle Peter says, “Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2). You cannot eat meat now. Be simple in your prayers and Bible study. Free yourself from undue expectations to be what you are not or to act like someone else. Plants and flowers don’t bloom or display certain markings until they have properly developed to do so. You too are developing. God knows this, so be at peace with him and patient with yourself.
What to Do Now
Your next steps are a few things and most of them we have already discussed. In your daily life you should progress in what you have learned here. Develop a robust prayer life; be consistent in the study of God’s word; and include more spiritual habits in your daily living. Further, join a discipleship class, whether at church or a local support group. If there is a new believers class at your church, you need to be in it. Join and be participative. Use this study to supplement what you learn.
Find a church that you love—not one you can live with because you won’t grow and eventually you may leave. Get involved at your church and enjoy fellowship with believers. Understand the vision of the place and work to build God’s kingdom there.
A Look Into the Future
If I could show you a picture of your future, it looks something like this: Your salvation will be so real, the change in your life so evident, that you will be bursting to share what Jesus has done in your heart. You may even discern God calling you to this type of ministry. Further, you will take other new Christians under your wings and explain to them, just as I have for you, what growing in grace means.
You will be contented in your relationship with God, always prayerful and ready to take the lead in prayer in group settings. You will experience the nearness of God, even in tough situations. Your knowledge of the scriptures will be broad; you will know more of the biblical saga. You may have learned some theology, theological methods, or Christian philosophy. But you will have become a Bible-toting, scripture-quoting Jesus-lover—guaranteed!
You will have noticed sinful appetites disappear and your heart grow to desire right and good things. You will be consistent in your spiritual habits and understand them to be essential to the formation of your character. You will possess the spirit of Christ. People will know something is different about you by the way you act and the things you say. Your life will honor Jesus even when people don’t know that it is him at work in your heart.
For these things you now strive. Keep on striving. The apostle Paul says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Ph. 3:14). Keep your eyes on Jesus. Keep fighting against sin because it gets easier. Keep seeking God’s purpose. Keep evolving into the person he needs you to be for the kingdom. I am excited about your salvation!