by Billy Graham
Now that you are a Christian and are in fellowship with God, you will want to learn more about how to grow closer to Him. The Bible calls this growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Here are some things that will help you begin growing as a new Christian:
Read the Bible daily
The Bible is God’s inspired Word. Besides revealing the Good News about forgiveness and eternal life, it can also answer the many questions you will have as you try to live a life that pleases God. It will enable you to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).
Here are some suggestions as you begin reading the Bible on a daily basis:
- Try reading the New Testament books in this order:
- First, read through the Gospel of Luke, a chapter a day. This will help you understand the basic facts about the Gospel.
- Then read Acts, for the exciting story of how Christ’s first disciples spread the Good News of His death and resurrection.
- Next, read some of the letters that Christ’s apostles wrote to these first disciples–all of whom were new in their faith, just like you. These letters include Romans through 3 John.
- Then, go back and read one of the other three gospels: Matthew, Mark or John.
- Think about what you read; study and analyze it. Ask your pastor or a mature Christian friend to recommend a good Bible study guide. The Bible not only reveals God to us; it contains greater wisdom than all the other books in the world.
- Read through the Psalms–the Old Testament book of worship–to enrich your devotion to God.
- Read Proverbs to gain wisdom and common sense, and to strengthen your relationships with other people.
- Pray for understanding. The Holy Spirit will help you (Psalm 119:18), and you will begin to see life from God’s perspective.
- Whenever you can, talk with others about what you are learning.
Talk with God often. Talk over your problems with Him. Let Him bear the weight of your troubles. (See Matthew 11:28; 1 Peter 5:7.)
Praise and thank God for who He is and for what He has done for you. Admit your weaknesses. Confess each specific sin that you are aware of. Pray for others that they, too, may receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Suggestions for your daily devotional time:
- Plan a definite time, preferably in the morning when your mind is fresh and rested. Make it a habit.
- Select a quiet place where you can be alone with God.
- Make a list of requests, for others as well as yourself.
- Read and meditate on a portion of Scripture, then spend time in prayer.
- As you end your daily time with God, commit the day and yourself to Him.
Learn to depend on the Holy Spirit
God is actually three persons in one: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit actually lives within every true believer in Christ. (See John 14:16-17.)
The Bible says that the Holy Spirit, as He lives inside you, is your counselor, to help you understand the truth revealed in God’s Word: “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit will:
- teach you
- guide you
- strengthen you in your times of need
Attend church regularly
When you received Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you began a relationship not only with Him but also with all other Christians. Whatever it meant to you in the past, going to church can now become a rich and rewarding experience:
- You will grow in understanding by hearing God’s Word preached and taught.
- You can ask questions and discuss Scripture with others.
- You will learn to worship God, which means praising Him for all that He is and thanking Him for all that He has done for you.
- As you worship, learn and serve with other Christians, you will find individuals with whom you can form lasting friendships (friendships that will last for all eternity!).
Be of service to others
You will find that the more you give yourself in service to others, the more you will enjoy your Christian life. Talk to your pastor about ways and opportunities to serve Christ and to witness for Him. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
Learn to conquer your doubts
At times you may doubt that you really are a child of God:
- There may be some big failures in your Christian life.
- You may find yourself thinking about things that you feel Christians just shouldn’t be thinking about.
- You may be troubled by some unconfessed sin.
When these things happen, it is important to remember that you are not saved by your goodness but by what Christ has already done for you. Review the first few pages of this text. Reassure yourself with the fact that, if you have received Christ by faith, you are now a child of God.
Learn to live one day at a time
Too often our lives become filled with anxiety. We worry ourselves sick about what might happen tomorrow. We try to cross our bridges before ever coming to them!
- The Bible says we are not to be anxious about what might happen tomorrow. (See Matthew 6:33-34.)
- The Bible also promises that, “Your strength will equal your days” (Deuteronomy 33:25). In other words, God’s grace will be sufficient to meet the challenges of each new day.
Learn the blessing of suffering
Difficulties, ill health and all kinds of suffering have a new perspective when you have Christ in your life:
- Instead of “going to pieces,” you can be strengthened.
- Instead of being a burden to others, you can be a blessing. As you realize God’s power, comfort and strength through life’s experiences, you will grow in your faith.
Learn how to deal with temptation
Temptation is a part of life. It was before you received Christ, and it still will be. It is not a sin to have wrong thoughts from time to time. It is, however, a sin to choose to dwell on such thoughts over and over again.
The Bible says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41). When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He replied to the devil by quoting Scripture. Three times He said, “It is written…” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). Be prepared for temptation, through prayer and through your knowledge of God’s Word.
The Bible says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Be prepared to take advantage of God’s “way out” of temptation, whether it means that you “flee” the scene of the temptation (1 Timothy 6:11), or that you stay on the scene and “resist” it (James 4:7).
Tell others about Christ
Letting others know about your new life in Christ–by word and by action–can be one of the most satisfying and exciting experiences you have ever had. The apostle Peter encourages us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).