7 Things That All New Christians Should Know
I want to drop off these quick seven...
tips that'll help you stay with the Lord and make it to Heaven
Paul said you gotta watch for the leaven
And 10 times out of 11, it'll be false brethren
Condemnation tries to make you a felon
But you gotta plead the blood of Jesus. It's a hater repellent
Hunger and thirst for righteousness, you can taste it and smell it
It's a new life in this and you can't fake it or sell it.
1. Escape the Prison of Your Past
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Deciding to follow Christ is the best decision that anyone can make. One of the greatest things about the gospel is that Jesus make all things new. That includes us. Being born again is a literal process where we are reborn of the Spirit of God and we become His sons and daughters. The Bible calls this the Spirit of adoption whereby God becomes our Father (Rom. 8:15). What greater identity can we have than to be a child of God? Being a child of God means that you stand out. The apostle Peter put it this way:
1 Peter 2:9 Buy ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
It's for this very reason that the enemy seeks to attack our identities the most. Who is the enemy? The enemy is anyone who opposes God's will for our lives. That includes the devil and his kingdom, our flesh, naysayers, and even our own carnal mind. The carnal mind is a mind that reasons with its own feelings and intellect instead of being governed by the Holy Spirit. It is an enemy of God (Rom. 8:7-8).
One of the biggest strategies of the enemy is to use our past against us. It's like a prison that tries to bind you so that you can't grow and be used by God. "Who am to spread the word when I've done so much dirt myself?... "Who am I to call myself a child of God when done so much wrong?" "Who am I to receive this beautiful wife when I've wronged so many women in the past?" The truth is that believers' sins have been covered under the blood of Jesus. However, the enemy (be it your own thoughts or the devil) will use your past to disqualify you from what God has for you. Don't fall for it! Yes, it did happen. Yes, there were some consequences. Yes, you may sin against God even as a Christian. However, the scripture says that there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom. 8:1).
Just because we have grace does not means we have a license to sin, but the scripture is clear that we can come boldly to the thrown of grace that we may obtain mercy in time of need (Heb. 4:16). Know and believe that you have been made new even if your walk with the Lord doesn't fully reflect that yet. The scriptures promise that the Lord will finish the work that He started in us, so don't let your past prevent you from that blessing.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Scripture Study: Romans Chapter 8
2. Crooked Cops
Matthew 7:15-17 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
If you talk to people and asked them if they have a relationship with Jesus, many of them will answer by saying that they go to church or grew up in church. Most people have the notion that a church building automatically means that God is there. I know that I personally had this idea from the outside looking in. Don't get me wrong; I did know that there were crooked pastors, but for the most part, I assumed that if someone called themselves a Christian then they were on God's team.
Growing up, kids will play simple games like Cops and Robbers or Cowboys and Indians. The games are straight forward where it is good guys vs. bad guys. This is how I viewed the Christian faith. I assumed that most churches were the good guys - the cops, so to speak. Once we get saved and gain discernment, we learn that it is not merely as simple as cops and robbers or good guys and bad guys. Christianity more closely resembles something like Prison Break, Training Day, or Dexter. A lot of the people who you think are on your team (the police force) are actually working against you (crooked cops).
The bible warns about deception and apostasy. Deception is when someone who was never of God creeps in to deceive God's people (Jude 1:4). Apostasy is the falling away of the church from the faith (2 Thess. 2:3). Unfortunately, we are living in this age today, but Jesus did warn us of these things. He warned that many false prophets would come in his name and deceive many (Matt. 24:11).
One of the greatest culture shocks to a believer is when they begin to read the Bible for themselves and be taught by the Holy Spirit and realize that a lot of what is being taught in the mainstream is heresy. It should be noted that there are several good churches that are God ordained. However, finding a good one is like dating. There's a ton of baggage and you need to be led by the LORD and test the spirits of any place you decide to fellowship.
Scripture Study: Matthew 24
3. Avoid the Rabbit Holes
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Can I be real with you? The scripture says that we must put on the mind of Christ. When we take on the Lord's mind, we have a renewed perspective of good and evil. We begin to identify good and evil based on the scriptures. We also gain discernment from the Holy Spirit to recognize these things. When the Holy Spirit really gets your attention, He will begin to reveal things about the world that are evil and wicked.
Please understand that "the world" is not talking about the physical earth, but instead about the world systems that gratify the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:15-16). The scriptures reveal that Satan is the god (little "g") of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). Even Jesus referred to the devil as the prince of this world (John 14:30). So it makes sense as to why there is so much crime and corruption in the earth. People are wicked and there are systems to bring out the worst of folks.
It can be shocking to find out that things there is so much wickedness around us. The Lord may reveal things about government, the food, the music industry, Hollywood, and many other areas of life that you may have considered harmless. These types of revelations can be can be captivating and eye-opening because it truly is wild. That said, it is important that we do not go down rabbit holes where the Holy Spirit is not taking us.
Many Christians come across these type of "exposing" truths and become consumed by them. Regardless of how truthful these things are, it is important that we focus on light more than we focus on darkness (Phil. 4:7-8). The trick is to get the believer to focus more on the problems than the Solution. Sure, there is a lot of horrible things happening around us every day. All you need is a newspaper or a social media account to see that. Gain what the Holy Spirit wants you to learn and move on from it. The old saying is that you are what you eat. That applies spiritually as well. It's important to be sensitive to what we allow into our eye gates and ear gates. Don't find yourself going down a rabbit hole where the Lord isn't leading you.
Scripture Study: Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 6:22
4: Everyone Hasn't Gotten the Memo / Fire Extinguishers
2 Corinthians 6:17-18 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Can I be real with you some more? Once we become saved, it is one of the most joyous and wonderful seasons of our life. If you truly grab hold of the Lord, there is a zeal and excitement that is unmatched. In fact, the scripture says that heaven rejoices even when one sinner comes to repentance (Luke 15:10). So, it is a great thing to be saved and you would think that other people would be happy for you. Unfortunately, that won't always be the case.
All of us who are saved started off as sinners. Many of your friends and family members who have not gotten saved yet are still sinners. As you grow in the Lord, you will find that you and your unsaved friends are family simply don't mix. The Bible says that two can't walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3). Oftentimes, the spirit within others will not mesh with the Holy Spirit that is within you.
This means that a major part of many believers' lives is having to separate from your family and friends. God's goal is to sanctify us and make us clean. To sanctify means to set apart for God's use. That means that there are some scenarios that will hinder your walk with the Lord.
If you had an issue with drinking and your friends wants to go to the club or to happy hour after work, that can be a stumbling block. If you are trying to stop cursing and your friends still curse like sailors and blaspheme the name of God, that can be a stumbling block. If you are trying to stop fornicating and bae is not saved and still wants to get it in, that can be a stumbling block. People may take this personal and feel like you're judging them or trying to be "holier than thou." However, it's not a matter of how unclean others are (because we came from the same lifestyle), but it's more about us trying to live a holy life before God.
At some point in your walk, God may call you to separate from your loved ones. This is hard, but we have to understand that they simply have not gotten the memo. Some of them have gotten the memo and willfully choose to reject God. Either way, instead of enhancing your walk with the Lord, they serve to try to put the fire out. I call these "fire extinguishers". Sometimes we will have to make a choice if our allegiance is going to be to God or to people. Be sure to choose wisely.
Scripture Study: 2 Corinthians 6:17:18, Matthew 10:24, James 4:4,
5. Your New Love Life
1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
Can I be even more real with you? Love is a beautiful thing. At some point in life, we discover that the opposite sex doesn't have cooties after all and we gain an attraction. Or, maybe we see our first princess movie and we are introduced to the idea of romance. Unfortunately, society has a way of taking something beautiful and manipulating it to be a huge pressure on people.
We don't feel wanted if we don't have a ring on our finger. We feel invisible if we aren't sharing precious Hollywood moments with someone we love. You scroll down and see people on social media enjoying engagements and honeymoons and you're sitting at home, in bed, eating ice cream and watching HGTV. There's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be validated. However, our media has a way of commercializing it and blowing it out of proportion.
That said, the desire for companionship doesn't go away when you become saved. We still want to be loved. We still want to be appreciated. We still want to share life with someone. Usually, one of the first things a new Christian will do (well, at least I did) is go out and find a Christian companion to date and possibly marry. I need you to understand that we cannot rush into this.
The truth is that God may very well have someone out there waiting for you. However, the devil has someone waiting as well. These are called counterfeits. We must understand that we spent our entire lives before Christ with certain preferences and things that we looked for and the devil has studied us and knows this. A lot of us have laid down with people and connected with them because the Bible says that you become one with anyone that you sleep with (1 Cor. 6:16).
Many believers can tell you from experience that Satan can send a counterfeited to try to derail you and shipwreck your faith. The kicker is that these people often come in in the form of Christians. Trust me. The Christian equivalent to "Netflix and Chill" is "Bible Study and Coffee." (Trust me. I know). What can start with a simply Bible study can lead to fornication, heartbreak, soul ties, or any number of other issues.
Your new love life starts first with God. God is love. Get your validation from Him first and become whole. When we become saved, God begins to make us new. We have no idea what we may look like a year, 5 years, or even 10 years from now. We are infants and toddlers in the spirit when we are born again, so it doesn't make sense to try to connect with someone when you are still going through growth. Get your validation and love from God, and spend your quality time with Christ first, so you don't fall for this trap. Patience is a virtue.
Study Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13
6. You Signed Up to Be a Soldier
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Can I be real with you? Yes, it is true that our lives change for the better when we choose to follow Christ. However, that does not mean that problems go away. It simply means that we have a God in heaven who is able to solve our problems for us. Instead of running to the bottle or the drugs or the bedroom to cope with the ills of the world, we go to Jesus. He is our Savior. The good news is not that problems go away because even Jesus said that we would have tribulation (Jn. 16:33). The good news is that He has overcome, and we also overcome as long as we are in Him.
To overcome means that we have to fight. We don't fight like the world fights, but we fight in the spirit. Paul explained it to Ephesian church by saying that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). From there, Paul instructed the believers to put on the full armor of God. In other words, this experience is not a cake walk, but rather a fight for your soul and the souls of others.
God uses us as instruments to save others because it's not His will that any should perish. That may be a far cry from what's preached in some churches on Sunday, but look at how Paul addressed his protege Timothy:
2 Timothy 2:3-4 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Or, how about when Jesus promised what his followers would do in his authority:
Mark 16:17-18 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
We could certainly go on, but just know that you are blessed to be a blessing. You are saved to help save others. This is why God endows us with Spiritual gifts to bring forth His Kingdom on the earth. When you really grow in this walk, you will realize that following Christ is not boring as all. In fact, there is always some sort of battle or situation going on and we must fight the good fight of faith. Seek God for your purpose and He will reveal it in due season.
Scripture Study: 1 & 2 Timothy
7. When God Gets Quiet
Psalm 139:7-11 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.
Last but not least, there may be seasons where God feels distant. It does not mean that God has abandoned you. Most likely, it means that God is taking you through a season of growth or testing you. I've heard the analogy, the teacher is always quiet when he is giving the students an exam. Even though the teacher is quiet, he is still right there in the room with you.
In this walk, there will be mountains and valleys. There will be sowing seasons and reaping seasons. There will be wilderness seasons and promised land seasons. Everything that we go through is for our own benefit. Romans 8:28 promises that all things work for the good of them who that love God who are the called, according to His purpose. This means that even when some seasons may not feel good, they are still good for us.
When we first become born again, we are spiritual infants. Infants require a lot of care and nurture. This is one reason why many believers hear the voice of the Holy Spirit so clearly when they first become saved because the Holy Spirit is nurturing you closely. As we become more familiar with the voice of God, it means that he doesn't have to handhold us as much when it comes to spiritual matters.
That first season where you don't hear God as often really freaks a lot of believers out. You wonder what's wrong. You start thinking that you did something to offend God or that He has given up on you. There comes a time where we have to apply what we have learned. Paul wrote that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstances he's in - whether it's the highest of highs or the lowest of lows (Phil. 4:11-14). Notice that he had to learn that. That learning did not happen over night. Paul had been shipwrecked, bitten by a serpent, beaten, jailed, and a number of other things, but God was right there with him all along the way.
Scripture Study: Philippians Chapter 4; Psalm Chapter 139
Prayerfully, these tips should help you throughout your walk with the Lord. Keep the faith and know that God loves you deeply. Shalom