This article is designed for new converts or even for long-time Christians who have not achieved a level of maturity in their walks with the Lord.
So what then? Now that I have become a Christian, what do I do next to please the God of my salvation? God has told us in His Word.
“But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.” – II Peter 3:18
A Christian should never just “sit there.” Instead, he or she should begin to have a time each day when they study the Bible and spend time in prayer.
Why is this so important? Our churches today are full of immature Christians, because they have time for everything but their daily devotions. But you will never be able to grow in the Lord as you should, unless you study God’s Word. This gives you time to learn about God and gives God time to speak to you through His Word. As you do this, you begin to see how your life is enriched by this fellowship with Jesus Christ. Plus, the other benefit of this is that you can spend time in prayer. Prayer is one of the greatest ways to see the hand of God in your life and in the lives of those that you love.
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” – Eph. 3:20
It is wonderful to see the hand of God in answering our requests. God will prove Himself over and over in answering your request.
One other thing that we receive when we study the Word of God is that we get clear direction in life. Satan is the god of this world, and as a result, the world’s system is designed by him. As we are in the world, we have to determine what is right and what is wrong. Time in the Word each day will give you clear directions in determining the right thing to do. Remember:
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.” – I John 2:16
Don’t let the world’s system deceive you. You have the Word of God to direct your paths in righteousness. Personal devotions are so important for the Christian. Could I plead with you to start this habit and continue it? The end result will be that you will be greatly enriched by the time spent with God. You will see your life transformed by the power of the Word of God over a period of time. I have yet to hear a student of the Bible say, “It is a waste of time to study the Bible.” They always speak of the blessings that have come to them by the time of fellowship with God.
We are going to answer this question from the perspective of a Christian and not an unsaved person. For the unsaved person, his life will be filled with vanity, as Solomon said, “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Solomon’s conclusion at the end of his life is this:
“For God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” – Ecclesiastes 12:14
But for the Christian, life for him or her has new meaning after their salvation. Their life takes on purpose and meaning. They realize that they are here for a purpose, and God has a plan for their life.
Our first question should be, what does God want me to do? There are some important things to consider in relation to this question. First, the God of Heaven has given us the Word of God, so that we can know His will. Many of the answers to questions that we might ask about the will of God are answered in the Book.
Secondly, God has given us His Holy Spirit to bring guidance into our lives. The Spirit will always guide us according to the Bible. He will never lead us contrary to the Book. He will guide us through the Book, circumstances, and friends. Let me use myself as an illustration. When God began to deal with me about going into the ministry, I would argue with Him about it. I used every excuse that I could think of before I finally said yes to the Lord. When I did, I went to my pastor and told him how the Lord had been dealing with me and that I had finally submitted to the Lord’s will in this matter. His reply was, “Well, I knew it all along and was wondering how long it would take you to realize it.” When I went home and told my parents, they said, “Well, son, we knew something was happening in your life and thought it might be something like this.” Both parties confirmed God’s calling to me.
I have found that God often calls those who are already involved in a ministry to an even greater ministry. If you are busy in the Lord’s work, God can direct your paths much easier to His will for your life. If you are working, then the Spirit can direct you in the paths that God desires for your life. It’s much earlier to direct a moving car than it is to direct a parked car. Start where you are. Use the opportunities that you have to serve the Lord, and then God will direct you to areas of greater service for Him.
Remember, “the path of the righteous man is directed of the Lord.”
Does the Christian ever get discouraged? If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that we do get discouraged from time to time. When we look into the Bible, we find that great men of faith suffered from this affliction. Elijah is a prime example.
Notice his experience after dealing with the false prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel:
“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a juniper tree, and he requested for himself that he might die and said, ‘It is enough. No, o Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers.’” – I King 19:4
Let us look at the background of this verse. Elijah was called of God for a special mission to Ahab and the Northern Kingdom. For three years, it had not rained on that nation, because of their sins. Elijah appears to Ahab and invites the prophets of Baal to Mt. Carmel to determine by a test which was the real God. The prophets of Baal were not able to do anything to the altar that Elijah built, but Elijah was able to call fire down from Heaven and consume the water and meat on the altar. They then killed all the false prophets of Baal, and Elijah had a great victory for the God of Heaven.
When Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, found out what had happened, she threatened the life of Elijah. Elijah then took off for Beersheba to escape from her. He then cries out to God to take his life. How discouraged must a person be that he would ask God to take his life? All of God’s people have been discouraged at times in their lives. We may have done something good and instead of receiving praise for it, you were rebuked by someone. You may try to do right in a wicked world, and it seems that the wicked are the ones who are blessed. It seems that, for the Christian, life is a battle.
What is the answer? It is first and foremost important that we realize that the devil is the one who brings discouragement upon us. It is one of His most important tools that he uses against Christians, because they do not realize it belongs to him. He makes right to seem as wrong and wrong to appear to be right. He is no friend of the Christian but is our adversary. He is out there to defeat you in your walk with the Lord. Just remember that when discouragement comes, it is the attack of the devil and not of the Lord.
After God had fed Elijah, he appeared to him and gave him a new commission.
“And the Lord said unto him, ‘Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus.’”
– I King 19:15
God told him to go back and engage in the battle of life once more. When we are discouraged, seek the Lord for the help and strength that we need and then, by the grace of God, get back in the battle.
God has a will for each of His children, and He is very happy to reveal it to the person who is willing to follow it. The first and foremost thing that a Christian has to do is be willing to follow the will of God. Paul tells us,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1-2
When we are ready to do God’s will, He will show us what He wants us to do. This may not be all at once, but He will open the doors that we might pass through in completion of His will for our lives.
Now, go for it! What do we mean by this? When we see the leading of the Lord in our lives, we should go for it. We are reminded,
“Whatsoever our hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” – Ecc. 9:10
Don’t look at the circumstances surrounding the situation. God is greater than any circumstances that we might find ourselves in. In fact, God often puts us in situations that we do not have the answer for or the power to control or to know what to do. He wants to show Himself mighty in these situations. By doing so, it increases our faith and helps us to try greater things of God.
Complete the vision that God gives you. Don’t let anything stand in your way. God is great and will show Himself great to you when going through difficult times in your life. Herein lies one of the problems that is common with many Christians today. When the going gets tough, instead of then getting tougher, they fold and quit. Quitting should not be a part of the Christian life, for God is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).
So many Christians start off serving the Lord only to fall by the wayside when the difficulties of life come their way. Dr. Bob Jones used to say, “the measure of a man’s character is what it takes to stop him.” The wonderful thing about trials is that God is greater than any trial that we might go through. One of the great joys of doing the Lord’s will is when you get old and look back, you realize that you were obedient to the Lord, and there is great comfort in that realization.
Should we not all just get along with each other? Doesn’t the Scriptures teach us that we should try to get along with people?
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” – Rom. 12:18
That is true, but sometimes we cannot always get along with people if we have to compromise our principles to do so.
Men and women of faith should have core values that they hold dearly and should be willing to stand up for. Today in society, we are being asked to compromise what we believe in order to get along with others. The sad thing about this is that it is the Christian who is asked to compromise because we are the only one that has values left. Once and awhile, you run across a person who is not saved that still has core values about them, and this is wonderful, but the Christian, because he/she is different, must have this motto: “Do right until the stars fall.”
If one has these values and stands by them consistently, then you will not be the most popular person in the office, factory, or neighborhood. To have values goes against the human nature of man who says “Do your own thing.” In the business world, you see the lack of values more and more. It has become common to lie about various things concerning the job. The boss is not in when he just doesn’t want to talk to the person or “we will be there tomorrow” or “expect the payment today.” Employees are expected to lie for the boss; work is halfway done; and products are not what they claim to be. This is becoming “the way of the world.”
It is so refreshing to have a person show up when they should and do the job right the first time. It is just wonderful to call an office and receive fair and honest treatment from the person to whom you are talking.
Companies which operate on core values and whose employees are helpful and honest will last. Those that lie and cheat their customers will soon fall by the wayside. One of the funny things about life is that those who compromise yet want to deal with people who are honest and forthright. The answer to longevity in anything is to treat people in the same manner that you would like for them to treat you.
Something is very sick with the society that we live in. Let me show you just a few examples: Something is wrong when we measure a man by his ability to shoot a basket, hit a ball, or catch a pass. These men may be good at what they do, but what about the men and women who go out each day and work hard to provide for their families? Why is it that many of the “stars” think that they can do just about anything that they want and not be responsible for it? If we speed, we must be the fined, but many of the “big names” think that they should not be held responsible for their sins. I might add that there are two reasons that they think they can sin and get by with it.
One is that they think they are above the law and that they are so big that the law would not touch them. Secondly, they think that they will not get caught. They do it and expect everyone to overlook their sin.
We see the problems on the news just about every day. What is the answer? Well, the Bible teaches us that the devil makes evil to appear to be good and good appear to be evil. Something in itself may not be evil, but the value and priorities that we give it makes it evil. Sports may not be evil, but if they become our priority in life, and we sacrifice our family for them, then they become sin. Many Christians go to their sons’ ball games and lose their testimonies over something that happens on the field involving their children.
On the other hand, we see evil appearing to be good. From the television, we are lead to believe that we cannot watch a sporting event unless we have a beer to drink as we do. Life consists of inviting our friends over and watching a game while drinking a few beers. After a few beers, the tongue becomes loose, and words are said that are not good for the family to hear. Many an event has been destroyed, because someone has had “one too many.” Good people stay away from events, because they know what will probably happen if drinking is present.
Is it time to look at what is valuable to us? Is it right for us to hold up the right champions before our children? Is it not time for us to teach our children that life has more important things than playing sports? Maybe we need to see that our children are not involved in everything the world has to offer and that they are in church on a regular schedule.
This is the most important question, because all eternity depends on the answer. Numerous churches have an answer for this question. One large group says that you go to Purgatory when you die. This is supposed to be a place where you are purged from your sins before going on to Heaven. Some say that when you die, you die just like a dog, and you wait in the grave to be resurrected, and what happens after that depends on your behavior, and if you believe. Another group says that you will go to one of three heavens. Again, your eternity depends on “works” here on Earth. This is based on the writings of their founder and not the Word of God. The last group has the most people in it, and they just don’t care or even think on this matter. Heaven or hell is here on Earth for them, and when you die, that is the end of it.
According to the Bible, it is clear that there is a Heaven and a Hell and all mankind is going to one of these places.
All other doctrines regarding Heaven and Hell come out of human tradition and not the Word of God. The measurement according to man’s tradition on who deserves Heaven or Hell is works and not Grace. The Bible teaches no such doctrine.
What is the answer to this problem? First of all, all men and women know that there is a God (Rom. 1: 18-23). He or she has a “God conscience” deep in their soul. Also, all of mankind knows deep down that he cannot sin and get by with it. He realizes that, one day, he must “face the music” for the way they lived while here on Earth. His/her sin hangs over their head and reminds them that they are a sinner no matter how hard they try to deny it. All of this is suppressed in the back of their minds, so that they will not have to think of it, but it is there.
The Bible explains:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you: He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.” – John 5:24
Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners. If we will humble ourselves and agree with God that we are sinful, then God will save us and give us eternal life. So many want to take another route to God, but the only route is through God’s Son Jesus Christ. God did not provide many avenues of salvation—there is only one—and when Christ died on the cross and cried out “it is finished,” then it was. Eternity will be here before you realize it. Why not accept the work that Christ did for you on the cross and humble yourself and ask Christ to save you.
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples how that He must go unto Jerusalem and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.’ But He turned and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou art an offense unto Me, for thou savourest not the things that be of God but those that be of men.'” – Matthew 16:21-23
As you look at the religions and cults of the world, you see that they say the same thing as Peter: “Be it far from Thee.” But this was the very reason that Christ came into the world. His death on the cross was the plan of God for the redemption of mankind. If Christ had not died on the cross, no one could have been saved.
Christ knew the importance of His death on the cross and showed it to Peter by the rebuke that He gave him: “Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou are an offense to me.” Satan has always tried to stop the Lord Jesus Christ from reaching the cross. He tried at various times to kill Him before He could reach that appointed time to go to the cross. Peter was here agreeing with Satan and his plan to keep Christ from the cross, and that is the reason he was rebuked. For the believers, they realize that it was the gift of love that caused God to send His Son to Earth to redeem us by His death on the cross.
But sinful man does all he can to get around the cross. It points out to him that he is a sinner and that, unless he can come to the cross and bow at the feet of Jesus Christ and confess his own sinfulness, then there is no hope for him. He would rather listen to some teaching of mankind that says he is really good, and if he does good deeds, then he will be all right when it comes to salvation. But deep in his heart, he knows that he is not good, and he knows that he faces a holy God when he dies. But he would rather believe the lie than come to the cross, because he has to confess that he is sinful, and that is hard to do.
The cross is there for the salvation of sinners like you and me. Come to the cross and agree with God that you are lost and in need of a Savior. Then God, in His love for you, will reach down and save your soul and give to you eternal life. Salvation is not man holding himself up to God but God reaching down to man.