Okay you're a Christian, now what?
by JOSEPH CLARK
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Saying the sinners prayer is often a liberating moment, and rightfully so. The person usually feels a sense of release from the things that have been weighing them down for so long. There is also a great sense of hope knowing that Jesus will be with them from now on, and in him all things are possible.
Unfortunately, this “Salvation High” is many times short lived. The person is quickly confronted with the troubles of life and often will live the rest of their time on earth struggling with many issues, even though they are now a Christian. While there are probably a number of reasons this can happen to a person, through observing people and reading God’s word I believe I have found one of the biggest. The good news is that it’s not new, and the word of God has plenty to say about it. The bad news, correcting it is not easy.
To identify this problem we must first define true salvation. To do this, the best place to look is the author and finisher of our faith; Jesus Christ.
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “how can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb!” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
In this scripture Jesus likens “salvation” to a natural birth. This is important. Too many people view salvation a just a choice or desire for something more. This can lead to seeing salvation has nothing more than just another club of people that are like minded. Jesus says it is deeper. True salvation is a new birth.
Okay, so does that mean that the answer is those that struggle were never really born again? No! It means that, no matter your previous or current worldly status; when you are born again you are a spiritual infant. By looking at salvation this way we can better understand why people struggle at the beginning with things because we understand that babies need time to grow up. The down fall for many is the failure to accept the fact that they are babies in Christ.
A great example of this in the bible is Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. In these letters Paul comforts many problems in the church such as division as to what man to follow (Ch. 3), how to deal with fellow Christians that go a little off track (Ch. 5&6), sexual immorality (ch.6), marriage (ch.7), how to balance the liberty of the believer with the responsibility to others (ch. 8-11), and how to handle the things of God (ch.12-16). What is amazing is to see that these are the same problems the church as a whole face today. So what does Paul give as the reason for these problems?
1 Corinthians 3:1-4 “Brothers I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly- mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?
I Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
1 Corinthians 4:15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers.
2 Corinthians 6:12 –I speak as to my children-
Paul is saying that the Corinthians are facing many of their problems because they are still babes in Christ. If we look at many of the things a physical infant goes through we can see this to be true. Who to follow? How to treat others? How to manage certain freedoms in life? How to process the knowledge we obtain as we grow up?
From the Bible and looking at an infant we can also see how to grow in the Spirit. As a new parent, It did not take me long to see that the most important thing that I could give my child to help her grow was the right food. So it is in the spirit. We must constantly consume the bread of life (the word) in order to have the basic nutrition to grow. The second most important thing was to help her practice using her muscles to perform different task. As Christians, we must continually practice using what God has given us in order to grow our spiritual muscles. Thirdly, I had to be the example of what I wanted her to be. Paul told the Corinthians in chapter 4 verse 16 “Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” Paul knew the responsibility that was on him as their spiritual father.
Too many Christians are trying to handle adult problems with infant Spirits. They may have been a Christian for 40 years, but have never grown up in Christ. This is causing many to live a life that leaves them feeling always under pressure and often defeated. This should not be the life of a Child of God. We need to begin to look at ourselves as Paul told the Corinthians to do in chapter 11 and start growing up in Christ. Our lives should not be a state of constant infancy; God has so much more he wants to show us.
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.
If you enjoyed this article please visit my site, Shining God's Light, at www.josephclarkblog.com.
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