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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Dead End (02/06/14)

TITLE: For New Christians
By Lawrence Walkup
02/09/14


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FOR NEW CHRISTIANS

This is written as a word of encouragement for brand new Christians. A person who has been born of the Spirit of God, and therefore has experienced God personally, knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have entered into something that is not of this world. Something inside of them has happened, that they cannot explain apart from God. From this initial incredible experience follows incredible feelings. Because these feelings eventually go away like all feelings do, the immature new Christian, in an attempt to hold on to these feelings, starts to do stupid things. The biggest stupid thing they do, that leads to the other stupid things, is that they become religious. It is at this point that their personal relationship with Jesus comes to a dead end. Of course, this how they perceive what's happened because they rely on their feelings. The truth is that God is still at work in their lives, and always will be, but they have not yet come to learn and believe that. Because of bad teaching, becoming religious is something that can last a long time. It can last for decades or it can even last a lifetime. This is something that needs to come to a dead end quickly before bad habits start to develop. The way you can tell that you are becoming religious is when the focus of your Christianity has been placed upon yourself. If you are taught, even in the most of subtle ways, that the goal of being a Christian is to stop sinning, where has the focus shifted to? It is so easy and usually is the tendency for us to carry our performance oriented mindset (which is all we know from the world) over into our Christianity. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not encouraging you to go out and sin. Understand that God is not dealing with us on the issue of sin anymore. The Lamb of God has taken away the sin of the world. This means that the consequence of sin for the world has been dealt with. However, for the unbeliever, he has a bigger problem than the consequence of his sins not being dealt with anymore. Until he receives the Life that is being offeref by the Father, he is still dead spiritually. God deals with mankind now on the issue of Life. When you became born again you received a Life. This is a Life that you can never lose. That's why it's called an eternal Life. Regardless of feelings, God now wants you to learn what faith in Christ is, for without faith it is impossible to please God. God wants you to learn the full significance of the package deal that comes from receiving the Life of Christ. Putting faith in Christ has shifted the focus back to where it belongs. Putting faith in yourself is a dead end road that leads to fruitlessness. Remember, Christ said for without me you can do nothing. Let us keep our Christianity simple as the Apostle Paul has told us in 2 Corinthians. Faith in Christ is easy and it is simple; what is hard is having our minds renewed from all the garbage we acquired in the world, that we insist (our flesh) on holding on to. Worse than that would be to acquire new garbage from bad teaching.


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CD (Camille) Swanson 02/13/14
Beautiful words of encouragement along with an inspirational message. Excellent devotional...thank you.

God bless~
Toni Hammer 02/13/14
I saw a lot of my once newly saved self in these words. Praise The Lord that He does not give up on us. I think with some further work this could be stellar.
Toni Babcock 02/14/14
Interesting thoughts put forth in this article on faith and the importance of keeping it focused on Christ. I would try to break this up into a few paragraphs separated by a double space to make it easier to read. Another trick that works for me is to go through my writing and look for the word "that" - and see if I can eliminate it. Its amazing how easy it is to use the word 'that', when we don't really need to - it just helps tighten up the writing by removing peripheral words that aren't necessary. (Hey I just used the word 'that' - but in this case it was needed).
Larry Whittington02/16/14
Have each paragraph deal with one main thought.

Separate paragraphs for easier reading.

It is recorded of Peter saying "With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from his corrupt generation".
All who accepted Peter's message that Jesus is both Lord and Christ were baptized for the forgiveness of their sin and they were given the gift of the Holy Spirit. They became Children of God and the Holy Spirit ccould help them understand what sin is so they could avoid living like this present generation.
LaCretia Peters02/18/14
I love your emphasis on the negativity of religion and true gift that Salvation in Christ rewards. This issue is often avoided by most Christians but is so critical in moving us into a life of true faith in God. Fabulous devotional!!