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I've become a Christian, but what is my next step? How do I stay focused day to day and moment to moment?
Thank you so much for your question. You highlight the fact that we are called to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, which is not easy to do. Maintaining focus is a struggle for all Christians.
I would just like us to remember two things before thinking about steps to take:
Firstly, we are saved to a new relationship with God our Father in and through Jesus Christ. We are completely forgiven and restored forever, through faith in Christ alone. More than anything, the Christian life is a developing relationship of love. It’s all about Jesus. We are known by Him, loved by Him and He constantly provides for our every need. In response we grow in our knowledge of Him, love to Him and service.
Secondly, we have been called to a life of obedience reflecting our new relationship, but it is God who promises to complete the work He has started (Philippians 1:6). When we have received Christ, we received the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, protect, and comfort us; we are not alone. All that God does for us is in and through Christ so nothing can stop his purposes towards us being fulfilled. (Romans 8:30).
Acts 2:42-47 reveals some of the major steps taken by new believers, after being baptised. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. From this we can draw out at least three things that God our Father has given to us in order to maintain and cultivate this relationship of knowledge, love and service.
First, keep on reading, studying and listening to God’s Word being preached and taught (1 Peter 2:2-3). The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us and every word has been written for our spiritual development (2 Timothy 3:16). It’s living, active and powerful; we hear of the God who has loved and saved us, who is our King and best friend.
The bible doesn’t command it, but it is helpful to purposefully set aside a regular quiet time of reading and prayer, even for a few minutes each day. We need to stay close to Him, prayerfully asking that the Lord would reveal more of Himself, His promises and His ways to us (John 10:27), and that we would apply His truth to our lives that now gladly belonging to Him (John 14:15).
A primary place and time where God speaks is when his people are gathered together (Matthew 18:20). Also, God has appointed elders in the church to be responsible for making sure His people are taught the truth and kept from error, and teaches in order to build up His people in knowledge, love and works of service (Acts 20:28). So make use of the ways and means God has provided to maintain your focus and growth, and don't be tempted to go it alone.
Secondly, in order for this relationship to grow, we need not only to listen to His voice, but also speak to Him regularly and often; that’s what prayer is. Matthew 5-7 are helpful and the Lord’s Prayer in particular is an excellent template for thinking about prayer priorities, both seeking God’s glory first and expressing our dependence upon Him. The bible says that as Christians we can dare to pray with all sorts of prayers all the time (Ephesians 6:18) – reminding us to be thankful and also to confess our sins quickly to God, to experience the joy of His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). It’s natural to want to talk to the One you love and you know loves you. Sometimes it’s hard work and takes effort, but the Holy Spirit helps us (Romans 8:26).
We've already seen in Acts 2:42 that new believers devoted themselves to fellowship and prayers. Our new relationship with God is both on a personal individual level and a corporate level. We are brought into God’s family, and our Father delights to hear us at our family gatherings. So praying with other believers at church prayer meetings or smaller fellowships is really important. We are to pray with one another and for one another (James 5:16). Also, in coming together we learn how to pray. You may be tempted to feel intimidated or apprehensive, but just remember that prayer is always personal, speaking to our Father, who already knows what is on our hearts.
This leads us to the third part about fellowship, which is about sharing our lives together as Christians. We are saved by Christ alone, to a relationship with Him which simultaneously unites us with every other believer (Ephesians 4:4). The bible calls the Church the Body of Christ of which every believer is a member, working together and building up one another in faith and hope, accountability, acts of love, worship and service. Unless practically impossible, it’s where God equips his people for the good works he has prepared for them to do (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Our lives increasingly reflect the work of God in our hearts as we live out a life that is Christ centred, rather than self-centred. The letter of James gives some indication of what such a life looks like. Initially, we are publicly identified as belonging to Christ and one-another through Baptism. Thereby, we become members of a local church sharing the privileges and responsibilities God gives to us through Christ. As we look forward to a new heaven and earth, it’s in community that God will keep us focused and our relationship with Him will grow (John 13:35). Together we grow in Christ-likeness through the bible, prayer and receiving the Lord’s Supper. God has given His church all this to stay focused together.
In summary, remember that the Christian life is primarily about our personal and united developing relationship with Jesus Christ. Being known, loved and served by Him and getting to know, love and serve our Lord and Saviour in response. Remember that salvation is by grace from beginning to end. God promises to complete the good work He Has begun in you. Remember also that Jesus Christ is with us always and that He has sent his Spirit to help us. So, on that basis use his ways to cultivate this relationship through his Word, prayer, Lord’s Supper and fellowship in the church.
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20)
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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