I remember the exact moment I declared Jesus as my Lord and Savior forever. On my knees, sobbing in my freshman dorm room, terrified I was going to be kicked off my college soccer team for partying during my first semester. My music was on shuffle and the next song that came on shook me to my core. Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) started playing and a voice popped into my head. “Your way isn’t THE way Alex, Jesus is the only thing that can make your heart whole.” Yes. Looking back I realize that was the voice of God speaking some wisdom into my soul, but at that moment I just knew it was right and didn’t understand why. My life was changed forever in the dorm room in Huntington, Indiana. Looking back at all the trials, back tracking and spiritual growth I’ve had there are a few things I would tell myself as a new follower of Christ.
- You need to dig into your Bible. I knew I needed to read the Bible but I had no one informing me what it really meant to read and engage in the Word. I saw it as a chore and would read a chapter a day and check it off my to do list. My dear friends, we cannot view reading the Bible as a chore! So here are some tips: You don’t have to start with the first book of the Bible, Genesis. I would read the first few chapters that cover how God created the world we live in, how sin tainted our world and how He created us out of dust and breathed His breathe into our lungs.
- Life isn’t about you anymore. This can be such a hard concept to grasp, especially since our world tells us we need to be selfish and the world should revolve around ourselves, I am SO glad it doesn’t. Becoming a Christian means giving up the life you once lived to live for Christ and as He lived.
- Horrible things will still happen to you. That’s right, you aren’t omitted from suffering. Actually, you might experience more! The only difference between your suffering before Christ and now is that you have the same power that raised Christ from the dead living in you! These earthly struggles are a time to cling to God and trust that He will get you through it. A beautiful thing happens when you allow God to shape you through your struggles and suffering.
- Transparency is a beautiful thing. When I first became a Christian I thought I had to live a perfect life, that is a lot of pressure and is impossible to live up to. I thought if people knew what sin I was struggling with then they would turn their backs on me, I thought they would tell me I’m an awful Christian. Our struggles reveal how much we need Jesus. I don’t put up this perfect front anymore. When I am in the midst of temptation, I let people know I’m struggling. When I feel the Holy Spirit urging me to talk about it with someone, I obediently do it knowing this may help them with something they are going through. We all struggle with sin, you are not alone. Being a transparent Christian allows others to realize the same thing.
- The more you pray the better! Another lie I believed was that you only pray when you are going to bed. That doesn’t make sense when we are suppose to be living like Jesus. He was always praying to the Father (Luke 6:12, Mark 1:35, Matthew 6:9-13, Like 22:32, John 11:41-42 and many more.) He models how we should pray and how there isn’t a bad time to pray! I am constantly trying to pray, whether it’s in my car or during work. We are suppose to be forming a relationship with God. Think about when your making friends or trying to get to know someone you want to date. You are constantly talking to them, trying to get to know them more, learn about their past, seeing what they want their future to look like. Praying is one way we do this with God! Don’t limit your prayer life.
- It takes time to develop your relationship with God. Just like any other relationship, it takes time to grow closer to God. Don’t be discouraged when you witness your other Christian friends having growth in their spiritual life, you will get there.