Exploring The Basics: Christianity for Beginners

by | May 29, 2023

 John Stott once said:

The point is that we can never take God by surprise. We can never anticipate him. He always makes the first move. He is always there ‘in the beginning’.

Before you ever took a step towards God.

Before you surrendered to the pull in your heart or the conviction in your soul. Before you invited Jesus in.

Before it all, He was there.

The moment didn’t take God by surprise. It didn’t catch Him off guard. He already anticipated your arrival.

That is the beauty of salvation. God’s arms have always been wide open. The free gift of salvation has always been on offer to us. The question has always been:

Will you follow Him?

And if you’re answer is yes, the next question is:

Where do you go from here?

I Just Got Saved

The decision to follow Jesus is the single most important decision you will ever make. But for many of us who have made that decision, it doesn’t take long to realize that the moment of salvation is just that: a moment.

And let’s not underestimate the power of that moment. But, at the end of the day, it’s a moment in time.

The question then becomes:

What’s next?

Now that you’re saved, where do you go from here? What does the moment of salvation mean from this moment on?

The truth is, salvation might happen in a moment, but it affects every facet of your life: past, present, and future. And the rubber of your faith meets the road whenever you begin to apply it to all aspects of your life.

God’s desire wasn’t only to save you from your past and seal you for your future. It was to set you free to live as a new creature. To be brand new.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Now that you are saved, you’re a brand new creation. Your old life and your old ways have passed away. And now, in Christ, all things have become new.

So, now that God declares you are a new creation, how do you begin to live in that reality in your day-to-day life?

The answer: practice.

Daily Practices to Embrace a Life of Faith

The way we begin to grow and mature as a follower of Jesus comes down to our practices. It’s the habits we engage in daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly that help shape and form us into the image of Jesus, transforming us into who God created us to be all along.

So, what are some key practices we need present in our lives that will help us to grow closer to Jesus and embrace a life of faith?

Let’s take a look at three core practices that are vital to not only beginning your journey following Jesus, but sustaining it for the rest of your life.

Scripture

John Mark Comer, author and founder of Practicing the Way, states:

For millennia, followers of Jesus have immersed their minds in Scripture, not just to gather data, memorize factoids, and get the right answers on a theology test. Doctrine does matter—very much—but not to “pass the test” and get into heaven. It matters because we become like our vision of God. The goal of reading Scripture is not information but spiritual formation. To take on the “mind of Christ.” To a ctually think like Jesus thinks. To fill your mind with the thoughts of God so regularly and deeply that it literally rewires your brain, and from there, your whole person.

Scripture is a foundational element in our lives as followers of Jesus.

And the practice of reading and immersing ourselves in God’s Word is vital to our growth and maturity. We don’t read God’s Word because it’s the Christian thing to do. We read God’s Word because it’s God’s Word to us. It’s God’s voice echoing throughout eternity, telling us who He is, who we are, and what our role is in His grand story.

The writer of Hebrews tells us:

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

When we come to God’s Word, we open ourselves to receive His wisdom and insight, which leads to our continued transformation.

And remember that the goal of reading Scripture isn’t just to read it. It’s to let the Scripture read you. It’s to let God’s Word reveal to you who you are now and who God is making you to be.

Prayer

Another essential practice for a follower of Jesus is the practice of prayer.

Prayer is our lifeline. It’s our source of strength. It’s our constant access to God.

In prayer, we enter into a conversation with our Heavenly Father, the Lord of All.

Mother Teresa said:

Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.

It’s through prayer that we open a dialogue with God. One where an answer to a request isn’t the goal. One where communion with our Creator is first and foremost.

The practice of prayer is essential to the Christian life. So, whether you have 5 minutes in the morning, an hour at lunch, or a moment before you fall asleep, have a conversation with your Creator. And watch as your desire for communion with Him begins to grow.

 

Community

Another crucial practice for the journey of following Jesus and embracing a life of faith is the practice of community.

From the beginning, God made it clear that we were not created to do life alone.

By intentional design, we were made to live within a community. A close-knit body of believers who have made the decision to follow Jesus together.

Henri Nouwen had this to say when speaking about the importance of Christian community:

Christian community is the place where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us.

It’s within a Christian community that we continue to fan the flame of the Gospel within us and encourage each other to carry on.

See, the people we choose to do life with will either hinder us in our journey following Jesus, or they will spur us onward to a deeper, more intimate life with God.

If we are going to grow as followers of Jesus and embrace a life of faith, it’s vital that we surround ourselves with other brothers and sisters in the faith. Because it’s these relationships that will encourage us when the road seems to darken, empowering us to take the next step on the journey following Jesus.

The value of doing life with a community of people who love and follow Jesus can’t be overstated. If you want to grow and embrace a deeper life of faith, find a community of believers and choose to walk by their side.

Practices for the Path

As you go on the journey following Jesus, these practices will provide you with a strong foundation and an anchor for your faith.

These practices, along with many others, will serve as a point of contact for you and God, as you continue to open yourself up to be transformed day after day into the person God created you to be.
And at the end of the day, each of these practices give you the opportunity to see God more clearly and listen to Him more closely. It’s through these practices and more that you begin to see who God is and, as a result, begin to see who you are in Him.

To continue on the journey following Jesus, and to learn more about who God is, who you are, and your role in His story, feel free to check out the course we created: The Attributes of God.

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