Question: I recently accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and got baptized. I tell you that I feel like I was born again. My surrounding (i.e. The sky, the moon the stars creation in general) appears different to me. The type of person that I am, I am really sort of impatient. I want more of my Lord, and I want to grow more spiritually with Him, but I feel that I am not doing something right. I want and need to feel His presence all the time. There are times that I think that I do, and there are times that I don’t. I want to know how to reach Him with my spirit. How can I know if I am doing it right. Yes, I am an infant spiritually. Your studies are so helpful to me as I started to really read the Bible.
Answer: We are so happy with you, and Jesus says that the angels in heaven are rejoicing also! “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10) I would say though, that you need to be careful about going by your feelings. I too was very emotional when I received Christ, but we need to understand that feelings will come and go. We are to continue in that first love that we have for Christ, but we won’t always feel exactly the same way we did when we first got saved.
An analogy might be of a marriage, when we are first married there are those special feelings, and I would not make light of these, but then the work of marriage takes place. There is the everyday love that takes place between the two of us even when we don’t always feel something. There is that quiet bond and faithfulness through everything that comes into our lives that draws us closer together, in some ways, more so than what we even had at the beginning. With that in mind remember that the Bible is a love letter from God to us, also that we are the bride of Christ when we are in the Church.
We need, as new Christians, to feed our souls on God’s word. So here is another analogy, it is kind of like mother’s milk, look what St. Peter says about this. “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babies, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2:1-2)
I believe that a good place to start reading in the Bible, is in the New Testament, in the book of Saint John or the Gospel of John as it is variously called. You will find it as the fourth book from the beginning, there is Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There are other books called John in the Bible, but this first one is the one you want to start reading to begin with. I would read this book right through, probably take a chapter a day.
If you have enough money to get a good study Bible, you might get one like the New Spirit Filled Life Bible, or the Nelson Study Bible. (I personally feel the best version is the New King James.)A study Bible can be like a person next to you helping answer questions that you might have. But even more than teachers of the word of God, remember that now you have God’s Holy Spirit Who is living inside you to guide you into all truth, and to fill you with God’s love. God wants us to grow spiritually after we are saved. “.but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18a)
So you will want to meditate on God’s word everyday. You want to read some in the morning and some in the evening. “This Book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8) (We have a daily Bible reading chart that takes you through the Bible in two years; you might start something like this after you have read St. John through at least once.)
You will want to establish a good prayer life. When you read God’s word He speaks to you by His Holy Spirit. When you are reading you can speak to Him by what we call prayer. One part of praying is just visiting with God on a one to one basis. You may have some things you want to thank Him for first, and then you may have some questions or requests. Always thank Him in advance for the answers. In the Psalms it says, “Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God. It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100)
As you are reading God’s word, or though out the day, you may realize you have sinned against the Lord Jesus in a thought, a word, or deed. You need only ask God to forgive you and believe He has. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
You will want to fellowship regularly with other Christians of like faith. You may have a church home already since you have been baptized, but you want to keep going. You want to fellowship where the word of God is preached, you will know this by seeing if people carry a Bible to church. You will want to go to a church that is friendly. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
It is like a fire; if you have only one log, it doesn’t burn very good by itself, but put several logs together on a fire and watch them go. This is like fellowship in a good Bible believing church! The Christians will be on fire for the Lord if they are in the word of God. Someone has said the Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. So we want to hide God’s word in our heart, or in other words, memorize it. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11)
Well, I don’t want to give you too much to start with, but hopefully this will help you as a new Christian. Do remember too, don’t be ashamed of Christ, this is a great time to take your stand at work or in your neighborhood. People will see something different about you and may want what you have, so you can share your testimony with them. Don’t try to preach to them, just share the love of Christ, and remember that not everyone comes to know Christ the first time they hear of His love for them. Remember it probably took you several times, if not many times, hearing the truth before you received Him. Well, God bless you as you start on the most wonderful adventure in the world, and we will be praying for you! If you have more questions, we would love to help. We have a saying as Christians, “We’ll see you here, there, or in the air!”
God bless you!
Gary T. Panell
For more information email me.