The Next Step

THE NEXT STEP: GROW IN CHRISTLIKENESS BY OBEDIENCE

Welcome to the family of God! You’ve made the most important decision of your life. Your lifelong journey as a member of the family of God has begun! You have entered into a relationship with the Creator of the Universe, the God who made you, loves you, and has a life calling for you! It’s an incredible feeling to be loved and accepted as a child of God (John 1:12)! I’m still overwhelmed by God’s grace to save me from years ago and amazed even today by God’s love and acceptance of me. I still need his grace. I fully identify with this quote by Robert M'Cheye, "It is a sure mark of grace to desire more."

The relationship with Christ requires commitment. The depth of your relationship depends on your choice to obey. If you obey God on a daily, weekly, and in a lifelong manner, God promises that you will grow to discover his purpose for your life (Phil. 2:11-13). Now that you have trusted in Christ, remember the words of the old hymn “Trust and Obey,” and make the commitment to obey him fully. He is the source of complete and unending pleasure. “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Here’s an analogy that will help you understand this essential truth. Learning to ride a bike is common experience for most people. Maybe you remember as child learning to ride a bike. I distinctly remember my experiences learning to ride as a six year old. So often, I fell off the bike and injured, scuffed up, cut and bruised my knees or elbows. And I did not learn to ride with help from my dad. He would hold the bike for me and walk along beside me as I learned to balance and pedal the bike. After time and lots of practice, I rode by myself and traveled faster through the yard and driveway of our home, and around obstacles like trees. But, I did not become a skilled or competent bike rider overnight. It took time. I learned that when I pushed the pedal of the bike with my right foot, the left pedal did not remain static. It moved around with the force of the right pedal. The faster I pedaled, the faster the opposite pedal turned. I also needed help from my dad, who was more mature than me. I had to fall down and learn many times. But, I was committed to learn to ride.

Here’s the application for the new believer: Just like learning to ride a bike, discipleship takes time and commitment. Just like when we pushed the pedal to ride the bike, we need to learn to obey God. And it requires the volitional choice to obey God. When we obey God, his mighty power through the work of the Holy Spirit will grow us as believers. The faster we walk through life, we may fall down as we learn certain truths, as we are corrected by more mature believers, and as we experience hardships. With God’s grace, we get back up and keep persevering through life’s journeys. Sometimes, we learn the greatest truths about God and his wonderful grace when we fall on hard times. We also need a spiritual parent to come along beside us to help us grow. Discipleship is most effective in the context of relationships. Never forget that Jesus asked his disciples to “Come, follow me!” (Matthew 4:19). Even though you have gained access to eternal life through your decision to place your faith in Jesus, you now have the responsibility to yield to the authority of God in every realm of your life. This is your primary calling. And this is a personal choice that will determine if you are able to actually “live life abundantly” (John 10:10). Here are a few essential steps of obedience to help you grow in Christlikeness:

  •  Every day, offer your life as a sacrifice of worship to God everyday (Romans 12:1-2).
The words of your mouth, the thoughts in your mind, and your behaviors should be honorable and pleasing to God.
  • Accept the authority of God’s Word and systematically begin reading it daily to grow in
knowledge, values, and ministry skills (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Reading the Gospel of John and journaling about the truths you learn is a great place to begin.
  • Find a local church that is Christ-honoring and bible-based and join the church by being
baptized by immersion (Matt. 3:13-17; Acts 2:38-42).
  • Faithfully attend corporate worship and a small group bible study to grow (Hebrews
10:25; 2 Tim. 2:2; Eph. 4:11-16).
  • Share your faith with your friends and relatives about what God has done in your life
(Acts 22 and 26).
  •  In time, faithfully pursue God’s personal calling and live life to its fullest measure
(Philippians 3:12-15).