By: Ng Zhiwen
First, let me give you a big hug and say “Congratulations!!!!” It is a great day for rejoicing, and I am so HAPPY for you. There’s even greater rejoicing in heaven by none other than God Himself, in the presence of all His angels (I really wonder how they would react to see God like that!).
The day you became a Christian may seem like a small matter to you, but it is no small matter in the eyes of God, who has recovered a child who once was lost but now is found. It is no small matter to everyone who has prayed for you, even without your knowing. It is no small matter to everyone else who played a part in pointing you to Christ. And it is no small matter to every fellow believer who has walked that same road, made that same decision, and knows what it meant for themselves.
What lies ahead for you now?
I want to share with you a few things, as a fellow traveller (mind you, no tourists here! Only pilgrims).
Yes, you’ve begun on a journey that is wrapped up in God’s amazing story of working in this world. He had made everything good from the beginning. But our first parents sinned, and we all participated in the self-destructing habit of saying “yes” to sin and “no” to God. Then came Jesus, who showed us that God loves us still, and offers us reconciliation and redemption. In the larger story, God is working to restore all of creation in His Son, and He will accomplish that completely one day when He returns – and set things right.
You are a part of that story now. And there is a Day when you will meet your God and your Saviour face to face. For the rest of your life, know that you are part of that story and that there is this Day to look forward to. How will you live in the light of that hope?
Do you remember what it was like when you had made that decision to trust in Jesus? Did you find yourself drenched with joy as you finally faced up to the horror of your own sin and rejection of God, and realised that He loves you still in His Son?
That is only a taste of all that God has in store for you. For the rest of your life, you may reflect and wonder at the glorious love and majesty of our God, and all that He has done for you. It is as if you had been courted by God. He wasn’t just looking for a date. He was looking to enter into a relationship for life. Don’t you know that you are now engaged to Him? That final Day is really the day of your Marriage.
You may, and it greatly blesses you, to begin right now the journey of getting to know the One you’ll get to spend the rest of eternity with. Don’t be afraid by that prospect, or think that that would be a dreariness. Your feelings are merely the feelings of one who had been used to thinking like the world, and as a someone held in sin’s bondage. But Jesus came to set you free. As you get to know Him better, I assure you that He will turn out to be far better, far more just, and far more loving than you had imagined. A theologian once uttered these simply profound words, “God is beautiful.” Oh yes! He really is…. and my heart’s desire is that you will come to know Him more and more.
Towards that end, there are some things that you can do.
First, you must resolve day after day to say NO to sin. Sin is simply saying “no” to God, and it marrs your vision of Him, and your feelings towards Him. You must remember that sin once held you in bondage. Now that you had escaped its grasp, it will try again and again to hold you as much as it can in bondage. If it can’t snatch you out of Christs’ hand, it will try to put a basket over you so that no one can tell that you are Christs’. And it will endeavor by all means to kill your affection for God.
Remember that sin, its essence, is not behaviour. It’s about your posture towards God. In the presence of God, the only proper response is to bow in reverence and in obedience. Think not that that is undignified. Real dignity comes from God saying to you, “Well done! Good and faithful servant.”
Remember Whose you are.
Second, it is time to grow spiritually. People wished they could re-live their childhood. Spiritually – that is possible! You are born again. Spiritual truths and spiritual experiences will be fresh… as you would have never had them before (even if you’d been attending church for years; when Christ comes into your life, New Creation!). You may have the same thrill of discovery as a child who handles a new toy or plays with a dog for the first time.
But remember that you start off only as a child… there’s much growing to do, and you should eventually get weaned off milk to eat solid food. Dig into God’s word – it is laden with treasure. It is a love letter written to you by God. Soak in the words, let your mind feast on them day after day, allowing them to point you not to some abstract deeper truth, but to a greater knowledge of Him. Let God’s word purge your mind and heart of the corruption that sin had caused, so that you may behold Him more fully and more clearly.
There are no short-cuts for spiritual growth; No five easy steps or seven simple strategies.
When you were saved, God delivered you from the penalty (or the effects) of sin. But now that you are saved, you are set on a journey of being delivered from the power of sin. God’s agenda for your life did not stop at you believing in Jesus’ name and getting a “ticket to heaven”. If you will let Him, He wants to deal with every lingering aspect of sin and its history of abusing your life. It will be hard and it will be painful – you may even find yourself grasping to remnants of your old ways, however foolish that may seem now – but know that God means for nothing but your good, and you will be changed from glory to glory. God has already given us a glimpse of how the story will end, and it will end well for all who are His. Take comfort in that.
I said earlier that there are no short-cuts for spiritual growth. However, there are resources available for you. You are responsible for your own spiritual growth, but you are never called to walk the journey alone. Don’t let the sin of pride tell you that you need nobody.
I urge you to get yourself into good company.
Choose godly friends, and talk with them about spiritual matters – sin entices us to write such things off as being “holy and showy”, but be humble and yet determined to bring spirituality, a God-centered spirituality, into every aspect of your life. Those who engage well in such activity know that it is a matter of life.
Pray and be on the look out for people spiritually more mature than yourself, who are willing to teach you. Be willing to learn.
Get plugged into a community of fellow believers. God has designed His church to be diverse, so that everyone may help everyone else in unique ways to grow spiritually. Embrace this truth, and be patient with all, knowing that God wants to deal with everyone’s sin as much as He wants to deal with yours. Be part of a three-fold cord that will not be easily broken.
Finally, the greatest resource that God provides is Himself. He has committed Himself to you. He has promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you; and His Spirit that dwells in you is that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. He has dynamic power to work in your life!
Once again, congratulations! Since biblical times, the often-used compliment is “Blessed are you!” Indeed, you are so blessed to belong to Jesus.
And I am so blessed to have you as a fellow traveller.
Until that Day! Even so, come Lord Jesus!