I’ve become a Christian!…but what on earth do I do now?

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If you are reading this blog post and are a new Christian, I just want to thank Jesus so much for you.
For your whole journey up to this point, For the decision you have made to follow Him and for every day of your life now walking in the love of the Lord.
I am so SO excited for you!

So, my own journey looks a little like this;
-Suicidal cocaine addict.
-Taken to an Alpha course by a friend.
-Surrendered my life to Jesus.
-Radically transformed.
-Pretty much left to my own devices.
-Battled to find my place or learn of my new identity.
-Struggled to know how to pray or read my Bible.
-Live my Christian life for 6.5 years in performance and hoping my good works were enough.
-Fall sick and spend the best part of 5 months in bed being completely unravelled by Jesus.
-He decides to take me back to the very beginning and start over again!

You can read my full testimony here:
https://onegirlandherjesus.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/one-girls-story-from-cocaine-addict-to-lover-and-follower-of-jesus/

That’s why I am writing this blog post.

I am passionate and so very desperate to see new Christians firmly rooted and established into their relationship with Jesus and also with the Church.

Hopefully this post will encourage and inspire you as I share with you some “tips” based on my own experiences.

As with everything I write, it is all based on my own personal journey and I am just sharing what I have learnt along the way, I will also add some verses to back up each of my thoughts for you to check out.

So, let’s get going…

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I get it, its a hard book to read at times. Some of it is like, “what the hey?!”,
But I promise you that you WILL NOT survive this life as a follower of Jesus without it.
Please trust me, I tried…it doesn’t work!

No-one ever told me just how important this book was.
No-one ever told me why I needed to read it, How to read it or just how hard my life would be if I chose not too.

Firstly, this is God’s book which has been written for you, yes you!

If you are a follower of Jesus then this is your instruction manual for the rest of your life, you could almost go as far as to nickname it your “How to be a Christian for dummies” survival guide.

It teaches you who He is and who you are.
As you read it you will get to know the very heart of the Father who you have been adopted by, The things He loves, the things He hates, The things He would love to see you do and the things He warns you against.

Let me just rest on this for a second.

We have an enemy, we know that right??
But do you know that there are two things that he will ALWAYS use to try to take you down?

He has used these two lies since the Garden of Eden where he deceived Eve and he will continue to use them until the day Jesus returns.

These two strategies are;
1. He will try to make you believe lies about who your Father is and
2. He will try to make you believe lies about who you are.

When you get your head around this, it becomes much easier to discern the lies when they come and one of the best weapons that you have to come up against his lies, is your Bible!

The Bible is only true, God is only true. The enemy only lies, He only knows how to be a liar!!

So, get into your Bible!
It is a powerful tool and it is the very word of God.

We cannot ever say that, “God never talks to me” because He went as far as to write a whole book for you.

I used to use every excuse under the sun for not reading my Bible and my favourite one was, “I just cant find the time to sit and read my Bible”.
It really was just that, an excuse!

I promise that if you are serious about wanting to grow in your relationship with the Father and to get stuck into the Word, you will make time for it.
I have had to sacrifice many things to be able to dedicate a good chunk of my day to spending time in the Word but boy is it worth it ever minute!

I tried to live the last 7 years of my life without my Bible and have fallen into so many traps.
I have believed that my identity was found in my performance, that God was only pleased when I was doing stuff for Him, that He was cruel and cross with me all the time, that I was worthless, that I would always be a grade B Christian, that I was either too much or not enough…yadda yadda yadda.

I really urge you to get into the Word, its kinda important.

*I have written another blog on how I go about getting into my Bible*
Follow this link to check that out:
https://onegirlandherjesus.wordpress.com/2016/05/20/a-few-more-bible-study-tips/

Here’s some verses about the importance of reading your Bible:
Psalm 119:105
Hebrews 4:12
Proverbs 30:5
2 Timothy 3:16

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(I am going to cover the importance of fasting on a blog post soon so be sure to look out for that)

Anyways,
I’m married to a great guy and I have been for 4 years this year.
One thing that is becoming increasingly obvious to me is that when Tom and I go through a season where we don’t get to talk to each other very much, our relationship struggles as a result.

I guess its kind of common sense really but the same applies in our relationship with Jesus.

Remember, this love we have for Him and Him for us is not about religion.
Its about intimacy!

People for thousands and thousands of years tried to do the “God thing” through religion…it didn’t work!
That’s why the Father needed to send Jesus.

In order to sustain and grow in our relationship with Him we HAVE to pray.

I have grown more in my relationship with my Father God in the last 7 months then I have done in the last 7 years. Why?

Because I have really learned how to read my Bible and to pray!

Having spent 5 months battling illness and being unable to leave my home, I have had to run into the arms of my Daddy God like never before and as I said above He has completely unravelled me.

He has bought me back to the basics; To re-learn just how important it is to pray and be in constant communication with Him.

Prayer can seem like a daunting thing to get your head around at first but my definition of prayer is this;
having a conversation with my Dad”, which seems far less frightening, right?

Praying keeps us focused on Jesus and in tune with His heart, and it just keeps that sense of connection with Him, it is also an incredibly powerful weapon against the enemy.

It is so very important, in-fact it is vital to spiritual growth and a deeper relationship with God.

Some verses on the importance of prayer:
Philippians 4:6
Colossians 4:2
Matthew 6:5-6

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Church is one of the biggest mysteries to me, I find it an overwhelmingly beautiful display of the love that God has for us.

I find it such an honour to be part of an amazingly diverse group of people, We have multiple Nations represented in our Church in the South of England.
Old and young, single and married, black and white, new Christians and those who have faithfully served the Lord for decades.

The Church is beautiful and it is God’s plan, He refers to the Church as the Body of Christ.
Jesus is the head, we are the body (See Colossians 1:18).

It is never in God’s plan for someone to be saved and for them to attempt to try their best to live out their days on their own.

The Church is a safe place for people to be inspired, encouraged, to grow, to make mistakes, to find peace, hope and forgiveness.
To make friends and to challenge and support each other through the good and the bad seasons of life.
It keeps us focused on the One who we love, it helps us to become less selfish as we see the needs of others around us and we get to worship and pray together.

I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for the Church.
It has shaped and equipped me in ways that I never would have achieved if I’d chosen to follow Christ on my own.

But, the Church is not ever going to be Christ while on this earth or replace an intimate relationship with Him.

I have encountered many times within a Church setting where I have been hurt by peoples words or actions towards me.
I have had people tell me that they,
just hate me, I don’t know why, I just cant stand you!”.

This is of course not OK but it has never occurred to me to leave or to stop loving the Church (or the people that said those things)
because I understand that it is made up of a lot of broken and hurting people, and their problem isn’t actually with me.

What do I do with those “ouch” moments?
I allow them to shape me!

How can I grow in love, compassion and forgiveness if I am not allowed moments that test to see how I will respond? I wont become more like Jesus without opportunities to grow.

The Church is there to support, equip and mould us.
But it wont always get it right because people are human but I promise you, that you will be far better off in the Church then out of it.

As I said before; the Church is not Jesus, it is not perfect, Only He is perfect!

The good news is that we are being made perfect by His ongoing love and healing of our brokenness by His Holy Spirit.

Verses on the Church:
Hebrews 10:25
Ephesians 4:12
Ephesians 2:19-22
2 Corinthians 3:18

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I have about 4 people in my life who know the deepest darkest parts of me.

There is literally no area that is out of bounds to them, they have my permission to ask me any question with the promise that I will be 100% honest with them.

Sounds scary right?
Abso-bloomin-loutely!

But, I cannot afford to have any area of my life buried in darkness and not be being exposed to the light.
I need to have accountability to help me to walk with integrity.

As a Christian, you cannot put a price on finding someone who you can be completely raw and honest with.

It is so important to have at least one friend that you can get real with and who will encourage you to ask questions, confess sin, ask for support in prayer, get help to walk through difficult situations and gain strength and encouragement from.

You must pray that Holy Spirit will lead you into a friendship like this.
It is more often than not the case that someone older than you will be the best person to play this role but you can also expect that as they lead you with their wisdom, you may also be a huge blessing to them in return.

I have found that I have been just as much a blessing to my 40-50 year old friends, as they have been for me.
Its just how the Church works.

Verses on accountability:
Galatians 6:1-5
1 Thessalonians 5:11
James 5:16

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The enemy hates it that you have given your life to Christ!

Up until now, he hasn’t been threatened by you because you had been blind to him and his works but now that you are in Christ, the enemy has been exposed and you now have the power to spread the gospel and continue to expose him and lead people to Jesus wherever you go…he hates it!

You may have found that since giving your life to Christ, you have been feeling like the temptation to sin has increased? I promise that that is completely normal.

Remember that temptation itself is not a sin, even Jesus was tempted (but never sinned).

The important thing is that you don’t give into the temptation and allow it to cause you to sin, but don’t forget that because of the grace and mercy of our Father, we have forgiveness when we mess up.
(But that does not mean we deliberately go on sinning because we know we will be forgiven, see Romans 6:1)

One of the hardest parts of becoming a Christian for many people is making the decision to tell people and the implications of doing so can be so daunting.

I was (and still am) the only believer in my family and when I chose to make the decision to follow Christ I knew I had to brace myself for what my friends and family would think of my decision.

To my surprise, most of my family have been accepting but I lost 99% of my friends and have had many heated moments with people I love who think I’ve gone, (just more then a little) doo-lally.

It was, at times incredibly hard to start a new life aside from everything id known before I fell into the arms of Jesus.

The enemy may use those around you to attack you and the choice that you have made to follow Christ, but you must stay strong in Him and really pray for those who persecute you.

Don’t forget above all else that the God who is for you, is far greater then the enemy who is against you.

You are not a piece of rope in a tug of war between the enemy and Jesus, they are not even of equal strength.

You have already been won, already been purchased by the blood of Christ and the enemy has no power over you any more!

Verses on backlash when we follow Christ:
Ephesians 6:12
2 Thessalonians 3:3
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Exodus 14:13-14

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Baptisms are my favourite ever things to get to witness;

I cry…every single time!!

Your baptism is an amazing moment in your walk with Jesus.

I have such great memories of mine.
I remember being so desperate to get in that tub, I came to Christ in June 09 and was baptised in September 09, I just couldn’t get into that pool quick enough!

I knew my sins had been forgiven but I was desperate to feel that I had stepped into the reality of being washed clean and was excited to get the chance to show my family just how serious I was about this decision.

The Bible always links together Salvation through Christ and baptism.
In Mark 16:16 it says, “Anyone who believes and is baptised will be saved”.

The point in us being baptised is to symbolise us dying to our old life and being raised to new life now in Christ.

As we go under the water, it represents the death of our old life and the washing away of our sin and then as we are brought out of the water, it is a declaration of the start of our new life in Christ.

Jesus Himself was baptised which we read about in the Gospels.
Jesus didn’t need to be baptised, but like many things Jesus did while here on earth, He was setting an example of what the Father expects of us.
And hey, is Jesus thought it was an important thing to do, then we should probably take it seriously too.

I’m sure your leadership will be more then happy to meet with you to talk through any questions you have on this subject and arrange for you to get “dunked” if you feel like that is the next step you’d like to take on your journey.

It really is so much fun and a great chance for you to show your friends and family that you are serious about your decision to follow Jesus.

Verses about baptism:
1 Peter 3:21
Acts 22:16
Galatians 3:27

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If you have become a Christian then it was the work of the Spirit of God that bought you here.

We do not seek Him first, it is always Him who calls our name (see John 15:16).

When we surrender our lives to Jesus, an incredible thing takes place.
Your whole destiny has been forever changed!

You have gone from death to life,
from lost to found,
from orphan to adopted son or daughter.
Your final destination is now to be in the presence of your Father for eternity, hallelujah!

But, did you know that you have an incredible earthly commission too?!

When God saved you, He could have just whipped you up in His arms and carried you off into glory but He chose to keep you here for a while longer. Why?

It is the plan of Jesus that we stay here and be filled with the Holy Spirit, who will equip us for the works He has planned in advance for us to do.
Acts 1:8 says, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses”.

It is possible for us to become a Christian and remain “unfilled” by the Holy Spirit. *eek!*

We need more then just a touch of the Holy Spirit.
Even a non-believer can experience a touch of God, what we need is to receive Him in all His fullness.
In a way that we are literally overflowing with Him on a constant basis.

To be on fire for Him, we need His power.

For you to live out this life with its fullest potential you need to ask God for an infilling of His Spirit.
For the power of God to come and dwell in you.
You can pray this right now as you sit and read this or you can ask a friend or leader to get alongside you and pray with you.

But once you encounter the radical love that the Father has for you, you will be forever changed, there will be no turning back!

Verses on being filled with the Spirit:
Acts 13:52
Acts 1:8
Ezekiel 36:27
Romans 8:11

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Until this point, id say that all of the above are essential parts to successfully building and maintaining a relationship with the Father that is flourishing, not just existing.

This tip you can take or leave but I would so recommend doing it!

I have kept a “faith journal” since I gave my life to Christ and it is the second most precious book I own.
It is an amazing book filled with testimonies, words God has spoken to me, scriptures He has opened up, prayers, encouragements, questions, dreams…

There will be many times in your walk with the Lord that you will feel a little deflated and flat.
Its inevitable because you’re a human.

To have something that you can sit and look back on, to read of Jesus’ continuing faithfulness in your life, to read back and see how He has answered your prayers, how He has set your free from sins, It is priceless.

Sometimes I read back and cringe about myself.
But it’s amazing to see how we really do go from “glory to glory” in our journey with Jesus and in my journal I can literally see my growth from year to year of how I am becoming more and more like Him.

Here’s some verses on remembering the goodness of God:
Psalm 77:11
Jonah 2:7
Psalm 78:4-7

I really hope that these tips have inspired and encouraged you on your walk with our beautiful Jesus.
There is nothing on this whole planet that is worth investing everything we have into, then our relationship with Him.
It is the only thing that we will be carrying from this life into all eternity

I would like to make myself available to anyone who wants any advice or prayer to get them going on their journey so please, please feel free to drop me a message.

All the best,
Thanks for reading.

One Girl and her Jesus xx

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