How I Can Grow in My Relationship With God
“As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”
1 Peter 2:2
Happy Birthday!! As a result of your confession of faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you have experienced what the Bible calls a “new birth!” Just as you were born physically and began the process of developing mentally and emotionally, now that you have been born again you will begin the process of growing spiritually.
The goal of your spiritual growth is to become a mature follower and a devoted disciple of Jesus Christ, and the purpose of this pamphlet is to help you reach that goal, one step at a time. As you will notice, one step leads to the next step, so let me encourage you to start your journey by doing several things:
- Select a good Bible – a paraphrased version might be helpful, but I suggest either a NASB or NKJV as your study Bible.
- Set aside a quiet place – eliminate those things Satan might use to distract you from your study.
- Set aside a specific time – arrange your day around this time rather than trying to fit it in along the way.
- Enlist a prayer partner – someone who will be praying for you while you are completing these studies and who will hold you accountable.
Step One – Be sure of your eternal salvation –
God wants you to know for sure and for certain that you have eternal life, but Satan wants you to doubt your salvation. John 3:16, 1 John 5:11-13, and Romans 10:9-10 are great passages to study regarding this issue, but in Ephesians 2:8-9, the Apostle Paul explained it best when he said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
- Grace – God’s unmerited favor, God’s undeserved gift
- Saved – Rescued, spared from eternal death
- Faith – Belief, trust, commitment of life – believing in God’s Word
Suppose you were standing before God, and He asked you, “Why should I let you into heaven?” What would you say? The truth is, you didn’t earn or deserve your salvation. You simply received it as a free gift from God when you received Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you submitted unto Him as your Lord. Our feelings are fickle, and our faith can often waiver, but when we take God at His Word, we can be certain and sure of our eternal salvation.
Step Two – Publicly declare your faith –
In Matthew 10:32-33, Jesus told His disciples, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
While baptism is not essential to our salvation, if it is physically possible, it is the evidence of our salvation – i.e., it is that outward expression of our inward submission to Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. Just as Jesus died for our sins, was buried and then raised to new life, by being baptized, we are dying to our old way of life and we are raised to walk in our new way of life. Mark the date of your baptism in your Bible, and when Satan whispers those doubts about your salvation, show him that date!
Step Three – Share your testimony with someone you know –
First, read Paul’s personal testimony in Acts 22:3-21 and identify the three major parts of it: His life before Jesus arrested him on the road to Damascus, how he received Christ as His Savior, and what changes he had seen in his life since that wonderful day. Take your time, and write out your personal testimony using the same three-point outline. Ask several of your friends if you can share your testimony with them. You may be pleasantly surprised at their response.
Step Four – Learn to study your Bible –
In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Apostle Paul wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Doctrine tells us what we should believe about God, about Jesus Christ, about the Holy Spirit, about the Bible, and about how we should live the Christian life. Reproof tells us when we aren’t living according to the Scriptures, and correction tells us how to not to make that same mistake again. As a new believer, let me encourage you to study the gospel of John until you get the “big picture” of the Person and work of Jesus Christ. As you continue to grow in your knowledge of God, you can expand your study of God’s Word. There are many methods of learning God’s Word, but perhaps this is the best one.
Step Five – Lean how to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit –
In Romans 8:26-27, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
I find it interesting that Jesus’ disciples never asked Him to teach them how to preach, or to witness, or to heal people of their sicknesses, but they did ask Him to teach them how to pray, and what Paul is saying in this passage is that the Holy Spirit is our Teacher. Even many mature believers really don’t know how to pray or what to pray for, but the Holy Spirit does, and He will guide us to pray according to God’s perfect will.
As you begin your discipline of daily prayer, perhaps the acrostic of A.C.T.S. would help in dividing your time. Begin with Adoration of God, then a time of Confession of your sins, a time of Thanksgiving for God’s provision, and a time of Supplication for the needs of others.
Step Six – Unite with a body of believers of like faith in Christ –
If you haven’t already, seek out a group of Christians, who are of like faith and practice. Careful! Every building with a steeple on it is not a true New Testament Church, and every congregation of worshippers is not a part of the family of God. The work of the Holy Spirit who now resides in you is to guide you into all truth, and that includes a true Church, for such a fellowship is desperately needed for support, encouragement, and accountability.
Step Seven – Fully surrender your life to the Lordship of Christ –
Beloved, by His death on the cross and His resurrection from the grave, Jesus became your Savior. In saving you from an eternity in hell, Jesus earned the right to be the Lord of your life, and one of the most important steps in your journey towards spiritual maturity is to fully surrender your life unto His Lordship, beginning with these life areas:
- Your time – Ephesians 5:15-16
- Your finances – 1 Corinthians 16:2
- Your abilities – Colossians 3:17
- Your relationships – Matthew 22:34-40
- Your mind – Romans 12:1-2
- Your ambitions – Matthew 6:33
- Your morality – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Join us next week as we focus on “HOW CAN I PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER CORRECTLY?”