Growing In Christ When You Are A New Christian

Camidria

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#1
I believe that all Christians that was born again could relate, the moment you make a commitment to Christ that is the moment that most of us leave behind a life of sin, we become a new creation. Through a deep and very personal relationship with Jesus, He starts to show us our true identity in Him and little by little He sanctifies us as we become more like Him in character.

What does this mean? Let's break it down!

Imagine you are like a spiky ball, on the inside your spirit has been sanctified (made clean, pure and blameless before God when you accepted Christ) your flesh on the other hand still has all the sinful habits you picked up while you were still in the world.

SpikedBallsRedGreen_12647.jpg

Then by studying the Word of God, spending time in prayer and also bit by bit trusting Jesus with every part of your life, God begins to 'take away all the spikes'.

This is why you see Christians that even after they are saved they might still do certain things that aren't acceptable. By allowing God to prune away all your bad habits, your flesh comes in line with what happened with your spirit.

This time can really be very hard for you as a new Christian, and satan will come with many many lies trying to convince you through other people (and other Christians even that are still weak in their worldly habits), that you are not saved and you are still doing all these sins and you are not worthy etc.

So how does sanctification look? I will give an example out of my own life:

Growing up I never had a father that affirmed me, and he did many bad things to me and my mom like verbal abuse. I was always caught in the middle of a fight. I grew up believing that I wasn't good enough and nothing I did was ever good enough. So the acceptance of people became an idol for me. An idol is something you worship or deem more important than God. When your focus is constantly on what people think of you, and not on God and what He wants you to do or what He thinks of you, that can become a subtle idol that we cannot even see! This can lead to you compromising your values even for acceptance!

So this was the first thing God sorted out for me as a new believer. He would constantly remind me to focus on Him and not on other people. It was very hard to do that as I craved love and acceptance of others!! He taught me to find all that acceptance in Him, as this was one of my biggest idols it took years for my identity to be established in God. Finding that I only need Him and nothing and no-one else. As I became obedient to what He was telling me to do, I became more reliant on Him for my acceptance and forgot about others. And finally when I didn't need anybody anymore to like or accept me, people actually started thinking differently about me.

We have to realise that as Christians God is never done with the work He has started in us. We will always learn to be more and more obedient as time goes on, and we will stumble and fall as God is teaching us to lay off the flesh. We are all human, and we all make mistakes. God loves it when we are brutally honest with Him, when we admit our faults and when we become dependent on Him alone. You will always be pruned and sanctified, and in this process it is important to realise that the devil is out to destroy you and will try and temp you again and again until you have learned to resist him while relying on God only!

Be always in prayer, ask God what you should do and learn to be obedient in that. Ask for scriptures and trust Him to give you the right scriptures. Focus on Him continually and you will see how your life will turn around!
 





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#2
I think this thread has been needed for a long time! It may help for us all to realize that being a Christian is a long process with many learning "opportunities!"
When others see Christians stumble, remember please, that we are NOT claiming to be as holy as Christ our Lord, but are very human and struggling alongside the Holy Spirit's guidance to follow God's commands.
The bible tells us this,
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
But it is a process and God calls it precious:

1 Peter 1:7
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
 





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#3
in my experience, the first time you come back to God or give in 110% is the easiest time.

That goes for the first time as well. Many are raised in the church, fall away in their college years and later and then come back better prepared to sponge. Battles begin for you start to see that perhaps brothers and sisters may disappoint you. You may also wonder when on fire why everybody is not on the same page. Satan will slowly chip away reminding you of past embarrassing moments you wish you could forget. Or you will realize the road is indeed narrow and you might still find you are lonely at times.

I think people seek acceptance, but not all churches have the Spirit truly moving through it. After a bit messages
could become stale and repeated and this will make one participate less. Satan works on folks hard by telling them their work is not appreciated if they volunteer and this and other things crack the foundation. It is important to go all in, IMO, so there will come a time for a second or third time around and that is the one which counts. People backslide and fall away but once you actually feel the spirit and that takes work. you know it is there from then on and in time hopefully return or want that feeling again. True Christians struggle, but it is nice when you are at the point where you worry about nothing and never look over your shoulder in fear. You know when you are truly in the light for others notice.

Christians are so far from perfect but when you try to be and succeed for a bit, you kinda get what it is all about. But we give into flesh and the world so easily for it is indeed quite the battle for ones soul.
 





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#5
in my experience, the first time you come back to God or give in 110% is the easiest time.

That goes for the first time as well. Many are raised in the church, fall away in their college years and later and then come back better prepared to sponge. Battles begin for you start to see that perhaps brothers and sisters may disappoint you. You may also wonder when on fire why everybody is not on the same page. Satan will slowly chip away reminding you of past embarrassing moments you wish you could forget. Or you will realize the road is indeed narrow and you might still find you are lonely at times.

I think people seek acceptance, but not all churches have the Spirit truly moving through it. After a bit messages
could become stale and repeated and this will make one participate less. Satan works on folks hard by telling them their work is not appreciated if they volunteer and this and other things crack the foundation. It is important to go all in, IMO, so there will come a time for a second or third time around and that is the one which counts. People backslide and fall away but once you actually feel the spirit and that takes work. you know it is there from then on and in time hopefully return or want that feeling again. True Christians struggle, but it is nice when you are at the point where you worry about nothing and never look over your shoulder in fear. You know when you are truly in the light for others notice.

Christians are so far from perfect but when you try to be and succeed for a bit, you kinda get what it is all about. But we give into flesh and the world so easily for it is indeed quite the battle for ones soul.

I like how you mentioned the problem in some churches because churches are worship houses for-wait for it-sinners! Christians ARE sinners-even after being saved and giving their lives to God completely.
The one factor that makes a Christian different is that he has been born again as it says in John 3.
*We do not have a freedom to sin because we know the forgiveness of God, but this verse is a comfort in the struggle of becoming more Christlike:
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
.

Now the process of refining and sanctification begins and he is guided by the Holy Spirit into renewal of mind-becoming a new creature.
This is a lifelong process and will last until we die. Sometimes we are victorious over sin, sometimes not.
You see, God has called His children to "be holy as I am holy." We can't do that without His help.

I hope this helps to dispel any ideas that we Christians think we are perfect, and as a consequence-judgmental. If we are, we are not following another instruction by God: "Walk humbly before God and man."
 





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#6
We would sin until we die, for sure.

Even a desire to do evil which no one else would know it is considered a sin!
What an impossible standard!
 





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#7
We would sin until we die, for sure.

Even a desire to do evil which no one else would know it is considered a sin!
What an impossible standard!
Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord
. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin
.
 





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#8
What about the "fallen away" Christians?

The author of 500questions at Wordpress (whose articles I posted here) is a (formerly, he never goes to the church again.) Pentacostal who has experienced "being slain in the spirit" and are capable to speak in tongues (until today! Even after he quitted Christianity!).

But, in the end, he fell away from the faith.

Does it prove the falsehood of eternal security (OSAS) doctrine?
 





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#9
"Growing in Christ" is also the matter of reviewing & correcting your own doctrines.

I was growing up in Reformed church, but after realizing that biblical Jewish feasts and Sabbath were replaced because of "the dirty politics" of ancient Roman authority under Constantine the Great.

For 1700 years, Christians around the globe have been following this unoriginal antisemitic false teaching.
The funny thing is, God allows that. :D
 





Camidria

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#10
We would all do very well in remembering that we were all made differently and in an ideal world we would accept and tolerate one another's faults, giving each person a chance to have their place in the body of Christ. The church isn't a physical building, we the people are the church. The physical church is supposed to be a place where we worship God and help other members to grow in their faith. Our personal life away from the physical building should be life of prayer and filling up with God's Word.

Imo there are a few stages in growing in your faith. As a new believer God may choose to correct false doctrines or some other sin that is really holding you back. But as we are all very different in our thinking what God chooses to correct differs from person to person. Hence we end up having little tolerance with one another which actually hinders other's growth!!!

After this initial period when you are stronger in your faith you learn to surrender everything to God, your finances, time, family, needs - depending on who you are this can take a long time!

The point is people struggle with different things and we should give each other time and space to grow!!

This is easily done when you ask the Lord to give you compassion for people and ask Him that you will see others through His eyes. Then we might all come to a place where we will be more effective in helping people grow!
 





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#12
We would all do very well in remembering that we were all made differently and in an ideal world we would accept and tolerate one another's faults, giving each person a chance to have their place in the body of Christ. The church isn't a physical building, we the people are the church. The physical church is supposed to be a place where we worship God and help other members to grow in their faith. Our personal life away from the physical building should be life of prayer and filling up with God's Word.

Imo there are a few stages in growing in your faith. As a new believer God may choose to correct false doctrines or some other sin that is really holding you back. But as we are all very different in our thinking what God chooses to correct differs from person to person. Hence we end up having little tolerance with one another which actually hinders other's growth!!!

After this initial period when you are stronger in your faith you learn to surrender everything to God, your finances, time, family, needs - depending on who you are this can take a long time!

The point is people struggle with different things and we should give each other time and space to grow!!

This is easily done when you ask the Lord to give you compassion for people and ask Him that you will see others through His eyes. Then we might all come to a place where we will be more effective in helping people grow!
Even very mature Christians can clash with each other because they see the same issue from a very different angle.
Sometimes they are both right *according to the bible* too.

Case-in-point:
Two pastors involved in different areas of online Christian apologetics have clashed over use of alcohol by Christians. One pastor is looking through the lens of "grace", the other is looking through the lens of "holiness".

They both love God. They both want to look after their church members. It is confusing for non-believers and young Christians how this is possible for such mature Christians to be in public disagreement with each other.

Even they are works-in-progress. We all are, from the moment we are born-again until the day we die.
 





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#13
"Surrender everything to God" - Ignorance is a bliss, right?

Oh, yeah. It is!
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the ***beginning*** of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Mere human intelligence does not automatically lead to knowledge and wisdom. Some of the saddest stories of history are of intelligent men using that gift from God for evil purposes.

Learning how to think God's way was extremely challenging for me when I returned to God in 2006. I had filled my mind with the world's evil.

Repentance isn't merely saying sorry to God for sinning. It is not the negative seeking to pay penance for sins I was taught in Roman Catholic school either.

Repentance is turning away from sin AND turning to God. Another term is METANOIA - a change of mind. Seeing things God's way. Seeking to please God now, not self.
It isn't a once-off event. I like this explanation. http://www.metanoiaministries.org/Walking.html

Each day we have to choose to serve God. When we slip and fall, all we have to do is turn back to God and ask His help and forgiveness. He is not like us - He has unlimited forgiveness.

When a baby learning to walk stumbles and falls, does a parent tell him off for not being strong enough, tell him to get up by himself, or does the parent help and encourage him and if necessary bandage his wounds? But even if a human parent may fail us this way, our Heavenly Father never will.

For people who think they are too sinful for God:

 





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#14
What about the "fallen away" Christians?

The author of 500questions at Wordpress (whose articles I posted here) is a (formerly, he never goes to the church again.) Pentacostal who has experienced "being slain in the spirit" and are capable to speak in tongues (until today! Even after he quitted Christianity!).

But, in the end, he fell away from the faith.

Does it prove the falsehood of eternal security (OSAS) doctrine?
No, but it does show why this verse is important:
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye yet not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_corinthians/13-5.htm
 





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#15
@Mr. Blah
The "fallen away Christians" are never out of God's reach. Remember John 10:27-28?
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

We are His now, as Christians, and He keeps us in His flock-even when we (think) we leave it. Where can we go that God is not there also?
Here is the Parable of the Lost Sheep from Luke15:3-7
3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,

4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.


 





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Camidria

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#17
Case-in-point:
Two pastors involved in different areas of online Christian apologetics have clashed over use of alcohol by Christians. One pastor is looking through the lens of "grace", the other is looking through the lens of "holiness".
Here is something wonderful I learned about our Christian walk regarding Grace and Holiness that I want to add, we can either go into a moralistic lifestyle where we try so hard to live up to God's Holiness that we fall into self-effort and make religion and morals our focus. Or we can fall into such an awareness of our sin that we continuously feel guilt, shame, fear and despair and believe the lies of satan that we are not good enough and that God's grace isn't good enough.
cross-chart-with-border.jpg
It is when we truly understand the Cross and what Jesus did for us that we begin to live a victorious life having a balance in that His Grace is enough but also being humble enough to realise we are all still sinners being sanctified! Here is an example of being sanctified:
cross-chart  sanctification.jpg

Therefore as God deals with our sinful nature, we repent and become more and more like Him in character.
 





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#18
Great thread, @Camidria!

I've mentioned this before, in a thread a can't remember. The day i got baptised, i thought i'd never sin again! It was a funny, but serious, thought. But like @The Zone said, that is the easiest part, after that, the real work begins. After going through these responses, i reflected on my walk, and i think i noticed growth like 7yrs after my baptism, inotherwords, i was ready for solid food. Baptism has been compared to a wedding: one pledges loyalty/fidelity to God as long as life shall last. "Baptism is a most solemn renunciation of the world. Self is by profession dead to a life of sin. The waters cover the candidate, and in the presence of the whole heavenly universe the mutual pledge is made. In the name of the Father,the Son, and the Holy Spirit, man is laid in his watery grave, buried with Christ in baptism, and raised from the water to live the new
life of loyalty to God".

Obviously, after the wedding, the real work begins; the honey-moon phase, where one is so excited about their new faith, followed by the 'routine-years' where many of us stumble and fall by the way-side, infidelity creeps in, and the Christian walk becomes more of a "job than a joy".

As i have found, there is power in the cross. Christ said; I, when Iam lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. Contemplating the cross shows one how revolting sin is, and thus is an incentive to walk away from rebellion. And that is why, i say to myself, that there is no valid reason for me to perish eternally. Why should i ? Because then, Christ's blood will have been spilled in vain, in regard to me. Unfortunately, for every soul that will perish, Christ's blood was spilled in vain, because intended results never yielded. At least that's how i see it. Why can't i be fair to God, after all His efforts?

Iam content in my walk with God, not all perfect, alot of growing is needed and iam thankful He has brought me this far! If Enoch walked 300yrs with God, i have hope that i will go the distance.
 





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#20
Here is something wonderful I learned about our Christian walk regarding Grace and Holiness that I want to add, we can either go into a moralistic lifestyle where we try so hard to live up to God's Holiness that we fall into self-effort and make religion and morals our focus. Or we can fall into such an awareness of our sin that we continuously feel guilt, shame, fear and despair and believe the lies of satan that we are not good enough and that God's grace isn't good enough.
View attachment 611
It is when we truly understand the Cross and what Jesus did for us that we begin to live a victorious life having a balance in that His Grace is enough but also being humble enough to realise we are all still sinners being sanctified! Here is an example of being sanctified:
View attachment 612

Therefore as God deals with our sinful nature, we repent and become more and more like Him in character.
There is also another issue. The fancy name is licentiousness. An abuse of God's grace to justify or minimise sin.




upload_2017-6-12_7-25-56.jpeg





To explain further why the two apologists' ministries have led to different emphases - and in my opinion too "one size fits all" :

One seeks to expose modern false 'Christian" teachers/ leaders in serious error described clearly in https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jude&version=KJV
He has had to deal with a few Christians in name only people in congregation too, including drug addicts and ex-alcoholics who have lapsed when with other Christians who had no personal problems with alcohol and unthinkingly used it in their presence. We have responsibilities as well as freedom in Christ.

The other seeks to defend Christianity - one thing that Christianity has that other religions do not is GRACE. He has explained he grew up with legalism and outward righteousness in his church. He works a great deal in evangelism of non-Christians, including Muslims and Roman Catholics.

Having been in both extremes myself, I know that it is very hard for Christians to keep in the middle of the very narrow and winding road.
Imagine a narrow path up a steep mountain, steep drops either side - one side legalism, the other licentiousness. When the strong winds of temptation and difficult circumstances occur we need to walk even more closely with God to remain safely in the middle.
 





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