Growing In Christ When You Are A New Christian

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#41
I feel like I should be spending more time reading and growing and less on YouTube at the moment! Sometimes it is so easy for me to shift focus and have my vision captured by Korea, hurricanes, politics and eclipses and taken away from the here and now of my family and friends!

The number of times I have ended up going back to square one! I am so glad that God is merciful to me...

I need to make more time simply in God's word with my ears open. Good call @floss
 





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#42
Young and not-so-young Christians will still struggle with some personal issues after we are saved.
1. Some things God in His mercy will take from us immediately.
2. Some we things we might struggle with for a long time until gradually we win the battle against self.
3. Some things God will permit us to struggle with until either Jesus comes again or until the day we die.

One of those things in the second/ third group is mental illness. It is a painful and often lonely road.

Who do we turn to help when health professionals and counsellors have done all they can, our condition is stabilised but never cured, the inner spiritual pain is constant and unrelenting?

1. We need to turn to the Great Physician for our spiritual care.
2. We need to seek caring Christians for a helping hand, in person or online.
3. We need to seek out helpful and inspirational material from other sufferers to remind ourselves we are NOT alone, we are not unique in our form of personal suffering.

A good testimony from a pastor who has multiple mental health issues: https://brokenbelievers.com/mental-hospital/
 





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#45
I found when I was a new Christian with a new worldview, I understood I needed to learn about the spiritual world as well. I fell into serious errors because I was not aware of Satan's (many) devices.

I read spiritual warfare books which focus on Satan and personal experiences way more than what the bible says. I got scared and saw demons behind everything. I should have been seeking to grow in the Lord as my source of strength instead, growing in knowledge of bible's direct teachings on them instead of modern writings.

I also blamed Satan and family curses for personal willful sin instead of my own sinful flesh. I looked for excuses instead of fleeing from personal temptations. Doing everything but the most obvious solution - flee from source of sin - was the actual reason for my first serious backsliding.

I tried to fight sin my way, keep the cake AND eat it. There is a reason why God gives direct commandments, He is a loving father. However me the rebellious child, always the rebelling teenager looked for loopholes and I created imaginary ones. I got badly burned and scarred as a result.

So newer Christians learn from my example:
Trust God's word for wisdom in everything, including spiritual warfare. He is the source of true spiritual power, not human knowledge
Trust God and OBEY Him when he says "no". Don't kid yourself because it isn't specifically named as sin in the bible, or create loopholes it therefore isn't sin. Illegal activities are sinful unless commanded in the bible e.g. preaching, defending faith to non-believers. Avoid appearance of sin as well as actual sin.

Avoid easily obvious potential sources of sin too. Look at the foolish man in https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+7&version=KJV. If he had not been there in the dark place he would not have met that woman.
 





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#46
Perhaps i will share my own struggles, maybe it will help to somebody, I am baby Christian after all, 5-6 years, honestly don't know, im happy i can remember my own birthday...I am maximalist in everything i do, so after born again experience, i thought thats it, now im going to change everything in my life. I wrote strict schedule for myself lol. Hours for reading bible, hours for praying, hours for reading other useful stuff, also i made a list of goals im going to achieve in nearest future step by step. I was ambitious to say the least, also very naive. You don't go through life victorious without any bumps, i didn't thought about that. Also i forgot most important thing, i was relaying on myself to do everything, i just accepted Jesus as my saviour, and already forgot about him. Needles to say all my plans failed. Riiight, one wilful sin and im uneasy, another and i don't pray anymore because im ashamed to speak with Him 3rd, 4rth and after few months i was right where i started. First few years it was like that, i fall, i gather myself and i start a fight again. I lost my naivety, and i was aware i clearly missing something, feeling of guilt was like a shadow, loyal companion, always with me. While i always used excuse, that i had it worst before becoming christian, so it's harder for me than for others, because i was to far gone to wrong direction. But excuses are just that...excuses, they don't help. So once after my usual backsliding i had enough, i was pissed beyond any limits. And with tears in my eyes i was screaming with angry voice at Jesus, that I need His help, i can't , i don't understand, and and don't know how and what to do. i said you know im not going to give up so you better help me, i said even judge helped widow because she was persistent. Good things happen when you pray using bible verses, even better things happens then you pray and want something from all your heart. In fact i think it's the only way to pray. if your getting casual with your prayers you will not be heard. So next morning i "accidentally" bumped into article which explained how satan uses our feeling of guilt to separate us form Jesus. It's human logic i did something bad and im feeling bad about it, and satan will make sure you won't forget it, you will be constantly reminded how bad you are. Unconscious mind carefully suggest that you aren't worthy of love, you don't deserve it. Lies lies lies. As soon as you bring your faults to Jesus feet you will feel better, you will find no condemnation in His presence. But if you avoid Him because you feeling guilty it will result in bunch new sins and finally you will still come to Him, only period which you lived in sin will be longer. Time is precious resource. So i got it, now after i did something wrong i didn't waste time with excuses,self pity, shame. I swallowed it and repented asap. When you reduce time you are living in sin, you can actually do something productive, and move forward. So it took me two years to actually make a first change towards person God's want's me to be. I did learn few things in the process, so it wasn't completely wasted years.
I wanted to write a post about my struggles but now i see i could write a book about it not a post. Maybe i will continue later, people usually don't like walls of text.
 





Camidria

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#48
Wow @Vytas! Thank you for sharing, your experience is such wonderful example of how God sanctifies us and how we learn by taking His hand and through a relationship with Him to live less and less in sin and more in righteousness!

I believe to truly come to place where we do not sin, we need to learn bit by bit and be pruned by the Lord in this way. I say this because many people here do not understand this, they expect us through our own effort to be holy without this crucial journey with the Lord.
 





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#49
In the Age of the Internet, we Christians are at such an unfair advantage with instant access to free Christian literature as well as bibles. However learning how to differentiate between decent biblical writings and opinions of men/ false teachings is vital.

All important rule of thumb: if contradicts bible, automatically false teaching. Discard. Bible outranks people's writings, speeches and experiences ALWAYS.
Treat writings etc which add or omit bible teachings to suit writers' etc agenda with great caution. Some may be from source's spiritual immaturity, look for more spiritually mature sources. Some may be from treating 21st century problems/ viewpoints not named in bible, look for underlying themes to identify issues being addressed.
E.g. Obviously English keywords like New Age and New World Order not used, use reading comprehension.

Learning how to distinguish between good and evil RE Christian teachings will only increase with biblical knowledge.

That being said, I am aware some Christians realise that they do NOT have that gift or understanding of assessing information sources. If you don't have that strength try to find Christians in your circle who do, and/ or find very good Christian libraries or sermon sources which show they love the bible (and put on favourites list).

P.S. I just finished a good, short and easy-to-read book on 7 deadly sins and defeating those lies: "Why do I do what I don't want to do?". Free access to Openlibrary, just need to provide email address to access books.
It is a secular library source so "buyer beware". Christian, atheist and alternative faiths' writings available.
 





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#51
Thanks for reminding me of this thread.One major mistake I made when I was a new Christian was due to my immature understanding of the word "love". From a combination of my upbringing and Catholic education I believed the commandment to "love your neighbour as yourself" meant trust, forgive and accept unconditionally as well.

I permitted dangerous people and people who were rejected by others *for good reasons* too close to me. I ended up in a destructive relationship with a man who to (exceptionally naive) me sounded like a real Christian, so I should accept him like a good Christian girl should, even though I saw most people steered clear of him. I was extremely emotionally abused etc.

My story is given as a warning to learn how the bible views love. God's love is pure, holy, unsentimental. See https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+13:4-7&version=KJV
Loving your neighbour does not give you permission to sin or for them to abuse you in the process either.
 





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#52
I remember when I was a young Christian how "in love" I felt with God. I wanted to be with Him, worship, pray, read the bible.....
but where it came to obeying commandments I disliked I found loopholes to disobey what God clearly commanded.

There is one commandment my flesh battled against continually - Honour your parents. Exodus 20:12 At first it wasn't open rebellion but as I became an older teenager it did. According to the wisdom of the world I was justified in "being assertive" with one in particular, as they had been abusive since I was very young. Deep down in my heart I despised them both - one for the abuse, one for not defending me enough. I did not accept correction with humility. Inwardly I raged until it manifested itself in real life, and then I bore the fruits of that sin.

Q: What has this got to do with being a young Christian, especially those who do not have parents any more?
A: 1 Samuel 15:23, Romans 13:1-7

Rebellion towards people in authority in your life will affect your relationship with your Heavenly Father, whether you are 5 or 95. If you can't even submit to people you can see, then you will not submit to God when He corrects you/ brings difficulties in your life. You will be the one who backslides /turns away from God at the drop of a hat. You will be one of the seeds which fell on stony ground. Mark 4:1-9

Some commandments are very difficult to follow, especially if personal reasons/ history are involved some way. Examine yourself - how much are you determined to obey God? How genuine is your faith... really? John 15:1-14