Firstly, don’t be put off Jesus by Christians. Many of us are so woeful at imitating Jesus that we’ve soiled His reputation. Jesus has nothing to do with what so many do in His name, and one day, we’ll all answer to Him. We’ve all rebelled against the God who made us and the rest of the universe by choosing to live in disobedience to Him. Rather than let us suffer the consequences of rejecting Him, God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our disobedience, save us from the bondage of sin and evil, and make us His children forever. We either appropriate what Jesus has done by putting our faith in Him or face the consequences of rebelling against our Creator.
God knows and loves you just as you are. So you can come to Him just as you are because there’s nothing you can do to make Him love you less or more. However, each of us must choose either to follow Jesus or reject/ignore Him. Either decision has implications but if you choose to follow Jesus, you can only do it His way. Sadly, many Christians overlook this and give Christianity a bad name. Being a Christian means making Jesus alone your Lord and Master. You must completely surrender your life to Him and give up self-determination. This is a lifetime commitment, not a one-time decision. Therefore, you must be convicted of your reasons for following Jesus because those convictions will be tested by the circumstances of life. If you’re still willing to become a Christian, grab a Bible and follow along. Next, repent of your past wrongs and believe in Jesus [Act 16:31]. By doing so, you instantly become a beloved child of God [John 1:12].
There might be no visible fanfare, but I promise you, there’s a party in heaven because of your decision [Luke 15:7] since what has just happened is akin to a corpse coming to life. All the wrong you’ve committed before that point is forgiven and forgotten by God [Jeremiah 31:31-34]. As His child, you’re redeemed and crowned with His steadfast love [Psalm 103:4] and you become an heir with Jesus to His inheritance [Galatians 4:7]. You’re set free from the bondage of sin, shame and eternal death [John 8:36] and therefore, free to be who God intended you to be when He created you [Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13-17].
While you come to Jesus as you are, you can’t stay the same [1 Peter 1:16]. A conversion takes place because the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence inside you when you surrender your life to Jesus [1 John 4:4, Ephesians 1:13-14]. The Holy Spirit changes you into who Jesus wants you to be [Psalm 23:3]. Nevertheless, make every effort to get to know Jesus so that you recognise His voice in your life [John 10:1-5]. So, get yourself a Bible. The Bible explains who Jesus is and tells us how to live as His followers [2 Timothy 3:16-17]. The Holy Spirit will help you understand the Bible as you study it but you’ll also need more mature Christians to help you. You can’t outsource studying the Bible for yourself because you’re to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Moreover, when you stand before Him to give an account of your life, it will be a personal, not a corporate affair [Revelation 20:11-15]. Then, you’re to apply what you learn in your life and live by it [James 1:22, Matthew 4:4].
While your redemption is a priceless gift [Ephesians 2:8], holding onto it will require effort. Jesus saved you for a purpose [Titus 2:11-14] and you’re to work out your salvation with fear and trembling as the Holy Spirit works within you to fulfil that purpose [Philippians 2:12-13]. This will be challenging because when you declare for Jesus, you make the devil and the world your enemies and they will relentlessly try to trip you up. So, you must make that decision afresh to follow Jesus daily [Matthew 16:24] and say “no” to the devil and your desires for self-determination [1 John 2:16-17].
As a child of God, you’re also a member of the Church, also called the Body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:27]. As a member of the Church, you need to understand your role in that Body. Because fulfilling your role is vital for the proper working of the Church [Ephesians 4:16]. When the Holy Spirit came into your life, He endowed you with a gift [1 Peter 4:10-11]. So, you literally have a spiritual gift which is to be used for the common good of the Church [1 Corinthians 12:7]. This means there’s no such thing as a solitary Christian. You need to belong to a community and serve others with the gift(s) you’ve been given.
Consequently, find a local church that teaches sound doctrine and understands spiritual gifts. As you study your Bible, the Holy Spirit will help you discern between true and false teachings in a church, so be watchful and discerning [Jude 1:3-14]. Additionally, being a Christian isn’t just about attending a church service. You’re to grow up in your faith [1 Peter 2:2] and your life should display the fruits of your faith [Mark 4:1-20]. Therefore, find godly individuals who will help you on your journey to becoming more like Jesus and make yourself accountable to them. Form deep and meaningful relationships where you can be open and vulnerable so that as the Bible puts it, iron can sharpen iron [Proverbs 27:17].
You can start enjoying heaven from earth because the abundant life Jesus promises is available to us right now [John 10:10]. However, we can only experience that life if we follow Jesus and do what He says. Those who do this, experience hope, peace and joy the circumstances of life cannot steal. They are truly free to live life to the full forever.