My son was recently converted and baptized, and I felt to bring a few thoughts about the basics of Christian life for a new convert. We can compare maintaining our Christian life to the maintenance we perform on our vehicles, mowers, equipment, houses, etc. In order for them to run properly, we must take good care of them. There are also some basic steps we can take that will help us live a successful Christian life.
Toward the end of 1 Thessalonians 5, the Apostle Paul makes a list of short summarizing statements that I like to refer to as capsule sermons. They were one-line encouragements for the Christians at Thessalonica, but they apply so well to the Christian walk in our day and age. Read through verses 15-26 and notice the wisdom that Paul is relaying to the believers. He says a lot in a few words.
I wrote down a list of basics for Christian living, and it is in no way all-inclusive. These are simple encouragements that came to my mind as I was thinking of my own son starting down the Christian road. Often Messenger articles get kind of “deep” for young people, so I’m endeavoring to keep this writing concise and simple so those who are young and new to the Christian walk can understand and apply these thoughts to their particular situation.
1. Read your Bible and pray every day. Pray for your own specific needs. If we are honest with ourselves, we know somewhat where our weaknesses lie. If we’re especially tended toward being selfish, being critical, not being kind, or whatever, pray about it (1 Thess. 5:17).
2. Keep current on making confessions and making your wrongs right. Clear things up right away. If you said or did something the night before and the Lord is speaking to you about it, simply get in touch with those involved and make things right. Yes, it takes humility. But it’s worth it. Carrying those things until revival time is a miserable way to live (James 5:16).
3. Pray immediately when you’ve grieved the Holy Spirit. When we do wrong, the Holy Spirit gently pricks us, and we know it. Ask God for forgiveness right away, and ask Him what else you need to do. This one often ties closely together with number 2 (Eph. 4:30).
4. When an impure thought comes into your mind, don’t dwell on it. Get it out of your mind and think about something else. This takes self-discipline and determination, but it is possible. What we allow ourselves to think about seems to be what we eventually become (Phil. 4:8).
5. Find someone you can confide in and share with them when you feel the need to open up (which should be every now and then). Whether it’s your dad, your minister, or another older brother (or their wives if you’re a sister), find someone who’s solid in the faith and who you know will maintain confidentiality. The Lord doesn’t intend for us to keep things bottled up inside. That’s why we have our brethren. We need each other to help us.
6. Train yourself early in life not to get offended. There are those who spend years and years of their lives offended over what is possibly a very small injustice against them. Learn early in life to give those hurt feelings, which we all experience from time to time, to God. I have found for myself that when someone does or says something that hurts me, the best thing to do is immediately kneel down and pray for that particular person. It’s quite difficult to be offended at someone for whom you have just prayed. Being offended is a miserable way to live (Ps. 119:165; Acts 24:16).
7. Be careful about the reading material you allow yourself. Don’t read something that you know will not be good for your Christian life. There are still lots of fine books out there that we can enjoy. Remember that what we feed on is, in a sense, what we become.
8. Don’t be afraid to stand for the right. Every Christian will be called upon to do this from time to time. Think of all the heroes of the Bible who had to stand for the truth. Joseph, Daniel (and his three friends), Joshua and Caleb, Stephen—just to name a few. You could come up with many more. Use them and their steadfastness as examples for you in your life.
Of course, this is only a very short list hitting some of the high points. You may want to add your own inspirations to the list. Take courage and press on. The Lord intends for the Christian life we live here on earth to be one of joy, contentment, and fulfillment. May each of us avail ourselves of the unlimited supply that God is offering us (Phil. 4:19).
From Messenger of Truth, Your Minister Speaks, No. 10, May 16, 2012