Closing the Gap
So, I accepted Jesus, now what?
When you become a believer there is a gap between the world and Christ. I have always known Christ. I knew He was a higher power and when you were really strapped and your back was against the wall it wouldn’t hurt to send a little prayer of “fix it Jesus” to help you. I didn’t realize that He was so much more. His grace, mercy, love, predetermination, protections, guidance, motivation, power, glory and fulfillment; still that doesn’t even describe the character of who God truly is there is so much more.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry, witchcraft; hatred, discord jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like I warn you, as I did before that those who live like this will no inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 4:19-21
Getting rid of worldly views
I was raised and taught of a condemning God who was jealous and vengeful. A God with such high standards of how to live that, we as sinners will never achieve them. I gave up and took the easy road and found comfortable discomfort in the world. Where the standard was so low that it was easy to excel and achieve. That is how we do it in the world, “dog eat dog”, “every man for himself,” “one up” the next person, turn off their light so yours can shine brighter. Honestly at the end of the day there is no fulfillment in living like that. There is no dollar, house, car, or anything that can replace happiness, joy and unconditional love.
Then one day, back against the wall I came to God again to “fix it Jesus” but this time it was different. I wasn’t coming from that flawed mentality that I had of “what can Jesus do for me?” Again, limiting His power and my own faith tremendously. I was coming from a broken person who had achieve worldly success, figured out a way to earn cash fast but still wanting something more.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the rule of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:1-5
What is a “New Believer”?
Then I accepted Jesus as my Savior, what did that mean? I accepted that Jesus had adopted me as His daughter and gave me the privilege of inheriting His kingdom. That took me a lot to accept, you mean “I am in the will just for being me? And being grateful for Jesus for sacrificing His life for me, (like enduring grueling pain, ridicule, torture, being nailed to a cross and left to die, for me?) How can you not be grateful and thankful? I know some are but I guess since I am on the other side of that fence I find it really hard to understand at this point. Yet, to think that I once was there and I don’t know if I didn’t accept it because it seemed unfathomable or I didn’t accept it because I felt undeserving but either way it happened and I am thankful because I don’t know anyone who would take that bullet for me or bear that cross. With that same mentality of “who would do that for me?” I tried to navigate this faith journey all by myself. At least I tried to at first.
In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will- to the praise of His glorious grace, when he has freely given us in the One he loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. Ephesians 1:5-7
Initially I was going it “alone” I was going to do and say all the right things because I was a Christian by name only but my heart wasn’t truly convicted yet, I don’t know if it was a lack of understanding of what it truly meant or an inaccurate definition but needless to say it was flawed. It was missing the most essential component and that was God’s direction.
The Lord makes firms the steps of the one who delights in him though he may stumble he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand. Psalms 37:23-24
Doing things alone is a bad idea
Seeking to conquer my journey the only way I knew how, alone, by myself and forging ahead all on my own. Again, flawed and hindsight is 20/20, right? Looking back I was clearly in a transitional phase into where I wanted to be and where I am today. Going it alone made me realize that A) I don’t have the stamina, training or knowledge to do it myself and B) that is not what this “Christian” thing is about, we are meant to lean on God. I truly wish that my Church had a mentorship program for new Christians, I know they exist but I haven’t been privy to that. So, I accepted Jesus as my Savior got baptized and then was set free to roam. Thank God for His grace and love because once I realize I need to lean on Him and seek His guidance it became clear my path. When we go it alone we fail miserably and through my failure it introduced me to God. It gave me the yearning to have an active daily ongoing relationship in my life. He led me to the people that I needed to continue me on the path to maturity in Christ.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
How did I figure it out?
What was the path? Who were the people? The answer: Christ and His believers and I found them in the unlikeliest of places. I pray every day for God to surround me with Christian people who love me unconditionally and support me. Who can help me grow and get to know Him better? Through this prayer I have found people who have taught me how to study the Bible. I have found the Bible, the ultimate Study Guide, Instruction Manual, devotional. I was reading books, devotionals, online studies and they are all great supplements to God’s word but the power of His word is indescribable. I am so much closer, dependent and strengthened through my relationship with Christ.
4 Ways to Close the Gap
So, I accepted Jesus now what?
- Praise Him every day-no matter good or bad. If something good happens-praise Him and celebrate; If something bad happens-praise Him and grow.
- Come to Him in prayer-It’s the best and easiest way to reach Him at any time, use it!
- Trust in His Word-God cannot lie and His word is infallible
- Rejoice always and give thanks always– for all that He does and let Him do the rest.
It doesn’t matter how big the gap is as long as I seek Him, he will close it. What have you done to build a relationship with Christ?