So you are a new believer. Great. You have made the most important and wisest decision of your life. but then, what happens now? What happens to your lifestyle, your friends, your habits and way of life? What do you let go, what do you adopt and how do you do that?Now that we are in Christ, it is imperative that we do not go on living like we used to. You cannot be in Christ and behave exactly as you used to before you came to Christ. Christ has set us free from that old lifestyle so that we can now live a new life which will bring new rewards and blessings into our life. Your maturity and growth in Christ is not seen by how many hours you pray or how thick your tongues are. It is seen in the cultivation of a godly character.
The Apostle Paul knew new believers will struggle with this question so he gives some guidelines in the book of Galatians. (Galatians 5)
Paul mentions in the previous verses (19- 34) certain actions that a believer must do away with. These include:
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (vs. 19- 21).
So how do we move from this previous lifestyle and what fruits should we bear in our new life as Christians? (vs. 16). Here are three points to help you adopt and grow in your new life as a christian.
- Walk by the Spirit: We have the greatest blessing of the Holy Spirit living in us and helping us to live a life that pleases God. With the help of the Holy Spirit, you can overcome every addiction, every harmful or sinful habit and begin to live a life that pleases God. So Paul admonishes us ‘walk by the Spirit and you will not satisfy the desires of the flesh’. We walk by the Spirit by cultivating a daily habit of Bible reading/ bible study and prayer. If you want to overcome sin, start by spending time with the Holy Spirit every day. The more filled you are with the Spirit, the easier it is to overcome sin and temptation. Commit every sin you are struggling with to the Holy Spirit and ask for His divine help to overcome them
- Crucify the Flesh: The use of the word ‘crucify’ is to tell us that this process is going to be excruciating and painful. Bad habits do not vanish miraculously. Yes, people have testimonies of miraculously losing the desire for smoking or drugs etc but even after that, they have to battle with the flesh and decide to never go back to that habit again. You have to crucify the flesh in your effort to overcome sin and live for Christ. You have to make a conscious decision to stay away from the things that tempt you and say no to sinful attractions.
(Image Credit: <a href=”http://www.freestock.com/free-photos/unposed-group-creative-business-people-open-391074796″>Image used under license from Freestock.com</a>)
- Remain in Fellowship (vs 26): 26 ‘ Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.’ Remaining in fellowship with other believers will keep you from sin and help you to walk in a way that pleases God. This is the purpose of the church. You should, therefore, watch yourself and not allow any anger, provocation, envy or jealousy to take you away from the church. As church members, we should also support one another and help the weak among us to adopt the character of Christ Jesus. Let us put off the attitude of gossiping about other believers, envying and unnecessary quarrels with one another so that we can grow together in unity and love.
There are greater rewards and blessings as we grow in maturity and move into a deeper relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Let us not be content to dwell in the shallow places, let us purify ourselves from our old way of life so we can move deeper into God. God bless you