“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Our sin separates us from God, but because of God’s great love for us He sent His son, Jesus, the treasure and glory of Heaven, to die in our place and atone for our sins. His death on the Cross and His resurrection three days later gives us eternal life and brings us into a right relationship with God. It goes on to say in Ephesians 2:4-10,
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We cannot save ourselves. We need Jesus. Our very life depends on Him both now and for eternity. By accepting Jesus, we enter into relationship with the Father and we begin to embark on a life-long journey to get to know who He is, who we are and what we are called to do. Accepting Jesus opens the door to an intimate relationship that we were made for. Much like all relationships, intimacy takes time, intentionality and quality time.
So you’ve made the most important decision of your life. You accepted Jesus, now what?
Here are some Next Steps to help you begin your relationship with God:
1.) Purchase a bible | Begin to study God’s word
The bible is the Word of God. We get to know who God is through His word.
What version should I choose?
I recommend the ESV, NIV or The Message version. You will want to get a bible that is easy to read and understand.
Where do I begin reading?
The bible is one book made up of two sections: The Old Testament (Before Jesus came) and the New Testament (The life, death and resurrection of Jesus). I recommend starting in the New Testament reading the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) to get to know who Jesus is and what He has done. The gospels are four different accounts or perspectives of what life was like walking with Jesus. I like the book of John; it is probably the easiest to understand. The book of Matthew is the most historical, the book of Mark is the most action and the book of Luke is the most detailed.
There are also bibles that come with a bible reading plan as well as online tools and apps that can help. I know it can seem daunting, but take it one day at a time, one verse at a time. The bible is God’s story and we’re a part of it. God is so kind to give us His Word to help us to get to know Him, discover who we are and how we should live.
2.) Prayer | Conversations with Jesus
God is a relational Creator. We were created for a relationship with God. Relationships require communication. Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden. If you’ve accepted Jesus, you have opened a door to God’s living room. You have full access to Him and can talk to Him at any time. You are His child and He loves you and He wants to speak to you. Begin speaking to God and listening.
Prayer is for everyone, not just priests and church leaders. Prayer does not have to be formal. It’s a conversation with God. This may seem awkward at first, but gratitude is an easy start. Begin to thank the Lord for everything you have. You can bring your needs and concerns to Him. He loves you and it is His desire to bless you and help you. I would encourage not making your prayer time a laundry list of needs. Make sure you take time to listen to what God wants to say to you. This may take some time to hear and understand what God is saying to you, which is completely normal. Communication is a two-way street and it requires both speaking and listening.
3.) Plug in | Find a church community and begin serving
It is vital to a believer’s life to be in Christian community. We are not made to be isolated and independent. We are dependent on God for all things and we need each other for encouragement and support.
The bible says where two or more are gathered, He is in their midst. It also declares that two are better than one for if one falls the other will pick them up. In the Bible, we see that even Moses needed friends to lift up his hands so that he could win the battle. Sometimes we need our hands lifted and sometimes we are the lifter of hands for someone else. Church is family. God is our Father and we are all connected.
It is vital that we connect with God, but we also need to connect to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Visit churches, small groups and get connected. Serving is a great way to get connected and meet new people.
Christians are not perfect nor is the church. Do not seek out a perfect community or a perfect church, but seek God, the perfect one, and He will guide you to the right church family. They won’t be perfect and neither are you, but it doesn’t mean it’s not where you are supposed to be. We all need Jesus and without Him we can do nothing.