After getting saved and turning away from the world, the realities of the new life will soon settle in on the convert. The enemy will try to overwhelm the new Christian with questions, doubts, and fears. There are keys of truth that, when used and followed, will help the young convert to stay faithful and grow in the things of God.
You Are Not Alone
There are biblical truths, practical principles, and guidelines that are vital to the success of the new Christian. Salvation is a wonderful experience, but as with any good thing, there is effort and work required to maintain the new life in Christ. God did not leave us unequipped, but there are things that all Christians must do to preserve and grow their relationship with God. The newly saved are not called to a life of holiness without help from God. If you will avail yourself of these keys of wisdom that have long been used by children of God, your future is bright, and you will be able to live a blessed life in Christ. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7).
Keep Your Purpose and Decision
The same heart and desire that drew the sinner to Christ to be saved must be fixed with a purpose to follow Jesus. The world will try to draw the convert back, and past temptations often will pull on the flesh. It is a vital key for success to daily “seek those things which are above” and to “set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). Salvation is divine, but the Christian must make a conscious decision: “I will not go back to the world.” Paul reminded the converts at Corinth of their original purpose: “For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter”
(2 Corinthians 7: 11). This carefulness of purpose will fortify Christians in the face of opposition and temptation.
Stand in Faith, Not Feelings
After praying for salvation, the sun will set, another day will begin, and the feelings and euphoria of conviction are often not felt as strongly. Many converts question whether they were even saved when the feelings fade. A key to use at this time is the key of faith, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Good feelings are wonderful, but salvation is not about feelings. Feelings come and go, but the gift of God is sure. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Trust in the merits of Christ’s shed blood on your behalf, and trust not in your feelings or works. Despite doubt and feelings, there is “no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). When the devil contests your salvation, it is a good time to ask yourself: “Have I gone back to sin? Do I still want to serve the Lord?” If you are free from sin and still want to serve the Lord, rejoice in the gift of God and send the devil and his accusations on their way.
Get to Know Jesus
The Christian life should not be defined by rules and regulations but rather by a relationship with God. Christians often struggle within themselves to try to be more like Christ, yet keep coming short. This effort would be better spent on drawing closer to God. Jesus said in John 15:4-5: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” As we draw closer to Jesus, we become more like Him. We bear fruit not because of our willpower but because we are connected in a relationship with Christ. That relationship is not based on fear but upon loving God with all our hearts.
Walk Daily To Please God
As children loving our Father, we will seek to please Him and obey Him. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). A key to victory is walking daily to please God. This means living holy and pure because it is the will of the Father. When questions arise of what to do, follow the apostle Paul’s advice: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). When we do things that are not to the glory of God, our experience with God will begin to erode.
Use the Key of Grace
God has provided His children with a wonderful key to use in times of trouble, temptation, and trial. It is the key of grace. It is God’s favor and help to us when we are so undeserving of His mercy and power. Peter taught us to “grow in grace” (2 Peter 3:18). Seek God’s help and grow in His favor. When we struggle, it is not time to distance ourselves from God. It is time to be vulnerable and “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Do not be discouraged when you feel weak and incapable. God’s “grace is sufficient for thee”
(2 Corinthians 12:9), and His strength will be manifested in your weakness if you trust in Him. What a blessing to have this resource of grace that never runs dry.
As long as we are on this earth, we will have temptations. No experience of salvation will ever remove all pressures and influences of sin and the flesh. However, we need not yield to those temptations. It is important to make decisions to minimize the temptations of life. Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Not only should we pray and be aware of our temptations, but we also should flee them. We should never flirt with temptation, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). Distance yourself from people and influences that open the door to temptations in your life. Choose to live carefully, and God’s grace will enable you to withstand temptation. If you get careless and make willful provisions to sin, you will find God’s grace does not work, for it is null and void by decision.
Maintain a Clear Conscience
When someone first gets saved, they should make restitution to those they have wronged, as exemplified by Zacchaeus in Luke 19:8-9. However, Christians should exercise themselves daily like Paul, who lived to keep his life clear with God and with people. “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men”
(Acts 24:16). When mistakes are made and you fall short of the fulness of the fruit of the Spirit, be quick to humble your heart and acknowledge your need. This promotes spiritual growth as you maintain a clear testimony.
Study the Bible
It is fundamental for spiritual growth to read the Bible daily. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). How can we know how to please the Lord if we do not spend time reading His words to us? The Bible is God’s Word and was given “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). There are many voices in the religious world, and it is important to study the very source of truth and to meditate upon it. As David said in Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Talk to God
Prayer is one of the most important keys to spiritual blessings and success. How often should we pray? “Pray without ceasing”
(1 Thessalonians 5:17). Set aside a specific time to pray to your Heavenly Father. Pray first thing in the morning before facing the trials of life. Pray before you go to sleep at night and have an attitude and heart of communion with the Lord at all times. God is our friend, burden bearer, help, comforter, and guide. Open your heart and have open communication with God. God is interested and gives us the privilege of prayer. “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). When a Christian’s spiritual experience gets weak and stale, you will often find the prayer life is lacking.
Fellowship Other Believers
Spiritual isolation has sounded the death knell on many a child of God. Fellowship with other saints is important, and it is imperative that converts find a place to fellowship where truth is being taught and lived. It would be better to live in an undesirable place and to make less money on a job but be in fellowship with the saints every week than to be isolated and become overcome by the influences of the world. This has happened to many people and young couples. Instruction was given on this very point in Hebrews 10:25. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” How important is your soul? Do not neglect service and worship with God’s people.
Share Your Testimony
Another key to spiritual victory is sharing your testimony of salvation with others. The saints of old overcame the devil “by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12:11). When we share our personal experience with others, it not only is a witness to the world, but it also fortifies our faith and helps combat the accusations of the enemy. It strengthens us spiritually. We need never be “ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). As we share with others what God has done for us personally, we also help fulfill the commission of Christ to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15).
Work for God
God did not save us to sit down and wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus. There is work to do in the kingdom of God for us all. People have backslidden because they became lazy and did not get busy working for the Lord. We were “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). While people of the world are laying up treasures on earth, children of God should “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). We are stronger spiritually when we occupy our minds and time working for the Lord. Paul said to be “zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12). Minister unto and serve other people, and you will be strengthened in your own spiritual experience. If you want to see a Christian who is weak and in danger, look for the one who is living selfishly to themselves and not working for the kingdom of God.
A song says, “Mighty to save, mighty to keep.” The initial work of salvation is wonderful, but it is almost a greater miracle to stay saved and faithful to the Lord. Apply your heart to wisdom and use the above keys effectively, and you will enjoy the blessings of growth and victory in Christ Jesus. ■