This is the third part of my testimony as a Christian. See the two previous posts to see how I became a Christian.
My Growth Process
As a new Christian, beyond believing and trying to live the core faith and Biblical principles, I was clueless. I had only read the parts of the Bible we applied in the small group or the weekend message. I did read the gospels to the extent that I figured out that they overlap each other. I still had certain questions and doubts. For one thing, evolution still made the most sense to me in the creation of living things. I thought it might have been designed by God. It took time and research to feel confident about the answer.
I probably thought my old personality flaws would fade. I would throw open the curtains to one of many rainy days and thank God for all the rain. I would not get irritated with the driver who cut me off in traffic. I would love my most challenging co-workers. I would never complain. I thought the joy, peace, and love I find with Jesus would effortlessly spill out into my behavior. Hah!
The reality is that we don’t change overnight. Whatever character or behavior flaws or thought patterns we had before we become Christians are still there. As an immature Christian, we work to defeat the sinful ways, which are based on self-centeredness, being unloving to others, or making God a last priority.
Before I had a personal relationship with God, I complained and whined when things didn’t go my way. It was not uncommon for curse words to leave my lips. To a moderate degree, I was sarcastic (just ask my husband), critical, and judgmental. I remember having a generally positive attitude, but these unpleasant tendencies would rear their ugly heads often enough.
The ungodly shortcomings of new Christians do not magically go away. Those who are not new Christians can still be immature in their faith. There is an intentional process of overcoming them, and each day can be a struggle with our old selves. We must listen to the Holy Spirit within us to help us be more like Christ, which is the goal of an authentic Christian.
Pray. Study the Bible and do what it says. Understand that God knows what is best for us. Put God first. Trust God, no matter what challenges we face. Connect with other believers in a meaningful way. Share Christ with those who are far from God. Serve. These things are needed for a Christian’s spiritual growth.
I began to mature slowly, encouraged by the friends I made in the group. Studies like “40 Days of Purpose” and “Friendship with God” were significant.
Melissa became a leader for a mixed group in another host home, so I had to find another one. My church (Metro) has about 60 different groups.
Six years ago, I joined the ladies with whom I meet nearly every week. Three years ago, I became an assistant leader. We have each grown closer to God and deepened our faith while growing closer to each other as friends. God works through people. At group, we pray, encourage each other, discuss the application of Scripture to life, hold each other accountable, and generally do life together.
I should mention that not everything is ‘rainbows and sunshine’. I’ve had a few bumps in the road that tested my faith. Struggles help us grow stronger.
Sometimes I can barely sing in church as His love overwhelms my feelings and tears form in my eyes.
Growing closer to God is quite a journey. Like other Christians, it’s one that will never end until we are each in His presence after our lives on this earth are done.
I know this post was somewhat lengthy. I’ll eventually move some form of it into the About page. I do not plan to make other posts this long.
If you have a relationship with God, please share your experience in the comments, or if you are one of my Facebook friends, use the Notes section to share with all your friends (and let me know).
If you are not a person of faith, please consider accepting Christ into your life. Everyone has a God-shaped hole in their hearts, whether they’re aware of it or not.
My next post, later today, will be another summary from the book of John.