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ESSENTIAL HINTS

As you begin this exciting journey of life as a born again Christian, there are vital facts which you should have at your finger tips to facilitate your growth and establishment in the Lord. You will find them useful every day of your Christian life, so never forget them.

(1) YOU HAVE BEGUN A RACE
Becoming born again is the beginning of a life -long race that ends in heaven. It is great to be born again but to successfully finish the race is far greater. Gaining admission into the university, for instance, is a thing to be happy about but completing the chosen course of study and graduating is far more important. Again when a married woman seeking a child eventually takes in, it is often a thing of great joy but a far greater joy will be hers when she delivers safely and sees her baby face to face.
The end is more important than the beginning. The importance attached to the beginning of anything derives from the anticipated end. In the same way, when someone repents and turns over his life to the Lord Jesus Christ, he is saved but that salvation will only be confirmed if he completes the race successfully. Hence the Lord said: 'He that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved' (Mat.24:13).
Guess what happens to those who do not keep their faith to the end.
There are some people who stop at the point of giving their lives to Christ. Further attempts to follow them up and help them grow is regarded as 'disturbance' which they resent. Giving your life to Christ is the beginning of the race. You can't stop there. You must always remember that your goal is to make heaven. All other benefits associated with being born again are secondary. Heaven is the prize.

(2) YOUR SERIOUSNESS WITH GOD IS KEY
Of all that may be told you of how to grow and become established in your new found faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, this is the most important. All other things pertaining to growth in grace depend on  it. You've got to make up your mind to be serious with the decision you have made to live the rest of your life for Christ. This attitude of seriousness and commitment towards God is the secret of wholesome growth and deep rooted faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
On the other hand, half-hearted commitment, lukewarmness, indifference and double mindedness are terrible spiritual diseases that stifle growth in grace and eventually rob the soul of salvation if not quickly dealt with.

You must have a personal commitment and determination to grow and become mature in the things of God. You should desire to become a strong Christian - rich in the knowledge of God's word, fervent in prayers and an effective witness for Christ. Without your seriousness, there is little that can be done to help you to grow. For instance, you may be taught all there is to know about prayer, but except you are serious enough to  set time apart and get down to pray, your prayer life may remain weak.

This seriousness will be manifested in the readiness with which you receive God's word and obey it,(Acts 17:11; 1 Peter 2:2). It will show in your attitude to church attendance, fellowshiping with other brethren and getting involved in your local church.
Even after being a Christian for a long while, you should always check up on your seriousness with God from time to time. Once you discover it has waned, you must sit up and call yourself to order because it is a danger signal.

(3) YOU ARE KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD
The devil delights in frightening young Christians (especially), that they will never be able to make it to heaven. There are many people who are held bound by this fear. Some even refuse to get born again for the fear that they might backslide thereafter. Then there are those who come into this race with this fear at the back of their minds and before you know it, they are out. And the next thing they say is, 'I knew I couldn't make it, I merely gave myself a try - its so difficult'
This reminds me of my first year in the college. I got my admission letter very late and by the time I got to school, much academic work had been done so I was far behind the class.

Wanting to catch up as quickly as possible, I attacked all my subjects with equal seriousness and determination. I soon found out that many of my colleagues dreaded  French having been told by our seniors that French was a very difficult subject. But because of my peculiar situation, I had no time for 'fables'- I just wanted to catch up. After a few weeks, I was surprised at my discovery. Of all my subjects, French turned out to be the easiest. In a little while, I was leading the class in French. I was scoring my highest marks in the very subject in which majority in the class scored their poorest. What was the secret? It was the difference in attitude. Unlike most of them, I did not start with fear - that I might never pass the subject.     

The truth is that Christians are kept by the power of God    (1 Peter 1:5). Just as you did not get saved by your own power, so you cannot also make it by your own power. God never asked us to live for Him by our human strength. He says, 'Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit smith the Lord of hosts' (Zech.4:6).
Also Jude 24 says that God is able to keep us from falling.

So don't let the devil lie to you. Don't ever entertain any of those devil-inspired fears. There are millions who have gone this way before and made it and even now, there are millions who are on their way to making it. Some of them may be having more   shortcomings than you do. It is the power of God that keeps us and He will keep you. Even if you make mistakes and stumble or fall, He will lift you up and uphold you because   'underneath are His everlasting arms'  (Deut.33:27).           
This however does not in any way undermine the need for seriousness and diligence in our walk with God. No matter how weak you are, if you will sincerely yield yourself to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, His power will be available to keep you all the way.

(4)  IT IS  NOT BY FEELINGS
The fact that salvation is not based on feelings but rather on the unfailing word of God, bears repetition.
This is because the temptation is always there to measure your salvation by your feelings. Sometimes you will feel saved and some other times you will feel you are not. This is why some people answer altar call (for salvation) up to three times or more before they agree that they are saved. But that is not necessary. Feelings are erratic, they can change any moment. There will be times when you will feel that God is by your side, when prayer will be easier and more interesting. There will also be times when the exact opposite is the case. Whatever your feelings, the word of God remains the same. God is as present with you when you feel His closeness as He is when you feel that He is far away. And each time you get down to pray, God hears your prayer whether you feel it or not.

There are times you might wake up in the morning and it will appear (from the way you feel) that God has left you but this is not so because He says - 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee' (Heb.13:5). When God says 'never', He means never.    
In 2 Cor.5:7, the Bible says 'we walk by faith not by sight'. Sight and feelings are in the same category (they belong to the five senses of the natural man ). Others are taste, smell and hearing). Thus this scripture is also saying 'We walk by  faith not by feelings'  

(5) DEALING WITH GUILT
One thing the enemy will try to do is to hold you with guilt. He will remind you of your past life and seek to haunt you with guilt concerning those very things which God has now forgiven you. He will whisper into your mind that God couldn't have forgiven you that easily and that you are deceiving yourself. The Bible calls him the accuser of the brethren (Rev.12:10). He wants to find fault with everything you do and accuse you even when you've done nothing wrong. He knows that if he can hold you bound with guilt, then he can rob you of your joy, peace  and boldness in Christ and so shut your mouth from testifying about your salvation. Therefore do not allow him.

Because you are now in Christ Jesus, there is no more condemnation for you - (Rom. 8:1). God's forgiveness covers everything. All your mistakes, errors and blunders are forgiven and forgotten. The bible says, '..old things are passed away and all things are become new'.
Not only does God forgive sins, He also forgets them. He keeps no records of sins forgiven. So when the enemy comes around with his accusations and guilt, tell him that he is a liar. Stand by what God has said and do not succumb to the lies of the enemy. Once you confess any sin and repent of it, God forgives you. You don't have to feel forgiven, just believe God's word.
You may feel like going to ask for God's forgiveness again and again concerning the same error or sin but that is not necessary. The very first time you truly repent and ask for God's forgiveness, He forgives you. You have to accept this forgiveness by faith and walk in liberty thereafter.


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