So far, we have looked at what Christ has done for us and what Christ is doing in you. Now, let’s look at what you can do in Christ.
- Notice I didn’t say, “for Christ.” There is nothing we can do for Christ apart from the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, don’t try to do for Him, but rather allow the Holy Spirit to tell you what it is that Jesus wants you to do (knowledge). If you do not want to do whatever it is that He asks you to do, pray for His desires to replace your desires in your heart (desire; see #2 of “What Christ Is Doing”). Then ask Him to empower you to do His will (power). This process is how you do things in Christ.
- Learn all you can about Him. Now that you are His child, He wants to show you “great and mighty things which you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3).” He will guide you as you seek Him. Look at this passage, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7).” We are His children and He makes life an adventure. He gives us only what we are ready to receive and teaches us only what we are able to absorb. Yes, the destination is important, but so is the journey. Walk with Him; trust Him; lean on Him. The rest of this passage gives us a picture of the heart of God, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” He is a Father, though, and He will give you only what is good for you—most of the time. Occasionally, He will give me something that I think I want and I pester Him until He does. Boy, am I ever sorry! Once I get it, I figure out really quick that I didn’t want it after all. Then I’m back in His presence begging Him to take it away! I’ve learned to simply trust God to give me what I need when I need it. You can, too. Start right now trusting Him for everything. You can do it!
- Talk to Him often. Trust comes through experience and intimacy. The more time you spend in His presence talking with Him and loving Him, the more you will trust Him with your life. But trust is a two–way street. As you show Jesus how much you trust Him, He will entrust to you with more and more of His ministry on earth. Also, the more you trust, the easier it becomes. One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Philippians 4:4-7. It says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends [surpasses] all understanding, will guard [garrison, as in an army surrounding] your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Make a daily practice of giving your life over to Him. Dead people don’t have lives. Christ lives through us (Gal. 2:20). Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23).” Ordinarily what happens is we get tangled up in some sort of sin that makes us avoid spending time with the Lord. He knows it and we know it, but we’re either too stubborn to admit we’ve done wrong, or we feel too guilty to face Him. The apostle John (one who physically walked with Christ) wrote about what Christians should do when they sin,“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purity us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives (1 John 1:9-10).” The word “confess” means that we agree with God about something that He already knows. If we insist that we have not sinned when the Holy Spirit is telling us we did, we make Him out to be a liar. This is not good! Instead, submit to Christ. He will forgive and will help you to turn from your sin. Here is a stern warning regarding a stubborn heart, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years say what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways (Hebrews 3:7-10).” The Israelites refused to do things God’s way. They were stubborn. They didn’t believe God had their best interests in mind. He does! Trust Him. The more you do, the more you will find Him trustworthy.
- Choices: The “Put off/Put on” method is one that you will love and hate.
1) 1 Cor. 13:11 _____________________________________
2) Rom. 13:12 _____________________________________
3) Gal. 3:27 _____________________________________
4) Eph. 4:22-24 _____________________________________
5) 2 Cor. 5:17 _____________________________________
6) Rom. 12:1-2 _____________________________________
7) Eph. 6:11 _____________________________________
8) Col. 3:5 _____________________________________
9) Gal. 2:20 _____________________________________
10) Col. 3:7-10 _____________________________________
Note: Gal. 3:28 and Col. 3:11 both deal with equality in the context of choice
6. Get connected. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day [of Christ’s return] approaching (Hebrews 10:25).” I cannot begin to tell you how important it is that you become actively involved in a local church. The fellowship, the teaching, the accountability, and the worship are all ultra-important to a new Christian—to any Christian!