Four things they didn’t tell you about becoming a Christian!
When you start following Jesus, lots of things in your life start changing too.
Are you a new Christian? If so, congratulations! You’ve made a life-changing and life-saving decision to put your faith in the risen Lord Jesus, who sacrificed his life for you to bring you into a perfect relationship with God, the creator and sustainer of the universe.
But maybe you’re feeling like things aren’t quite as you expected. Becoming a Christian can be an emotional experience and maybe you weren’t quite prepared for some things.
Here are four of the things they didn’t tell you about becoming a Christian that you might be facing now… and how to deal with them!
You still face the earthly consequences for your sin
When you become a Christian, sin doesn't just go away. You no longer have to face the eternal consequences of your sin, but you will still have to face earthly ones. So for example, if you treat someone unfairly, you can know you're forgiven by God! But the person you hurt may not forgive you, and you will probably still experience feelings of guilt and regret.
But don’t forget – this is one of the ways God trains and disciplines us so we become more like Christ. Consequences can be tough, but at least you’ll be becoming more like Jesus as your sin is exposed and dealt with! And God promises His Spirit will be at work within you to help you change into the new person he wants you to be.
You get new types of friends
Before you were a Christian, you probably hung out with people who shared your interests and maybe went to your school! Now, you’ll meet people who you have absolutely nothing in common with, except that you’re both Christians, and if you join a church (which you should) you’ll be in regular contact with these people.
It can be challenging to expand your social circle to people you previously never would have considered as friends, but as a member of the body of Christ, you get to build up all the Christians around you, and to be built up by them! Opening yourself up to new and different people really is an exciting part of becoming part of God’s family.
You learn a whole new lingo
Unless you’ve been at a Christian school or had some exposure to church, you’ll probably find some of the language that Christians use super confusing. What’s “predestination”? What does it mean to “drink the blood of Jesus”? Aren’t evangelistic and evangelical the same thing????
Don’t stress – every new Christian faces a steep learning curve when it comes to language. But there are also going to be plenty of people around you at church and youth group who can help explain the confusing things you hear or read. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. No one will think you’re stupid! In fact, you’ll probably find everyone is just so excited you’ve put your faith in Jesus they’re climbing over each other to help you!
Prayer and Bible reading aren’t always easy
When you became a Christian, maybe you expected that you’d get a clear and instant line to God. Or perhaps you thought you’d be able to hear his voice in your head whenever you read the Bible or prayed.
That’s not normally the reality!
Prayer and Bible reading are some of the ways we communicate with God and he communicates with us, but the lines of communication don’t operate in the same way as human communication does. Sometimes prayer feels silly and Bible reading feels dry.
But stick with it! Cultivating a healthy prayer life means turning to God whatever the situation and however you feel, not waiting for the right vibes or a particularly “spiritual” worship session. Pray often and pray honestly, because God is listening and he answers our prayers. It will feel less silly after a while and when you see answered prayer you’ll be spurred on to pray more and feel more confident that God is listening.
When it comes to Bible reading, I recommend getting your hands on a good Bible study book or working with a Christian friend as you read through a gospel together. Sometimes reading the Bible can be confusing and you can feel like you have no idea what God is trying to teach you. But techniques and studies can really equip you with the tools you need to open God’s word and understand his message. Reading the Bible is a skill to learn and you’ll get better at it – I promise!
Don't forget the best thing
Whether you’ve been a Christian for a day or a decade, some of these things may still surprise you. But if you’re surprised (or even a little disappointed!) don’t forget the main thing – being a Christian is the best choice you could have made. You’re now in a life-saving relationship with the one true God and no matter what happens in your life, you’re headed to an eternity in paradise with him!