Dear New Creation in Christ,
What joy was in my heart last night when I heard your news…you now belong to Christ, a new creation. I remember the day I became a Christian, although the exact date escapes my memory. Everything looked different, new. As if I were finally awake, for the very first time.
Here’s my first piece of advice: Write down that date. It’s your re-birth day, and it deserves to be celebrated every year with joy.
You’ll need a Bible, my friend. Maybe you’ve picked one up at some point in your life, read a little, and wondered what the big deal was. But here’s the thing…this is more than a book. When people say that the Word of God is alive and active, one of the things they mean is that every time you read a passage of the Bible God is speaking to you in a personal, real way. You will soon find that you can read the same passage over again on a different day, and it will speak to you in an entirely different way than it did the last time you read it. The stories and instruction you will find there not only bless you and instruct you in your life today, they also tie your life into The Story of God’s plan. Picture your life as a beautiful, colorful thread. Because you belong to God’s family, the thread of your life is now woven in with all these lives from the very beginning of His-story, from “In the beginning, God created…” to “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen,“ and everything in between, and everything forever beyond. This is your book now, your story. This is who you are, in the most powerful context of who He is. Consume it when you feel hungry, empty, alone or broken. Also consume it when everything is going great and you feel like you don’t need it…because that’s when you probably need it the most.
You should probably start with the book of John, read it through and read the verses from other parts of the Bible that are referenced there. You’ll get to know Jesus in this book, who He is and how He interacts with people…the proud and the broken alike. Then, start with the book of Matthew and read the whole New Testament. You’ll get an even broader view of who Christ is and what his life, death and resurrection mean not just to you, but to the whole world. Finally, start at the very beginning of the Bible and read it all the way through. You’ll see Jesus in every book of the Bible. From the very beginning, God’s plan for our salvation has been written out in history for all time and all people.
You’ll also want to pray. You’re in a relationship with someone here, and you’ll find that the God of the Universe is very good listener. You’ll find that He communicates with you in unexpected ways, and that the more you talk to Him the easier it will be for you to hear Him. You may at first feel that it is silly to pray about all the little things, all the little things. But life is made up of all the little things, and God is above the constraints of time. You can’t waste God’s time with your prayers, so go ahead and talk to Him. Ask Him for world peace or ask Him for a parking space…just talk to Him. Give Him a chance to show you how He’s listening, how He hears and understands. Let Him amaze you with His response. Cry out to Him, rail against Him if you need to, ask Him “why.” Look around, and see the way Autumn has gilded the edges of an oak leaf with scarlet and gold, how the clouds hug the top of the mountain, how the sun warms your shoulders. Thank Him for that.
Maybe you are feeling a little overwhelmed by all of this, by all there is to learn and know. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know everything there is to know about the Bible, you don’t have to have a degree in theology, you don’t have to be able to debate apologetics to be a good Christian. In fact, Those who best represent Christ are the ones who are still humbled by the breadth and length and height and depth of the nature of God. (click to tweet) I don’t mean this in a “religion is a mystical experience” sort of way. What I mean is, we weren’t created to “get it” all here in this life. If we suddenly could fully grasp the awesome power of God, the nature of the trinity, the staggering eternal and personal ramifications of the reality of God-become-man, our weak little human brains would be so overcome by the bigness of the whole thing–the terrible beauty of it– that we would be completely and entirely overcome. Now we see as in a mirror dimly, one day we will see face to face…until that day, it is enough to let His strength carry us and trust that He will reveal Himself to us in a way that will best suit our individual needs and serve His good plan, in His perfect time.
Your destination has changed, friend. Completely and forever changed. One day, one glorious day, you’ll be in paradise with the God who knows you, the God who loves you, the God who sought you and pursued you and didn’t let you go until you turned and caught a glimpse of His glory. His profound desire has been for you to belong to Him, so much so that He was willing to die to bring that about. The God of the universe knows you inside and out, and still believed that you were worth dying for. Never forget that, whatever life throws at you…you are perfectly loved by a perfect God, covered by His grace, and set apart for His glory.
Rejoicing with you,
A fellow servant of Christ