PRACTICAL STEPS IN BECOMING A CHRISTIAN
This is a follow up to my post of 20th January 2013 entitled “How Do I Become a Christian?”
If you haven’t seen that post, please read it first, since it puts this post in context.
You probably want to change things about your life and your behaviour and so far have got nowhere. That’s actually a good place to be, since only Jesus can change you deep down where it matters, and from the inside out.
He knows your heart attitude, so you can’t fool him! But the good thing is, he’s ready and waiting to do for you what you can’t do for yourself.
The easiest way is to take time out one day and pour you heart out to him in prayer, just simply talking to him in your mind, or out loud if you prefer. Tell Jesus how you feel, what you need, and how you now realise that He’s the only one who can change things.
Coming to Jesus in prayer and asking for forgiveness of your sins and surrender of your life to Jesus is how you become a Christian.
Jesus wants all of you, not just a part. He wants to be the most important person in your life. This is an act of your will – to choose this course of action. God never forces us to do anything, that’s why he gave us free will.
Once you’ve settled that in your mind, the next step is this. Ask Jesus to forgive all the sins you ever committed. All sin is primarily against God. He’s the one you hurt the most when you sinned. Even though you did things to other people, God’s the one who’s been most hurt by your actions.
Through his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, Jesus paid the price for all your sins. All sin has to be paid for, for justice to be done. Instead of paying for your own sins, Jesus did it for you, in advance. How amazing is that? But you have to ask for and receive that forgiveness for yourself. You don’t become a Christian based on any good deeds that you did in the past. They count for nothing. It’s Jesus’ perfect goodness – and what he did for you – that counts towards your journey into heaven, not anything you ever did. In fact, the Bible likens your best deeds to filthy rags, in God’s eyes.
The ideal way to approach Jesus to forgive you is this way. Take time out and make a list of things you’ve done that you know to be wrong. Don’t rush it – take your time. For example, list lies you’ve told, people you’ve wronged or hated, folk you’ve deceived, things you’ve stolen. Pour your heart out to Jesus and ask him in prayer to help you write the list.
When you’re done making the list, talk to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you everything on your list, plus all the sins you’ve forgotten about. There’s nothing you’ve done that Jesus can’t forgive. Then after your prayer of confession to him, thank him that he now HAS forgiven you all these things. Jesus has promised to come and live with us when we choose to surrender our life to him and so he will come and live in your spirit by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us to live a life that honours Jesus and he gives us the strength to live for him, in the face of opposition or other problems we have.
Once you’ve written your list, this is the kind of prayer you could use, as an example:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that you came from Heaven to Earth to reconcile me to God the Father, and that you did this because you love me. I thank you that when you died on the cross and rose again from the dead, you paid the penalty price for my sin. These are the list of sins I am able to remember…………(your list). Please forgive me of all these. Please also forgive me the many sins I committed but have since forgotten about. I realise you are the only one who is able to forgive me these sins, for only you were good enough to pay the price for them. I offer myself to you as a living sacrifice, so please use my life for your glory and honour. I place my trust in you for the future. Please help me to live for you, and give me the strength I need to live my life for you for the rest of my days. Thank you for hearing and answering this prayer. I am weak and need your strength, so please fill me with your Holy Spirit power now. Amen”
Once you have done this, you have become a follower of Jesus and are a Christian. You can then destroy the list of your sins that you wrote, because they have now all been forgiven by Jesus and forgotten about by him.
In my next post, I’ll set out the way forward in your life as a new Christian.