There are many who have prayed a prayer to receive Jesus Christ but have seen few changes in their lives. Some, when challenged by believers have gone so far as to recant it all saying, “I’ve done all that, (i.e., I’ve prayed the prayer) but nothing happened.” The problem may lie in false expectations. We expect instantaneous results. We expect that everything will change instantaneously. Indeed Paul tells us that we are new creations and that all things are new (2 Corinthians 5:17). If this is so (and it is) why do I not feel any different and why haven’t my circumstances changed? The fact is, if I sincerely received Jesus into my heart, I am different inside, but the habits I have learned and practiced all my life, what the Bible calls my “flesh”, are still with me. The point is, while I now am in Christ, I need to grow in Him if I am to receive the fullness of what He has for me. So how can I grow in Christ?
Read God’s Word. 1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: Read the Bible. Establish a time and place to do so, daily. Old habits will not fade away unless we know God’s heart. We will not know God’s heart unless we read His Word. Let me suggest, begin in the Gospels. Take small chunks at a time. Ask what God is saying to me in each passage. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of someone you know who has understanding of the Gospel and demonstrates the love of Christ in his/her life.
Pray. Along with reading God’s Word the Bible, pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing. Praying is simply talking to God. It is telling Him how you feel. It is telling Him what you need but it is more than that. It is expressing your concerns and giving them over to Him. It is knowing He will answer.
Don’t depend on feelings alone. There are indeed times for excitement in the Christian life. Jesus brings us great joy. Jesus brings us salvation and forgiveness from all our sins. There is nothing better than that. There are times of rejoicing as we gather together as believers. However, we must remember that emotions are a part of our human condition and are affected by many factors. We may wake up some morning and not feel like a Christian. We may not feel saved. Doubts and fears may creep in. We must remember that God’s promises depend on Him and not our feelings. God is faithful and will do as He has promised.
Find and attend a Bible teaching church. Find a church where Jesus is honored and salvation from faith alone is taught. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25). We need to remember that we are not meant to go it alone. The assembly of true believers is a place where we can find support, encouragement and teaching. Find a church that teaches the Bible (not all do). Outward appearance is not the most important thing. Remember you need a church that will teach the whole counsel of God, challenging you to grow as a Christian, not giving simple platitudes just trying to make every one feel good.
Intend to change. Choose associations wisely. The book of Proverbs warns us concerning our associations. We cannot expect habits to change if we hang out with the same friends that supported our old lifestyle. This extends to our choices in entertainment as well. If we read the same books, watch the same movies and TV shows, and hang out in the same places, we cannot expect our circumstances to change. Choose to pursue to be around people that honor God. Choose to be around people that will support your choice to change from what you were.