7 Steps to a New Beginning
January 2, 2015
Categories: Billy Graham
If we don’t know who we are, we’ll never know how we ought to live.
God’s promise is true: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). If you have given your life to Christ, you are a new creation − whether you feel like it or not.
What does this mean? What really happens to us when we believe in Christ? Let me list seven gifts God gives you when you commit your life to Christ.
The first thing that happens when we give our lives to Christ is that God gives us a new relationship.
Once we were separated from God because of our sins − and not just separated, but alienated from Him. The Bible Says we were “excluded … , without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
Yes, the first thing that happened when you committed your life to Christ is that God gave you a new relationship. He is now your loving heavenly Father, and you are now His child, spiritually reborn into His family.
The second thing God gives you when you commit your life to Christ is a new citizenship. You are still a citizen of a particular country − but now you are also a citizen of the kingdom of God.
As long as we are on this earth, we possess dual citizenship. On one hand we owe allegiance to our nation and are called to be good citizens. But we are also citizens of the kingdom of God, that invisible kingdom of which Christ is the head. Our supreme loyalty is to Him, and if someone demands we do wrong, “we must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29). And someday, the Bible tells us, this world’s kingdoms will become “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
Not only does God give a new relationship with Himself and make us citizens of His kingdom, but He also gives us a new family − the family of God. You aren’t just related to God; you are now related to other believers. Everyone who truly believes in Jesus Christ is now your spiritual brother or sister.
This is one reason why you are never alone if you know Christ. You are part of God’s family, with brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and want to help you, if you will let them.
Some people are very focused, using all their energies to reach their goals. Others drift through life with little purpose or direction, living for the moment and never thinking about where they are headed. Most people probably live somewhere in between. But they all have this in common: They are living only for themselves and their own happiness.
But when we come to Christ, God gives us a new purpose. Now we want to live for Christ and not just ourselves.
One of the Bible’s most comforting truths is that when we come to Christ, God Himself comes to live within us by His Holy Spirit.
When you come to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live within you.
God has given us a new purpose − but without a new power we’ll never be able to achieve it.
Jesus promised, “you will receive the power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). We weren’t meant to live the christian life in our own strength. God has provided His Spirit to help us.
The word “conversion” means “change” − and the most radical change of all when we come to Christ is that God gives is a new destiny. Once we were headed for hell; now we are headed for heaven. Once we were bound for eternal separation from God; now we live with Him forever. Once we had no hope of eternal life; now we do. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death. but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
In the midst of life’s problems and heartaches, never forget: This life is temporary. One day all our burdens will be cast aside, and we will be with Christ forever. Before us is a new destiny when we belong to Him.
Remember: When we come to Christ, God gives us a whole new life: a new relationship, a new relationship, a new citizenship, a new family, a new purpose, a new power, a new destiny. Don’t ever take lightly what Christ did for you on the cross − and don’t ever take lightly what God has given you if you have turned to Christ in repentance and faith.
But this isn’t the end of His bounty, for God also gives us one final gift: a new journey − a whole new path to follow until the day He takes us to heaven.
In other words, your decision for Christ isn’t an end but a beginning − the beginning of a whole new life. We aren’t only called to become Christians; we are also called to be Christians. The Christian life is a new journey – one that will take us the rest of our lives.
(from The Journey by Billy Graham, 2006, Thomas Nelson)