Spiritual Child level
Now that you have been a Christian for a while, you likely have the basics down. You are focused on glorifying Jesus, growing in grace, growing with other believers, pursuing holiness and telling others about Jesus. That is a great start. Now what do you do?
First, life is about abiding in Jesus. He is the vine and Christians are the branches. Those Christians who abide in Jesus will bear fruit. Those who do not abide in Jesus will not bear fruit and the fruit they bear will have no life, in fact, they will shrivel up and what they have is only good for burning up. John wrote,
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will1 ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:1-11 NKJ)
There is too much in the above passage to cover it all, but there are four essential things. First, God will prune fruit-bearing branches (Jn. 15:2). As you abide in Jesus, that is trust Him for every step, God will lift you off the ground so your fruit can be beneficial to others. The phrase “He takes away” refers to the vinedresser who lifts the vine off the ground and puts it on the trellis, so that it can produce fruit that will hang rather than sit on the ground. And as you bear fruit, He will remove things in your life, so that you can bear more fruit. He always knows what is best. Secondly, you will produce fruit when you abide in Him (Jn. 15:4). If you ignore Jesus, or forget for a week to spend time with Him in the Word, you will dry up and shrivel. Thirdly, as you abide in Jesus, He will transform your desires to be His desires (Jn. 15:7). Therefore, when you ask for something, it will be what He wants also. That is when life gets exciting! And fourthly, there is a joy that comes from the Lord that remains in you (Jn. 15:11). We all want to enjoy life and true joy comes from what He wants to give. That joy that He gives will overflow. It overflows, because it is a river flowing from within, which Jesus calls the Holy Spirit (Jn. 7:37-39). In fact, that is the next important factor of life.
Secondly, life is about fruit-bearing. At salvation, you made a decision to trust in Jesus Christ. That certainly glorified the Lord. However, it was something you wanted to do in order to be a child of God and you knew that faith in Jesus Christ was necessary in order to get into heaven. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9 the principle of faith for salvation. Then in Ephesians 2:10, Paul wrote that good works, which are bearing fruit, were designed by God for every Christian to honor the Lord Jesus Christ,
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:8-10 NKJ)
Fruit-bearing, or good works, is a result of abiding in Jesus.
Thirdly, life is about the filling of the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18 NKJ) Instead of being controlled or influenced by alcohol or ANYTHING else in life, be controlled by the Spirit. That requires confession of all known sins and dependence on the Holy Spirit for living. The Holy Spirit is the One who empowers for living. Without the Holy Spirit, Christians will have temper tantrums, meltdowns and feelings of despair. Life is hard enough with the Holy Spirit’s control. Without His control, it is impossible to avoid sin and not bring disgrace to the name of the Lord.
Fourthly, life is about dealing with selfishness and spiritual growth. You will struggle with selfishness for the rest of your life, but you can overcome it by the filling of the Holy Spirit. When you do sin from selfishness, pride, or lack of godly actions, confess your sins to God. John wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jn. 1:9 NKJ) God is faithful and just to forgive and to cleanse from ALL sins, even from sins we have not yet learned are sins. True repentance will be seen in your life (2 Cor. 7:11). God gives great grace to grow and learn how merciful He is.
Fifthly, life is about assembling with growing believers. Paul wrote, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:22 NKJ) God never meant you to handle life alone. He provided the family of God, the body of Christ, to help you grow. Go to church and get together with other believers! They are your tangible hands and feet of Jesus to love, receive comfort and share God’s love with the world.
Sixthly, life is about sharing your faith with others. Before you merely told others what happened to you. Now that you have been walking as a Christian for many months or years, you are ready to share what you believe. Get with someone to help you explain the good news, or what many people call “the gospel.”
Chew on these principles. Put them into practice. Talk to others about them to see if you understand them and if you are living according to them. Ask others to help you to live them in life. Keep pressing ahead to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.