Stages: How do I explain to friends what is happening?

When a person trusts in Jesus Christ, there are many things that happen.  There are no emotional experiences that necessarily happen.  There are no physical experiences and changes that necessarily happen.  And there are no required experiences that necessarily happen.  However, there are spiritual changes that happen, which will change a person emotionally, physically and in life, over time.

When a baby is born, he experiences womb to the world changes in his environment and relationship with others.  Certainly changes begin to develop slowly as he orients to nursing, sleeping and living in the “atmosphere” and being coddled by his parents. All actions are oriented to helping baby adjust to the new life.  Over time baby becomes a child and learns bodily functions, how to feed himself and that there are other people besides himself.

There are also many things that happen at spiritual rebirth, and slowly a new Christian develops through spiritual stages of spiritual infancy, spiritual childhood, spiritual young adult and spiritual parenthood.  Here are six things that happen when you become a new Christian.

First, you have a new life in Jesus. While you may not look any different, you are transformed from being dead spiritually to being alive as a new creation. Paul wrote, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Eph. 2:1 NKJ) And Paul also wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17 NKJ) Tell others you have a new life in Jesus Christ!  It may be hard to tell physically, there was a rebirth, but we believe it because a new motivation develops.

Secondly, you have a new motivation. When you learn about the love God demonstrated when He sent Jesus to die on the cross, you gain a huge appreciation for Him.  That motivates you to want to please God and to love others with God’s love. Let others hear and see your motivation to love the Lord by obedience and love others by service. Paul wrote,

9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died. (2 Cor. 5:9-10, 14 NKJ)

The person who is genuinely in love with Jesus Christ, cannot help but want to please Him and serve others. Part of that appreciation comes from the reality of our deliverance.

Thirdly, you have been delivered from condemnation. Before salvation, you were under the judgment of condemnation. You were on death row. Salvation is receiving a pardon.  After salvation, that condemnation has been removed and will never be imposed again. Paul wrote, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1 NKJ)  That is something to rejoice about!

 Fourthly, you want to give thanks. Can you imagine what it would be like to be on death row and then released? Can you imagine if someone else volunteered to take your place in the electric chair or at the end of a rope? How would feel toward that person? You would be very grateful!  In fact you would look at everything in life a little differently. You would realize you had nothing before, but now everything you have and do is because of some person who took your place.  You would be thankful for every breath, every sunrise, every meal, every new friend and even every difficulty, because you know that is part of life, because of sin. Paul wrote, “…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes. 5:18 NKJ) As you give thanks to the Lord, you also are ready to share with others.

Fifthly, you are ready to give an account of the hope within you.  You consider that you have something others do not have, so you are ready to explain to others of your deep hope in the Lord. You are so thankful that you want others to have it also. Peter wrote, “But sanctify the Lord Godin your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (1 Pet. 3:15 NKJ) It may take a while to learn how to share your faith effectively, but you are motivated to learn and then share with others, knowing some may not understand.

Sixthly, others will often not understand your new spiritual life. If many friends are non-believers, they will not understand what happened to you.  Paul wrote,

9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the HolySpirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1Co 2:9-14 NKJ)

No one can argue with your testimony. They can only reject it.  All God wants you to do is love Him and love others, especially by telling them about what has happened in your life.

How do you explain to friends what is happening?  Just tell them what you see God doing and share a few of these biblical principles.  They may not understand, but that is God’s responsibility, not yours.  Have fun and enjoy your new life in Jesus Christ.

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