Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 1

During prayer Thursday morning, I was praying for a student that recently came to Christ, and was reflecting on what encouragement I would give her.  And I decided to turn it into a little series. As I am certainly not an expert on Christian discipleship, I would love your input as well.

Pt. 1:  The love of the Father.

This is where it all starts.  It has taken me about 20 years as a Christian to get this, but it didn’t have to.

Drill it into your head that you can’t earn it.  You really can’t make God love you more.  You can’t win his approval by praying more, or studying the bible more, or by sharing your faith more, etc.  Many of us old believers have spent years under the burden of counting our minutes of prayer and bible study, wondering if we have done enough.  To the new believer (and old), understand that you are not primarily a servant of God (John 15:15), but a son (or daughter) (Romans 8:15-16). So what?  Well, it changes everything!

Consider this analogy.  If you are merely a servant, and your master gives you a task, you are extremely concerned about how well you perform the task.  A master/servant relationship is one of performance—did you do what you were told, and and how well did you do it?  But how much different when we have a loving father.  Imagine a loving father with a two-year old daughter.  The father is sweeping the floor.  Like any two-year-old, you want to get a broom and do what your father is doing (John 5:19-20).  Now, is the loving father going to say to his precious little girl, “hey, you missed a spot!  And over here you actually made it worse!  You’re an idiot!”  Of course not, he is going to loving say, “sure, here’s a broom, let me teach you,” meanwhile he is the one going behind you and actually making sure the floor gets clean.  He is concerned about our heart, not the performance of the task.  And he draws joy from our desire to be with him and to please him.

Now, as we hang out with the father, will we get better at sweeping the floor (or whatever else we see Him doing and partner with Him to do)?  Of course, but that is not the main point.  The main point is to experience a loving unity with the Father.

So often our earthly parents couldn’t love us in all the ways we needed (who could?).  So we spend our early years trying to earn more love from them.  When they are not available, we try to earn the love and approval of others, which leads to pain and disappointment.  When we come to Christ, God says, “you can stop trying to earn it.  I already love you with a perfect love.  Enjoy my love and rest in it.”  And when we have our need for love and approval met in Him, oh, how wonderful a Father He is!  His love transforms us, and enables us to pour out his love to others, even if we don’t get it back.  As am imperfect disciple, I don’t walk in this love all the time, but it’s so good when I do!

Here is part 2!

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  1. Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 3 « In the Heights
  2. Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 4 « In the Heights
  3. Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 5 « In the Heights
  4. Advice to the new (or old) believer, pt. 2 « In the Heights

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