Wandering new Christian

Hello RZIM knights! My name is Sally and I’ve been living with God for about a year now, as a ‘conscious’ Christian. Before I felt God’s presence but never took much notice of him, save only to ask for help when I was in dire need.
As a ‘conscious’ Christian I’ve been reading the bible and listening to many speakers on God’s word. I’ve read some OS Guiness, C.S. Lewis and listened to all of you wonderful voices from Ravi’s gang. Nabil Kereshi was a great inspirational story for me. And, I’m sure like many, I came to God during a dark time. So my questions are:
How do I know I’m living the right way as a Christian?
Do I need to do more than pray/speak with God and live as a loving person to fulfill Gods word?
Do I need a church and is it a necessity? (I’ve been to one in my town where a friend attends and found it off-putting; Rock band singing rock songs, all in darkness, no windows, not a place I felt the Lord’s presence)
I feel His presence in my life but should I feel more?
Thank you for your help and love.
Sally.

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Welcome Sally to Connect! Thanks so much for posting these heart- felt words and questions. I am so excited for you to have found new life in Jesus! You have such an adventure ahead of you! I am really looking forward to hearing more of your story.

In answer to some of your questions, I believe that it is very important to belong to a church family where you will be able to live in community with other believers. The church is a precious gift that Jesus gives to us…a community to walk with us through the good times and the bad, and to hold us accountable as we hold others accountable in Him. It is also a place where we can serve and minister to the saints and a foundation from which we can step out in mission outside if the church.

There are many different churches and styles of corporate worship. If a dark atmosphere with rock bands is not your thing, that’s okay. There are many other types and styles of church.

May God grant you wisdom and bless you richly as you seek out a church home where you can worship in community!

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@Sally, Its so heartening to hear of your desire to grow in the Lord and do what’s right. I agree with all that @tpauls8 has shared. Belonging to a community of believers is so very important! I can share what I have learnt from my own Christian walk.

How do I know I’m living the right way as a Christian?
We dont have to make this very complicated. When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, he answered that all of the laws are summed up in this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself ( Matt 22). When we love someone, we desire to do what pleases them and their happiness becomes ours. It’s more so with the Lord as He has designed us to be most satisfied when we are in Him. The more we read and meditate on His word, we will know His heart behind the Word. I can’t overemphasize the importance of getting nourished spiritually from our heavenly Father’s Word especially as a new believer just as a mother’s milk is important for a nursing infant. The Word is the pure spiritual milk. We can trust God’s Spirit to guide us in reading His Word and will gain discernment on how to sort through the different commentaries. As the psalm says, word is a lamp unto our feet. A simple Bible with cross references is all we really need. We dont have to be sin-conscious but Son-conscious. If we feel we have blown it, not acted in love or in a way that honors Him, no need to beat ourselves over it but just repent, be thankful for forgiveness of sins and recommit to the Lord to walk in love toward Him and others (1 John 2:1). I read somewhere that it takes nothing on our part to come to Jesus but ALL of us to follow Him. It’s about giving up our self-reliance to a greater and greater degree in different areas of our life and conforming to Him. As we do this more and more, I think we realize in experience how worthy He is of our trust.

Do I need to do more than pray/speak with God and live as a loving person to fulfill Gods word?
Many a people measure our walk with the Lord with the number of activities we are involved in for the Lord. While those are ways our love for the Lord may manifest, it can be spiritually quite unsatisfying if we do it only out of a sense of duty as a Christian. What we may oversee is that fruitful life and spiritual health of a young believer may differ from that of a matured believer. It’s the difference between a healthy young plant and a healthy tree. We dont think of a young fruit bearing plant is not doing well if it doesn’t have fruit. True faith will produce works. ( James 2). If we see a need, and we have the ability and availability, we will naturally be drawn to do something out of love for His people as we seek to please our God. (Eph 6:7-8).

Do I need a church and is it a necessity?
Most certainly belonging to a body of believers is a necessity! The gospel is about corporate redemption not just individual redemption. A healthy church should be a glimpse of the final corporate redemption ( sometimes hard to find unfortunately). Each believer is only one brick in the temple of God with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. When God fills our heart with His grace and love, we dont feel good keeping it to ourselves. It is for sharing and for that we need others. In serving others, we practice being less self-focused and learn interdependence. One of the last prayers of Jesus in John 17 was for unity, only possible if many come together. As we come together in love without strife, each one exercising their gifts in harmony (Eph 4), God is pleased to dwell in our midst and the world shall know that we have a true God.

Col 2: 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Oh and about feelings…dont always trust them. Let truth be dictated by His Word not feelings. I pray that the Lord will bring right resources and people locally where you are so that you get a firm foundation right from the start. God bless you!

In Jesus,
Lakshmi

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@Lakshmismehta what a full and beautiful response! I particularly appreciate your emphasis on the importance of spending time in the Word and allowing works/service to grow naturally out of a heartfelt love for Jesus, not as a means of attaining rightstanding before him (or in the eyes of others). I also appreciate your comment on feelings and how they cannot always be trusted. Thank you! Your responses to Sally’s questions are a good reminder for us all!

@Sally I will be praying that you find a healthy local church which will help you to grow as a new believer and which you will be able to express your love for Jesus within. God bless you!

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@tpauls8, thanks Tara…I need to be constantly reminded as well.

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Lakshmi thank you so much. Your answers and suggestions were full and complete for me. I appreciate your kindness in reaching toward me. It is ironic …or perhaps Gods hand at work that you have answered me. For many years I followed a path of yoga, Budhism, and other ‘spiritual’ beliefs. I turned from them completely last year after a crisis and Christ spoke to me directly. I was obsessed with India, Indians and immersed myself in it. How lovely to hear Gods voice from your beautiful heart.
Sally xx

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Thank you Tara for your reply. A very instructive one. Can you tell me what you mean by ‘saints’?
Thank you,
Sally

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Thank you for your prayers.
Sally xx

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Hi Sally! We who follow Jesus are saints - a term found in the New Testament. I am sorry if this term caused confusion. I was simply referring to other believers.

God bless you!

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@Sally, your reply is so precious. Thank you so much for such kindness! I still have family very much immersed in a sect of Hinduism and I see the need for Christ to speak directly into their situation. I think it would be very encouraging to hear how God brought you from Eastern religious pursuit to Christ. Please do consider sharing it some time. There is a testimony section in the Christian growth category. Thanks again! God bless this new chapter of your life in Christ.

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Thank you Tara for explaining that and taking time to help me.
Xx

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Good morning Lakshmi. I would be happy to tell you of my growth and transformation. Should I tell you in this format or post it in the Christian testimony section? And how do I find that?
Sally

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Hi @Sally, to post it under member testimonies, you can first go to Christian growth category, then open a new topic and finally select ‘Christian Growth Member Testimonies’ from the drop down menu bar. If that is too cumbersome, you can also share it here. Looking forward to reading your story. Thank you!

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Alternatively, you can just click on this link to get to the category. :slight_smile:

https://connect.rzim.org/c/christian-growth/member-testimonies

So glad you’ve joined us here on Connect, @Sally!

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Hello Lakshmi I decided to tell you of my journey directly, rather than posting a testimony.
I had grown up in a house where my parents quoted well know bible verse, such as ’ do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. That type of verse, well known and good for teaching children how to behave. But we never attended church.
My father was a ’ seeker’. He dabbled with many philosophical ideas from Masons to the Rosecrution, to Buddhism and was widely read on many other philosophies. But he and my mother told us they did not Christen us as they wanted us to make our own decisions as adults as to which faith we would follow. They themselves really did not follow anything. It was the 60s and I think that played quite a role in this decision.
But really I wasn’t very aware of my fathers studies until I was an adult. He did not share anything with me, apart from the sage verses from the bible on order to discipline us - without telling us these verses were biblical.
Anyway I grew up and tried to find ‘my own way’. Making many mistakes.
About 8 years ago I started walking a path of what I now think of as ‘enemy territory’. I took a course on becoming a yoga teacher and started practicing a form of cult yoga called kundalini. I meditated, experiencing all sorts of hallucinations. I was very much immersed in the yoga-Buddhist world along with reiki training and other explorations of so-called alternative life.
Then early 2018 I had an experience in my married life that caused me to take a hiatus for about 4 months. When I returned I thought all had been healed within my marriage but discovered a few weeks after my return that it was not.
One night I had a terrible urge to look at my husbands phone- something I had never done. I looked at text messages he had with a woman whom he referred to as his mentor. But discovered the tone of message changed from professional to very friendly on the day I had left. Right up until the day before I returned the exchange remained overly friendly and I soon learned there was more than mentoring going on.
I was shocked…no, horrified. I wanted to be sick as tears were streaming down my face. So I crawled over to my computer in another room and tried to breathe. I sat there numb and turned it on. I didnt know what to do. I had no idea of any infidelity. I asked Google, “what do I do when I find my husband has cheated on me?” The very first answer that appeared was a Christian website…and the message was from God. Ordinarily I would have scrolled right past that message, looking for something that I thought was right for me. Instead I read the first one. And it felt like God was personally sending me the message. I sat there stunned.
That was around June of 2018.
I wont bore you with the details of my struggle to resurrect my marriage but I will tell you that I have totally fallen in love with God​:heavy_heart_exclamation: He speaks to me all the time. He has guided me in so many ways. And both my husband and I are stronger than ever together with Christ. We have never had faith as a couple. And everything in our lives has been so much better with that 3rd person in our marriage!:blush:
And the cherry on the cake is I can see it all unfolding behind me. Every turn I took on that long path in enemy territory (and not since yoga but even before…all my life) I can see how God was always with me. All the lessons, all the rescues, all the advice. I am a firm believer that I had to walk through fire in order to come to know Him. And every step was worth it…although I wish it could’ve been earlier in my life. But it is divine timing… nothing to do with me.

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@Sally Thank you for your testimony, it has blessed me.

God is good. Praise him for pursuing you in all the distant lands of “enemy territory”!

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@Sally, amazing testimony! You knew when God spoke and you turned to Him! And your husband as well! Its amazing how despite being given all the freedom to pursue any faith you could, you still recognized God’s voice amongst all the voices. Truly His sheep hear His voice! May you continue to know Christ in a powerful way and may He use you and your husband to lead others unto knowing Him. Really appreciate you sharing your story. Thank you!

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