Are You Growing in God?
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught." Colossians 2:6-7
Soooo . . . you prayed and asked Jesus to forgive your sins. You invited Him to come and live in your heart. Congratulations You are now a Christian--a disciple, or follower, of Jesus Christ. You have become a child of God. Now it's time to get to know God better and grow in your relationship with him.
Growing in God is not very different from growing up as a human being. You began your life as a tiny little baby. You didn't know anything about the world around you. You couldn't do anything for yourself. You had to learn how to walk and talk and eat and play. You're growing up even faster now, getting bigger every day, and learning new things all the time. One day soon you will be an adult.
The same thing happens to your faith in Jesus. Right now you are a "baby" Christian--you have a lot to learn But little by little, day by day, you will grow. You will learn more about what it means to be a Christian and how to live a life that pleases God. One day you will be a "grown-up" Christian--a mature believer--and you'll be able to do great things for God.
This booklet will tell you how to grow in God: the things you can do right now that will help you draw closer to Him. There are all kinds of ideas and suggestions inside. Most of them come right from the Word of God itself--the Bible. Sometimes you'll see Scriptures listed in parentheses like this: ( ) Look up the verses if you want to read them for yourself, or use the special sections called "To Find Out More."
Now here is how you can Grow in God . . .
1. READ the Bible
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Psalm 119:105
The best way to get to know God is to read the Bible. Every word, every verse, every chapter was inspired by God Himself. Someone once said the Bible is God's love letter to us. The Bible explains who God is and what He is like. It tells us how He created the world and why He created all of us. The Bible teaches us right from wrong and shows us how to live in a way that pleases God. It introduces us to Jesus--our Savior--God's one and only Son.
Sixty-six books make up the Bible. They are divided into two sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Some books tell us the stories of heroes of our faith: men and women who lived for God and did great things for Him. Others are filled with poetry, prayers, and proverbs--words of advice and instruction. Still others contain prophecies, special messages from God to His people. The stories about Jesus begin in the New Testament.
There are many ways to study the Bible. You can start at the beginning and read straight through, from Genesis to Revelation. If you were to read four chapters a day, you would finish in about a year or so. (If you could read nonstop--without eating or sleeping or taking a break--you could do it in 78 hours )
Or you might choose to study one particular book at a time. Many new Christians begin by reading the Gospel of John. You can also look up verses throughout the Bible on a specific subject, such as "courage" or "friendship" or "peace." Most Bibles have a concordance, or index, at the back that will help you find the verses you are looking for. You may also use a Bible study guide or workbook.
Whenever you finish a paragraph or chapter, review what you have read. See if you can answer the five W's and an H: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. Ask God to help you understand these Scriptures and learn something from what you have read. You might want to write your thoughts down in a notebook or journal.
Memorize Bible verses that are meaningful to you, verses that encourage you or challenge you.
- Copy verses onto sticky notes. Put them where you will see them often--around your bedroom or on the bathroom mirror.
- Make your own flashcards. Practice saying each verse first thing in the morning, on the way to school, or before you go to bed at night.
- Sing the words as a song. Use a familiar tune like "Pop Goes the Weasel" or "London Bridge Is Falling Down," or make up your very own.
- Ask a parent or friend to test you. See if you can say the verse and the reference (title of the book, chapter, and verse) without any help.
To Find Out More: Read Psalm 119:9, 11, Deuteronomy 6:6, and 2 Timothy 3:16.
2. TALK to God
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Prayer is talking to God. God is the best friend you could ever have. You can share all of your thoughts and feelings with God, because He understands. He always has time to listen. He always cares (1 Peter 5:7). Whenever you want to talk to Him, you can
You can pray anytime or anyplace. You may want to pray silently or out loud--with your eyes open or shut. You might say prayers you have learned at church or memorized from the Bible. Or you can choose to pray in your own words.
It's a good idea to set aside at least one special time to pray each day (maybe before or after you read your Bible). Praise God for who He is--how good and kind and loving He has been. Confess your sins to Him: admit your mistakes. Tell God that you are sorry and pray for His forgiveness. Ask God for what you need. Bring all of your problems to Him. Pray for your friends and family and others in need. Thank God for listening to your prayers--and answering them
God answers prayers in all kinds of ways. It may not always be the way that we expect Sometimes God performs miracles--and sometimes He works through "ordinary" circumstances. God may speak to us through our parents or pastor or friends. He might lead us to a verse in the Bible that will help us. The Bible tells us God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says, "Yes." Sometimes