I never had the chance to experience what it means to be a ‘new’ believer. As the elders of my grandmother’s generation used to say—I was born on a pew. If you’ve never heard that before, it basically means that I was born and raised in the church. My earliest memories include Sunday School and VBS, Bible Study and Wednesday night prayer, choir rehearsals and Sunday morning worship. When I was a child, I knew of Christ. As a teen, I got to know Him. And now as an adult, my relationship with Him continues to grow and flourish. With spending my entire life in the church, there have been times that I’ve fallen into the contentment trap and allowed room to become disconnected from the will of God.
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)
To be in the company of a new believer, now that’s a sweet reminder of the beauty of Christ’s love. In my experience, new believers tend to humble themselves in delightful submission and have an openness that allows them to be gently guided in their understanding of who they are in Christ. When tests come their way, the recognition of God’s grace in their lives becomes magnified and they fear failure and rejection. And when they realize that they are loved beyond measure, their conviction and connection grow even stronger. Some of us ‘lifers’ just roll through our rolodex of Bible scriptures, rebuke the enemy, say a quick two-minute prayer, and then we’re on to the next. I’m reminded of a quote from a book that points out that, “Mechanically and halfheartedly, these people trudge along through the drudgery of quarantined Christianity” (Hybels & Mittelberg).
When believers, who are just going with the motions, break away from the isolation of personal comfort and connect with people yearning to be closer to God, something incredible happens. In the midst of the high-stakes conversations that tend to emerge when engaging with new or non-believers, a rekindling takes place that can be the spark to (re)ignite one’s inner mission of discipleship. A true reminder of our purpose.
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (MSG)
So how do we go about keeping the flame fed? With the winds of the Holy Spirit, which teaches us all things, and reminds us of the things that God wants for and from us. In the above scripture, Jesus gives a commission to all believers (new and mature) to act on His behalf. And He promises to be with us as we do the work, day after day after day, until the end of time. With only one life to live on this earth, I don’t want to be stuck in an autopilot Christianity. As Jesus leads and guides, I want to be continuously renewed in my faith, as it is the spark that ignites my service for the kingdom.
Reflection: What is God saying to you? How does He want you to “make a difference” in the lives of those around you (spouse, children, church family, larger community)?
by Danielle Boardley
Danielle, along with her husband Dominic and children, moved to NJ in April 2014 and began attending Kingsway shortly thereafter. Quickly accepting the invitation to go through Growth Track, they learned more about the church, their spiritual strengths, and landed on the Worship Arts team. Danielle values spending quality time with her family and finding ways to express herself creatively. Joining the Kingsway blog team was yet another exciting opportunity to serve through creative expression. Her love of writing began in her youth when she was introduced to the works of Maya Angelou. Inspired by her prose, Danielle published a book of poetry in 2007.