What’s Most Essential for a New Believer?

I’m always happy to see people respond positively to the Gospel message. Whether it’s in a group setting or through a personal conversation, I know the decision to trust in Jesus Christ is the best decision a person can ever make. But, in those moments, I’m usually bracing myself on the inside, hoping it’s the real deal, hoping that they actually walk this out and grow into strong, life-long disciples of Jesus. I know that not everyone who shows the initial sign of a positive response ends up living a Christ-transformed life. What is it that makes the difference between those who do and those who don’t? What’s most essential for a new believer to get off to the right start?

Most Essential for New Believer

When we help others follow Jesus, we are helping them build their lives. But how they build, especially during the critical early phase, matters greatly.

A Solid Foundation is Essential

Imagine a building with a foundation that is still being dug, the concrete not yet poured. It looks like nothing at that point—just a large, barren pit in the ground. This building project is still in the early stages, but what happens during this phase is absolutely critical to the quality and stability of the building. If the foundation is properly laid, the building will be strong. If the foundation is poorly laid, the cost of repairing it later will be significant, if it can even be fixed at all. A good foundation is essential.

The Storm-Proof Life

Both Jesus and Paul referenced construction to illustrate the importance of living wisely (Matthew 7:24-29; I Corinthians 3:10). Jesus said that if the foundation (starting point) isn’t right in a person’s life, when the “storms” inevitably come, those storms will cause that person’s life to be destroyed.

Simply put, a “good foundation” is a habit of hearing and obeying what Jesus says. Jesus explains saying,

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)

Notice that the storm came and beat against both buildings. But the results were different, depending on the foundation.

No life is storm-free, but, with the right kind of foundation, it can be storm-proof.

The foundation is a huge deal—it’s not flashy and may even be invisible once the rest of the building is constructed, but a solid foundation is essential.

Focus on the Foundation, Not the Facade

Steve Murrell comments in his book WikiChurch that “many spiritual lives are built with more concern about the facade than the foundation.” In our effort to follow Jesus and help others follow him, it’s easy for us to obsess about the wrong things.

It’s easy to focus more on looking right than being right.

It’s About Jesus

If we’re not careful, we can become caught up in things that are far from central to the Christian faith. The foundation and starting point is the proper response to Jesus. It’s about Jesus, not just knowing about Jesus, but listening to his teaching, believing and actually obeying Jesus.

Jesus is Lord.

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5 Benefits of the Fear of the Lord

You Can't Afford To Live Without It

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the Biblical emphasis on what’s called “the fear of the Lord.” In my interactions with students and young leaders, and in my general observations of contemporary culture, it’s not something I hear talked about very often these days. If it’s brought up at all (which it rarely ever is), it’s not really understood.

It’s easy to ignore it or disregard something when we think it doesn’t really matter. But, when we see it’s true value for us, we have a tendency to be more attentive. Here are five benefits of the fear of the Lord.

1. The Fear of the Lord is the Starting Point for Wisdom

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”

2. The Fear of the Lord is Better than Money

Proverbs 15:16 “Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil.”

3. The Fear of the Lord Helps Us to Avoid Evil

Proverbs 16:6 “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.

4. The Fear of the Lord Can Help You Live Longer

Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

5. The Fear of the Lord Leads to Contentment

Proverbs 19:23 “The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”

Why would’t you want to have a longer life, a more contented soul, or greater wisdom? Proverbs says that all of these things are linked to having the fear of the Lord.

The fear of the Lord is foundational. Popular contemporary ideas can tempt our souls to drift from time-tested Biblical truth, but this is to our peril.

The lie that having respect for God and his ways is going to hinder our fun is as old as humanity itself (see Genesis 3). It’s just not so. Respect for God (“the fear of the Lord”) and obedience to his commands is always a good idea. It leads to life.

Question: Which of these five benefits stands out most to you? Why? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

C.S. Lewis
The Weight of Glory (New York: Harper One , 1949), 26