How do I become a Christian?

Used under CC 3.0 license. Star Forming in region S106, from the Hubble Telescope. Attribution: NASA & ESA

So you've looked at the arguments for God, the Bible, and Jesus.  You've decided there is enough evidence to take a reasonable leap of faith.  Or you just know in your heart there is a God, something bigger than you. What's next?  

What does it mean to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ? Can one simply say a prayer, and be saved? It's hard to say. I'm sure for some, that is their experience with stepping into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

For me, it happened in a series of spiritual awakenings. Over a period of time, years actually, I slowly came to realization after realization about the world around me. I pursued that journey. I thought and studied, and learned, and talked about it with people. I journaled about the things I was learning.

I really began at a place of little concern for spiritual matters. Eventually I had an awakening in 2011, that God does exist.  From there I adopted a sort of pantheistic view.  I had opened myself up to all religious views.  In 2012 I called out in particular to Jesus Christ, and the reality came to me that Christ was the exclusive way to God.  From there it's like my worldview began an extended, slow and steady transformation from materialistic/spiritual views, to theologically deep and philosophically coherent views about the world around me.  My depth of gratitude toward Christ went from little, to deeper and deeper.  

The journey goes from far before meeting Christ, to long after, in my experience.  In any case, I will try to explain the basics, and describe a possible prayer that might be a helpful starting point.  But as a reminder, simply be open to pursuing the journey, and pursuing the knowledge of the Holy, and be open to having a series of awakenings regarding Christ and the truth of the Bible.  Engage in the journey and relationship.

Christianity is about a personal relationship with God.  It's about a reconciliation between one person, you, and God, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  It's like a romance, or a close friendship, or a father-son/father-daughter relationship.  It's not about ritual or superstition.  It's about turning from sin, and the lies we've believed about reality, and turning to Jesus Christ in faith. 

Repentance is key to salvation in Jesus Christ. The word of God the Bible says to "Repent and believe the good news!" -Mark 1:15.  What does it mean to repent?  The concept of repenting is that we turn away from sin and turn to Jesus.  To repent, means to "put to death" the works of our fleshly desires.  A few of the sins that I had to put aside included: Drugs (I was a drug addict), alcohol (I drank constantly), cigarettes (destructive to the body), masturbation, having sex outside of marriage, pornography, lying, stealing (even pirated movies and music), sexual fantasizing, movies/tv series full of gore and sex, and many other sinful practices.  Trust in the Holy Spirit, who will lead you to areas in your life that need to change.  Be focused and concentrate on this process of repentance, because Christ expects us to be holy as He is holy.  

Christianity is also about serving God. We renounce our plans for life and we embrace what God's will is for our lives.  Like for me, I wanted to be a journalist or a novelist.  But when I became a Christian, I realized through prayer, fasting, and Bible reading that God was calling me to be a minister.  He doesn't call everyone to be ministers, often he calls us to a certain job or vocation.  Once again, the Holy Spirit will lead you if you're yielded to His influence.  

The three most important parts of our relationship with God are prayer, fellowship, and Bible reading.  As a Christian I try to pray twice a day.  Sometimes I'll say the "Our Father" but most often I'll just get on my knees and talk to God.  It's about communication and love. And remember, if we love someone we'll spend real time with them. Not just ten or twenty minutes a day. But real time. So in your prayer life, don't just spent a few minutes praying, build it more and more until you're praying for an hour or hours a day. Prayer is how we talk to God, but how does God talk back?  That's where Bible reading comes in.  As I read the various books of the Bible, God will communicate through them to me.  Isn't that cool?  Of course being a Christian is not simply communicating with God, it's also fellowship and brotherhood between fellow believers.

Joining a church is an absolute necessity. We can't do it alone. We will die with nothing if we try to do it alone. A gazelle wandering away from the herd will be picked off and eaten by lions. There are no solo Christians. We must join a weekly fellowship and a must is also a weekly Bible study/small group. I repeat, this is not optional!   
I would encourage you to find a Bible, a good understandable translation like the New International Version, the English Standard Version,  New Living Translation, or even something very contemporary like The Message Translation.  Read through the Gospel of John.  That is my favorite Gospel.  Luke, Mark, and Matthew are great too though!  The Psalms are great to read through, they are poetry about out wonderful God.  If you have trouble understanding exactly what's being talked about, consider purchasing a quality Study Bible.  A Study Bible will include commentary and notes on the scriptures in front of you, to provide for better understanding of the Bible.

If you prefer to read on the computer, check out Bible Gateway. You can go through the Bible in any translation you like.  There are even Bible commentaries, studies, and Audio Bibles.  Bible hub is a good study website as well.  For topical listings of Bible verses check out Open Bible. There are Bible apps as well, like YouVersion for all phones. Check out the Bible Project on YouTube, it's a great way to learn the big story of scripture.

Once you've read through the Bible, ask yourself, do I understand that I need a Savior to remove my sins?  Do I realize I've fallen short of the perfect requirement of God, just like the rest of humanity?  Do I understand that God is sovereign over my life, and I want him to be my personal God? 

Then it's time to cry out to Jesus Christ. Call out to the name of Jesus Christ, with belief in your heart that Jesus can help you. Cry out with all your might. Scream out to Jesus for hope, for forgiveness, for freedom, and for salvation.  I remember when I cried out to Jesus. I cried out in horror and misery, and it was like that cry echoed up into the heavens above, level by level reaching the very throne of God, and on that day the way was opened to salvation. Praise the Lord! 

Basic Steps to Salvation
  1. Admit that you have sinned against God
  2. Believe in Jesus His work on the cross as payment for your sins
  3. Repent (turn away from) active sins in your life
  4. Give your whole life to God and live for Him alone
  5. Remain with Christ your whole life, living out holiness 
I could recommend many books for understanding the basics of Christian faith.  The Pilgrim's Progress is a vital read for any Christian, available free online (updated language) PDFAlso available on Librivox as an audiobook.   Peace with God by Billy Graham is excellent.  Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray is available free in audio book format online at Librivox.  "Know What You Believe" and "Know Why You Believe" by Paul Little are both very good books to read. They are fun reads too, which is nice.  Additionally, "The Pursuit of God" by A.W. Tozer is valuable for knowing God deeply. And "The Cross of Jesus Christ" by John R.W. Stott is excellent for understanding the crucifixion, and what it meant.  

If you've come to understand your need for Jesus Christ, go on your knees before God, and say a prayer similar to this: 

Father God of the Bible, I realize now that you're real, your Bible is real, and your son Jesus Christ is real.  I admit to you Father that I've sinned against you, I confess my sins to you now (confess them one by one).  I repent of my sins, please Lord set me free from every sin. And I admit that I need a Savior.  You have provided that Savior.  I accept him Father, today I accept your son Jesus Christ, and his work on the cross as the necessary payment for all my sins. I recognize that Jesus resurrected from the dead to give me eternal life.  Please Father, cloth me in His righteousness.  Father God I acknowledge you as the sovereign Lord of my life, please grant me your Holy Spirit to guide me in my new life as a Christian.  Thank you so much Father, it's in Jesus Christ name I pray this prayer, Amen. 

Then pursue that new life.  Find a good Bible believing church in your area.  Join a weekly Bible study.  Read books on the Christian life.  Pray and pray a lot (15 minutes to 2 hours a day.)  Get involved in discipleship (training Christians in deeper practices) and evangelism (telling non-believers about Jesus) as well.  

Remember that as Christians we are all waiting for a culminating event at the end of the age: The return of Jesus Christ.  Jesus will return, and we should be expectantly waiting for Him. Everyone will either go to heaven because they faithfully followed Jesus, or they will go to hell, if they rejected Christ, or failed to live a pure Christian life. 

Learn and grow as a Christian.  Establish a network of relationships with Christians in your area.  And live it my friend, live it. 

It will do us no good at all my friends, if we live as a Christian for many years, but then fall way later. We will be worse off than if we'd never known Jesus at all. Do not fall away! Stay strong and continue with Jesus Christ to the very end. Run your race well! Finish the journey strong, and live forever with your family of believers in the next phase of existence, after this life comes to an end.  May God bless you and keep you until then! 


Next take a look at.. The Journey