Now that you’re in Christ…
Okay. Now that you’re a Christian you need to realize you’re in Christ.
In baptism, you were clothed with him and are in him. You’re not the same person you were. Oh, you don’t feel any different? Let me put it this way: When Jesus was raised from the dead, he became different. He possessed a spiritual body instead of a physical one. You’ve been raised from death in a sense. You’ve been raised to walk in “newness of life” from your watery grave (Romans 6:4). You’re different now.
You’re going to learn to live differently. The more you grow spiritually, the less worldly things will matter to you and you’ll become stronger and stronger living for spiritual things. The Apostle Paul said, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace,” (Romans 8:5-6 ESV).
But until you’ve grown into that process, there will be occasional problems. Just because you’ve been raised with Christ doesn’t mean you’re perfect. You won’t be. So remember to be patient with yourself. When you find you’ve sinned, don’t give up living for Jesus. Just admit the sin and turn from it.
Find yourself a Barnabas. A Barnabas is someone who will help and encourage you. I’m not talking about some kind of “father confessor.” I’m talking about a friend who will help you understand that sin needn’t mean the end of your relationship with Christ. It is because of sin that Jesus died for us. But, sometimes people become so discouraged they give up. That’s something you must never do, so remember that when you ask forgiveness, forgive yourself.
Okay. You’re all set. Come to me or to the elders when you need help, and remember how much you’re loved and how much God loves you. Don’t forget that.