People have all sorts of wacky ideas about what it means to be a Christian, so we wanted to spell out exactly what we are talking about and what you do if you want to start following Jesus. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with whether you were born in England, watch Songs of Praise, and are an all round good egg. Ironically the first steps in following Jesus are much more about accepting our need for God’s help than proving that we are living a good life.
Our vision as a church is to “make good things happen”, but we aren’t doing that to get God to like us. We are doing it because we have experienced for ourselves how good, kind and loving God is and we can’t keep it to ourselves. Our motivation is gratitude not guilt.
How have we experienced the love of God?
Jesus said it this way – “no greater love has any man than this – that he lays down his life for his friends”.
When Jesus died it wasn’t simply a miscarriage of justice, it was God’s way of showing us he is ready to take our pain and make it his pain. He experienced injustice at our hands and died undeservedly. This wasn’t an accident, God planned this moment so that every evil, unjust and selfish thing that lurks in the shadows of our own lives and communities could be poured out on his Son.
Even if you don’t think there is another person in the world who loves you, Jesus does. He thinks you are worth dying for and nothing puts God in the mood for a party more than people accepting that love.
The truth is following Jesus doesn’t begin with a promise to be good, it starts with a humble acknowledgement that we need forgiveness. We’ve all caused pain, acted unjustly, and at times planned and thought things that we wouldn’t want anyone to know about. Rather than give us all that we deserve, God decided to allow himself to be crushed by the punishment that should have come our way.
Of course that’s not the end of the story – the resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate proof that Gods plan to give us a fresh and forgiven life had worked. And that’s not just a theory, you can see the power of this new life in the lives of those who have said yes to this offer of forgiveness. When your heart changes and all that kept you from a relationship with God is swept away, good things happen. Peace with God, a purpose for life and a community to be a part of – life as God intended.
So following Jesus starts with a humble conversation with God:
“Father God, I thank you for giving Jesus Christ, your Son, to die for me, so I can be forgiven, and to rise again so I can have eternal life.
I ask you to forgive me for all I have done wrong, and I commit myself now to live for you, and to live life your way from now on.
I ask you to send upon me the gift of your Holy Spirit, to make me the kind of person you want me to be, and to give me the strength and power I need to live and work for you.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, we would love to hear from you and help you take your first steps in following Jesus. Fill in the form below, and one of the team will get back to you.