It is firmly established that there is new life in Christ. Jesus told Nicodemus, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). But whether it is plant or animal just beginning a new life is not the goal. A farmer may plant a field of wheat; he will be glad when it comes up a good stand; but he will be very disappointed if it stands there and doesn’t grow and instead withers and dies. He will have no grain to make bread. The same is true of a dairy calf. If it doesn’t stay alive and grow he will have no cow to produce milk.
The one who has new life in Christ must keep it alive and growing. In fact Peter said, “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2 Pet. 2:20-21).
Need to have a good start. Are you truly sorry for the sins you have committed? Do you strongly determine to never sin again and stay true to the new life you have received? Whether you stay alive and grow will depend largely on how much you want to. When people do not remain faithful, “they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:6b). If you have a great love for Jesus you certainly would not want to crucify Him again and put Him to open shame.
To keep the new life alive and growing we must keep the lines of communication open and in use. We might have the latest communication device but if we don’t use it, we can’t stay in touch with our friends. God keeps in touch with us through the Bible and we stay in touch with Him through prayer. To keep the new life in Christ alive and growing we need to read the Bible and pray. Paul told Timothy, “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:13). He also told the Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
Choose a congregation that teaches the truth and become a member of it. Attend faithfully and get involved in the work. We need the encouragement of our brethren. Barnabas was a great example of this. When “Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5), stayed in Jerusalem longer than they had intended to, Joses (Barnabas) sold land and laid the money at the apostles’ feet to take care of them and the widows (Acts 4:36-37; 6:1). After his shipwreck on his way to Rome, Paul received encouragement when he saw the brethren coming out to meet him and his companions “as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them he thanked God and took courage” (Acts 28:15). This is a strong reason we should not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together” for it is in the assembly that we “stir up love and good works” (Heb. 10:24-25).
Pick companions who will help you stay alive and grow. Paul said, “Do not be deceived, ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” (1 Cor. 15:33). If you start running with a crowd who spends all their time playing video games, watching TV, talking on and watching smart phones, you will find you have no time to remember God or keep your new life in Christ alive.
Choose a husband or wife who will help you remain a faithful worker for the Lord. Sometimes family members will not support your new life; this makes it much harder but you must love the Lord more. Jesus commanded “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37).
Know your gifts. God has given everyone gifts that may be used in service to Him. Knowing your gifts is not enough. You must use those gifts and become more skilled in using them (Matt. 25:14-30).
Keep good reading materials, DVDs, and tapes in your home. These items are good if they teach the truth. To keep the new life in Christ alive and growing you must have your “senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). All sermons, Bible teaching materials, religious articles and TV programs must be checked by the Scriptures. Gospel publications try to teach the truth, but the articles are written by men and are subject to error. So check everything by the Holy Scriptures.
Keep your heart humble. Over and over God’s people in the O.T. forgot God and were lifted up with pride. They sinned and aroused God’s anger and suffered defeat. Like Jesus, we must remain “meek (gentle) and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29).