As a born-again believer, how do I start to mature in my faith?

Realizing that you’re a sinner and having genuine sorrow for your sins is essential for making Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. Once you’ve repented and turned from your sins to follow instead after Jesus, placing your trust in Him for forgiveness and salvation, you’ve been born again—what joy! What a wonderful gift you’ve received! But as that first feeling of excitement and celebration fades, you might find yourself wondering, “Well, I’ve repented and trusted Jesus as my Savior… now what?” Here are 5 steps to spiritual growth for new believers that will help!

1. Listen to God by reading the Bible daily

Most people who’ve trusted in Jesus realize the need for prayer, but not all of them understand how equally important (maybe more so) it is to read the Bible each day.

If you’ve never read the Bible before or have had a hard time trying to understand it, fret not. Once you’re born again, the Bible is much easier to comprehend because you personally know the One who authored it!

It might still feel challenging to grasp all its depths, and that’s okay. Reading the Word of God is something that should last a lifetime, and each time you read it, you will find that the Holy Spirit reveals something new, no matter how many times you’ve read the same passage. How is that possible, you ask? Here’s the answer:

For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. | Hebrews 4:12, AMPC

You’ll see something new every time you read because God’s Word is alive and powerful! It exposes and sifts the very thoughts and intentions of our hearts, helping us see where we need to repent of certain behaviors or thoughts and obediently align ourselves with God’s ways. It is His love letter to us and is full of wonderful teaching as a Father who lovingly instructs and corrects His child.

So ask God to give you wisdom and understanding as you read and study His Word daily.

I can hear someone say, “Daily???”

Yes, my friend. Start developing this habit as early as possible and before long it will become easier and easier to do.

I know, I know. You’re busy. Your job, your family, the house, and on and on. Believe me, I know. That’s why it’s important to set a date and make an appointment for yourself if need be.

Just imagine that your very best friend who you haven’t seen in a year is coming to see you. You would do whatever it took to clear out a couple of days on your calendar. But God is the nearest and dearest Friend we could ever have—no one could ever love you or care for you more—so make the commitment to block off that time with Him daily, just as you would a dinner date with your best friend. 💛

The amount of time isn’t as important as the quality of the time that you spend. For example, you could set aside an hour each day for Bible study, but if the TV is on or you’re constantly interrupted by someone, your focus isn’t steadfast and you’ll keep losing your place. Nothing will really stick that way if you’re not devoting your full attention.

But even if you have 10 minutes to really concentrate on the context of the passage, the intended audience, and the purpose of the speaker, those few minutes will be a much better and more beneficial time spent with God than an hour riddled with distractions. God wants our attention and our listening, obedient ear.

You might be wondering, “But why read every single day? Why is it so important?”

Consider this. If you constantly hear bad advice, it somehow seems to work its way inside you, making you question every decision you make, or even influencing you to make the wrong ones. But how much more so it is with good advice! Reading the Bible helps us grow in our understanding of God’s character and His will for us as followers of Christ.

The more we fill our minds with God’s truth, the more that begins to reflect in our lives, and the more His wisdom is brought to our remembrance by the Holy Spirit when we need it most. Reading the Word allows God’s truths to soak down inside of us, even if it doesn’t seem like it, and He will bring it to our minds when we need it. But that wisdom can’t be brought out if we don’t first put it in.

Prayer is wonderful, but unless we’re pairing it with listening to God through reading the Bible, it’s only a one-way communication channel. We need to be listening just as much or even more than we’re speaking.

Wait… that means that reading the Bible is communicating with God?

Absolutely! Isn’t it wonderful?! Studying the Bible essentially equates to listening to God and His side of your conversation. Yes, He wants to hear what you have to say—He’s your loving Father after all! But He has a lot to tell us in His Word, and in order to be obedient, we need to be familiar with His ways.

We need to be in communication with God—it is a two-way, give-and-take conversation that builds our relationship with Him. If we do all the talking, we can’t hear God’s voice. We must also read His Word to hear what He has to say to us, for the Bible is His primary way of communicating with us today.

And after all, how can we distinguish the voice of the enemy from the voice of our Shepherd if we’re not listening to Him?

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” | John 10:27, NKJV

That is how we hear Christ’s voice, my friend, by reading what He has said. And then we will know Him, and know how to follow Him.

Be sure to set aside time each day—whether it be the first thing in the morning or at night before going to bed—to read and listen to God’s Word.

2. Talk to God by praying throughout the day

I spent a lot of time talking about reading the Bible because it is so important to the spiritual growth of any Christian. There’s no quicker way to stagnate and fall away from a close intimacy with your loving Creator than by not reading the Bible daily. 

But hand-in-hand with listening to God through His Word is speaking to Him in prayer. And that’s really all the word “prayer” means. It’s simply (yet wonderfully) talking to our heavenly Father—what a privilege!

So talk to Him about everything. He is your very best Friend, and He’s right with you through all the highs and lows that life brings. Always know that you are NEVER alone and that God will never leave you nor forsake you!

What concerns you concerns your loving Father God, and He wants to be involved in every aspect of your life, even things that might seem small to you and never a bother to Him. Tell Him about your day, praise Him for His help and blessings, and ask Him regarding your desires and needs.

You can pray aloud or you can pray to Him silently anywhere you are. You can go to Him carefully and thoughtfully—with specific things you’re thankful for, with praises for Him and Who He is and what He’s done—or you can pray to Him quickly yet earnestly in moments of crisis and immediate need.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. | Hebrews 4:16, NKJV

As with reading the Bible, so it is with prayer—it’s not something to do just when we find ourselves in dire straits, it’s something we should do each day. And with prayer, we should be praying throughout our day.

Wait… Do you mean I have to spend 2 hours or more praying every single day???

No. While I do believe there are prayer warriors out there that God has blessed with such a gift, for most of us, we’re not going to be regularly spending hours at a time in prayer. As with Bible study, quality trumps quantity.

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. | Matthew 6:7, NKJV

You don’t have to pray eloquently, you just need to come to God with a sincere and humble heart, and present your prayers to Him with thankfulness.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. | Philippians 4:6, NLT

Now here is a verse that has caused some confusion, so let’s unpack its true meaning:

Pray without ceasing. | 1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV

I knew it!! We’re back to the pray-all-day thing!!

😂 I know, that’s what it seems like at first glance, but that’s not what it means. 

The Amplified Bible Classic Edition puts it like this: “Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly].”

It doesn’t mean pray all day long, it just means pray—and don’t stop. Never stop coming to God. Never stop praising Him, thanking Him, and asking Him for what you want and need.

When your prayer seems to go unanswered, obey this verse and keep praying. Don’t give up—pray perseveringly! Keep coming back to God over and over, making your requests known to Him with thanksgiving. Never stop talking to Him and asking for His help.

And pray throughout your day. Just be in conversation with the Lord as your day goes on. You talk to your spouse or your sister or mom or your best friend throughout your day, right? But you don’t talk to them all day long. It’s the same with the Lord, except we have the privilege and ability to talk to Him at any moment!

Talk to God as thoughts arise, needs come up, or your notice blessings. Tell Him what a beautiful sunrise He’s created today! Pray when an ambulance passes by for those in need of healing and relief of pain. Pray while you’re in the shower or doing the dishes or folding laundry.

When a certain issue pops up in your mind, tell the Lord about it and ask for His guidance. These are just a few ways that we “pray without ceasing.” Just keep the conversation going throughout the day with your Lord and Savior.

We do that much by texting our friends and loved ones throughout the day, how much more should we be in communication with our loving Father!

Talk to Him in prayer and read the Bible to listen to His answers.

3. Ask God to guide you to a Bible-believing church in your area and attend regularly

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For new believers who have repented and trusted in Jesus, Bible study and prayer are huge factors in spiritual growth, as we’ve talked about. But so is fellowship with other Christians.

Finding a Bible-believing church is going to help your spiritual growth in at least 3 ways: you’ll have the opportunity to make friends with fellow believers who will be positive influences in your life, you’ll have guidance and teaching from leaders who’ll help you better understand and study God’s Word, and you’ll be able to minister into the lives of others.

That being said, this third step to spiritual growth kind of begs the question, isn’t every church a Bible-believing church?

Sadly, that’s just not the case. There are false teachers out there, just as Jesus warned us. That’s why it’s so important to read the Word of God daily so we know His voice and recognize His wisdom above men’s teachings or the enemy’s deceptions.

Always test every teaching or preaching that you hear, no matter who it comes from. Look up the topics that are preached about in a good concordance and study what the Bible teaches about them. Here’s a good hardback concordance you can get through Amazon: The New Strong’s Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. (affiliate link) You can also use BlueLetterBible.org if you prefer to study digitally.

Make sure the preaching that you’re hearing at church lines up with what is instructed in scripture. It doesn’t so much matter what denomination the church is—just as long as the church’s beliefs and teaching line up with the Bible. If it doesn’t, keep searching for a Bible-teaching church and ask God to guide you to the one He would have you attend. 

Once you find a church with sound, biblical teaching, purpose to continue attending regularly. How often is “regularly,” you ask? It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to attend every single service or event, or that you have to be present every time the church doors are open.

There’s no clear or exact formula laid out for us in God’s Word, it simply says this:

And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. | Hebrews 10:25, NLT

We’re not to neglect assembling together to encourage each other in our individual and corporate walks with the Lord.

So the amount that constitutes “regular” attendance will vary from person to person. Some will attend Sunday morning service while others will also attend Sunday evening service, and others may also come on Wednesday evenings as well.

There is no right or wrong, but generally, the more time we spend with fellow believers, the more it helps edify us spiritually.

There are other ways to gather together with fellow believers as well that aren’t necessarily in a traditional church building setting. Gathering with your family members for a Bible reading or study time is a wonderful thing to do, but inviting Christian friends to join a home Bible study is even better as they are our spiritual brothers and sisters—our family in Christ.

You can also do Zoom calls or group text messaging where everyone reads the same Bible passage beforehand and then gathers in these unique ways to discuss and share what they’re learning with the group.

Having a small, trustworthy accountability group for certain struggles can also be beneficial, as well as a prayer partner or prayer group. Some workplaces even allow prayer meetings, and if not, you could always see if any coworkers want to meet at a coffee shop or such once a week before or after work for prayer or study time.

However you meet with other believers, make sure that you have at least one set time each week when you’re focusing on scripture, praise, and prayer with other believers. Additional fellowship or getting together to participate in fun activities—like meeting at a restaurant, etc—is an added bonus too!

A note about baptism

After you’ve found a Bible-believing church to regularly attend, being baptized is another important step to take as a new believer and, if you haven’t done it yet, it’s something you should seek to do at your new church home. Talk with your pastor about it.

It’s important to know that water baptism isn’t part of the salvation process itself. It’s simply an outward symbol of the new birth we have in Christ after having repented and trusted in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.

Spiritual baptism happened the moment that you placed your faith in Christ—at that moment you were identified with Christ and baptized with the Holy Spirit—that is, God’s Spirit came to dwell within you the moment you trusted in Christ Jesus as Lord. Water baptism is a symbol of this spiritual baptism, and as the Lord commanded believers to be baptized by immersion, so we should follow His instruction.

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4. Continue to repent and walk in victory

It’s extremely important to understand that spiritual growth and sanctification is a life-long process.

Justification (being made right with God and having a restored relationship with Him) happened when you repented and trusted in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation, but sanctification (being set apart and conformed to the image of Christ) is a lifelong working of the Holy Spirit.

Even though we’re continually being sanctified and set apart from the world—leaving our sinful desires behind to follow after God’s higher ways—doesn’t mean that we can’t walk in victory each day.

You see, temptations will come, and trials will come, but if we continue to follow after Christ by following these 5 steps, then we’re choosing to walk in victory. We’re already eternal victors through Christ Jesus, but we mustn’t stop there. We should seek to serve God and not play the hypocrite.

While we’ve repented of our sinfulness and transferred our trust for salvation from ourselves to the Savior, we must still continue to repent of (turn away from) any sinful behaviors or thoughts—not for salvation, because Christ accomplished that once for all at the cross—but in order to be obedient to God.

So continue to turn away from anything the Holy Spirit brings to your awareness or that you read about in the Bible that you’ve been participating in or dwelling on that is ungodly.

Continue to apply the Word of God to your life. His Word should influence every aspect of your life—your job, your friends, your habits, your lifestyle, what you do for entertainment, movies you watch, and music you listen to.

Seek to glorify God by the way you live in obedience to Him, and the fruit of the Spirit should begin to be reflected in your life. Here is what this looks like in action:

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. | Galatians 5:16-26, NLT

What a wonderful, empowering passage of scripture!

Once you’ve repented and trusted in Christ, you’re truly a new creation in Him with new desires and new thoughts. Continue walking after the Lord, knowing you are already victorious and Christ and you will see these aspects of the Holy Spirit being made apparent in your life.

Yes, we will stumble and sin, but after we’ve been born again, we tell God about it, turn from it and move on, thanking Him for His forgiveness accomplished for us in Christ’s sacrifice. For we are no longer slaves to sin, we are bondservants of Christ!

You will recognize convictions from the Holy Spirit about sins you may still face at times, but don’t allow yourself to be condemned. Conviction is from the Lord but any feeling of condemnation is from the devil, for Jesus was already condemned in your place.

Remember that there is a difference between feelings and truth. Feelings aren’t truth—God’s Word is truth. In fact, Jesus said, “I am the Truth.” 💖

As we continue to read God’s Word and be obedient, we will see much spiritual growth. It’s a wonderful, lifelong journey as we rely on the Lord!

5. Share the Good News of Christ and the salvation He offers with others

Lastly, new believers in Christ will grow by leaps and bounds when they begin to share their faith with other people.

I want to share with you something HUGE that I learned about following Christ, and I sadly didn’t learn this until 20+ years after I was saved. Are you ready? This is going to blow your mind:

Every believer is called to share the gospel.

If you’re anything like I used to be, you might be thinking that sharing the gospel with people is the job of missionaries or evangelists, or even preachers and pastors. And that is true.

But it’s not ONLY for them. It’s for every person who has repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord.

Jesus Himself tells us so many times—here are just a few:

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. | Mark 16:15, NLT
Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. | Luke 14:23, NKJV
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” | Matthew 28:19-20, MSG

Scripture makes it obvious that sharing the message of the gospel is for all of us. It was not directed only to the disciples at that time, because there’s no way they could have preached to EVERYONE, as these verses instruct—the people alive on the earth at that time didn’t constitute “everyone”—there were and are many more generations to come that need the saving truth of the gospel!

The Bible also says to go out into the highways—the populated, urban places—and into the hedges—the rural and lesser-populated areas, including distant, far-away places around the world. 

God tells us that His desire is for His house to be filled—that many would come to the saving knowledge of Christ and repent and trust in Him as Lord. But… how can they believe if they haven’t heard, and how can they hear unless we tell them?

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. | Romans 10:14,17, NLT

That’s for us! Layperson evangelists, my friend, that’s us! Proclaiming the Word of God and calling people to repentance of sins and faith in Christ.

So now the question becomes not “should I share” but “how do I share correctly?”

As Jesus did, people have to be made aware of their own personal sins and the consequence of hell. Their repentance must be genuine and come from a place of true sorrow. Being born again doesn’t come from just knowledge or acknowledgment, but from a personal sorrow for having sinned against God and done evil.

That realization and sorrow—that paradigm shift of submission to God’s holiness and authority—causes the sinner to turn to Christ for salvation instead of trusting in their own goodness, because as we know, none of us are good, not even one.

When true conversion happens, the sinner-turned-saint will lead a life that reflects the presence of the Holy Spirit, and he or she no longer desires to dwell in sinful behavior but seeks to follow the conviction of the Spirit and the instruction of God’s Word.

These things are so important to address when sharing the gospel with others. We should be salty and sweet—”sweet” meaning sharing the truth in a kindhearted, caring, loving manner, and “salty” meaning to stand firm on God’s Word, preserving its truth and not making light of sin and its terrible, eternal consequence of hell.

To promote the gospel without bringing people to the knowledge that they’ve broken God’s law—the Ten Commandments—and are in dire need of forgiveness and salvation from hell will only serve to create false converts, and that’s extremely horrifying to think about!

There’s nothing more tragic and heartbreaking than those who believe themselves to be saved but are yet lost to hell because they haven’t genuinely repented and transferred their faith from themselves to the Savior.

Promising someone they will be saved if they invite Jesus into their heart or that God has a wonderful plan for their life is not the true and complete gospel.

In fact, it’s contradictory to God’s Word. Christ didn’t come to give us a better life while we’re here on earth, He came so that we can have life itself! He didn’t come to make us happy, He came to make us righteous!

After all, someone can be happy lying, stealing, and fornicating, but that doesn’t change the fact their sinful behavior is leading them down the path to hell.

People must first be made aware of their transgression of God’s law before they can see their need for the Savior and sincerely turn from their sins and place their faith in Him.

We must also be careful to never assure someone by proclaiming, “Now you’re saved and will go to heaven one day!” That is not for us to declare, for only God knows whether they have truly been born again. If they have sincerely placed their faith in the Savior, the Holy Spirit will bear witness to them and they will know that they’ve become a child of God.

If you want more step-by-step guidance on how to lead others to true conversion without the danger of creating false converts, see this article on 3 points to focus on when sharing the gospel message.

Final thoughts on spiritual growth for new believers — I’ve repented and trusted Jesus… Now what?

The wonderful miracle that is salvation and being born again through Christ Jesus offers such joy and hope! But that is only the beginning, and our mission doesn’t stop there. Ephesians 6 describes putting on the armor of God to stand against the devil and to grow in your relationship with the Lord, and focusing on these 5 steps will help you get started doing just that. 💛

If you’d like a recap of the basics, check out this article about steps for new believers from The Christian Broadcasting Network.

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I’ve Repented and Trusted Jesus… Now What? (5 steps to spiritual growth for new believers)

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