Hey, ladies! We’ve heard and many have said the words, “I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior,” right? But what does it mean and what happens after you choose to say or believe it?
Whether you’re a Protestant or Catholic Christian, accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior is something you have to actually decide. Whether it’s through the sacrament of confirmation or an adult baptism or even a declaration, you have to choose to accept Him, and with this acceptance or acknowledgement comes an actual change. You see, accepting Jesus doesn’t mean that you’re allowing Jesus to take hold of you and turn you into a Christian. And it doesn’t mean that the process of becoming a Christian is complete.
Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, regardless of the ceremony that surrounds it, is just the beginning. It means that you have given your life to Jesus. And again, this isn’t just in theory, it’s in reality. And this submission is only truth when you prove it in your thoughts, words and actions.
So, if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and want to know what comes next, check out the following:
- Get baptized. If you haven’t been baptized, but you’ve accepted Jesus, then become a Christian through baptism. In Matthew 18:19, Jesus tells His disciples, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.” Jesus Himself was baptized in the Jordan River.
- Repent and sin no more. I don’t mean to sound like an old preacher holding a Bible in the air and shouting, “Repent!” I’m just reiterating Jesus’ words when He spoke them to the adulterous woman. One of the biggest mistakes Christians make is to allow the “we are sinners” truth to give them an excuse for sinning. Yes, we are capable of sinning, but Jesus said, “Sin no more,” which means that it is possible not to sin. As Christians, we are called to turn away from our sin and avoid sinning in the future.
- Learn about Jesus. When you choose to accept Jesus, you’re choosing to follow Jesus. And in following Jesus, you’re called to act like Jesus. “But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with Him whoever claims to abide in Him ought to live as He lived.” (1 John 1-2:6)
- Make the change. Take an honest look at your life and ask yourself if you’re living a Christian life. Don’t evaluate your behavior on society’s standards or culture, but on God’s. Evaluate your thoughts, words and actions on a daily basis and be honest about how they compare to those of Jesus. Evaluate your life, your priorities and your values. Evaluate your relationships with family and friends.
- Read your Bible. Begin with the Gospels and work through Acts and Paul’s letters. These are teachings for all Christians. After the New Testament, go to the Old Testament. Make a habit of reading your Bible daily and try to read it throughout every year. The Bible is more than just a bunch of verses and sayings. And in order to understand the full meaning and teachings, you have to know It throughout.
- Learn what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Well, in order to keep them, you need to know the commandments. Not just the 10 Commandments given to Moses, but the commandments that Jesus lays out in the Gospels.
- Understand that being a Christian is a work in progress. Often people choose to accept Jesus when things are bad in their lives -when they’ve hit rock bottom. So, at that point it’s pretty easy to recognize where we need to change. But when things are good, and it seems like we’re following the Word pretty well, we assume we’re done. We assume that we couldn’t be better disciples. Well, since you’re not Jesus, I’m guessing that’s not the case. We’re never done at bettering our Christian life or strengthening our faith.
- Pray. Pray constantly and consistently. Prayer is a fundamental part of accepting Jesus because it strengthens your relationship with Him. It creates that connection.
- Join a church. If you haven’t already, then join a church. Being a part of a church helps strengthen your faith. You have a pastor, community and youth group that offer so many opportunities to serve and worship God. Read Think Church Isn’t Important? Here’s Why You’re Wrong! for more reasons why you should be part of a church.
- Make Christian friends. You may have lots of friends now, and that’s great. But it’s important that you have close Christian friends also. Friends can be very influential and having a close Christian friend strong in her own faith will be an awesome support to you as you grow in your own relationship with Christ.
“That is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
Ladies, accepting Jesus is just the beginning. Being a true Christian does take effort. And it’s this conscious effort to follow Jesus and glorify God in everything that makes the difference between telling Jesus that you’ve accepted Him and proving it to Him.
Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? How have you changed your life since?