Summary - How do we actually become a Christian? – What do we need to do in practical terms?
Preparatory steps to help you get ready to become a Christian
Before we look at exactly how to take the step of becoming a Christian, let’s consider what to do if you don’t quite feel ready yet. Perhaps you still feel there is some blockage or obstacle which prevents you making a decisive step to put your trust in Jesus. If so, don’t rush it.
It is extremely important to start your Christian life with a clear and definite decision of your will. Your will is the part of you that God is most interested in. He wants you to hand it over to Him. To be able to make such a clear decision to become Jesus' disciple you need to be fully convinced that the gospel is true. If you don’t yet feel ready to make such a definite decision, you can at least take these sensible preparatory steps. These will help you to get to the stage where you are ready:
Begin by sincerely asking God for help. Even though you may not yet be a Christian, it is perfectly alright for you to pray to God and ask Him for His help. Ask for this in two specific ways:
- Ask Him to show you the real extent and seriousness of your own sin and to enable you to see your sin the way that He sees it and to feel what He feels about it.
- Ask Him to help you to read the Bible and to understand it and for your eyes and your mind to be opened so that you can believe it. Nobody can understand the Bible just through their own intellect. It requires the help of the Holy Spirit or you will make no sense of it. However, when God opens your eyes, it will make sense.
b) Begin to read the Bible every day
Preferably read the Bible morning and evening, but at least once per day. If you are a non-Christian and are new to the Bible then begin in the New Testament with the gospels. Then follow on with Acts and then on through all the letters of the New Testament until you reach the book of Revelation at the end. If you lack faith, or real repentance, or if you just lack understanding, then reading your Bible on a daily basis like this will provide you with what you need. After you have finished the New Testament then go back and read the whole of the Old Testament. Then start on the whole New Testament
The Bible says faith comes by hearing (or reading). Therefore if you have not yet got faith, then reading the Bible is how you get it. Also, God will provide understanding to you if you really seek for Him diligently and seriously with your whole heart:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)
When you read the Bible it is also ‘reading you'. It speaks to your heart, and convicts and changes you. You need to be realistic though about how long it will take for you to gain a good overall understanding of the whole Bible. It won't happen overnight. So don't expect that, or you'll get discouraged and give up. Keep pressing on and read as much as you can and take note of all that you do understand. Those things that you don't yet grasp can be looked at again later.
c) Honestly assess where you currently stand
Maybe you already know that you are a sinner and sincerely want to repent. It may be that you already believe all those basic essentials that I have listed earlier in Step 2 - believe (chapter 15). If so, then there is nothing to stop you from becoming a Christian right now.
If you still feel in doubt as to whether you are a sinner, or as to whether you genuinely believe in Jesus, then wait. Keep reading your Bible daily. Keep praying to God to help you to wholeheartedly repent and believe. Also ask him to help you to get past any obstacles or blockages which might be hindering you from becoming a Christian.