Written By Bree Rostic, USA
I dedicated my life to Christ at the age of 17. I was in the garage then, and the (what I now know to be) Holy Spirit caused unexplainable gratefulness to consume me.
Out of the blue, I began thanking God for everything He’d given me—all the blessings, set-backs and experiences in life. I fell to the cement floor weeping, in my garage full of lawn equipment, dust, and the smell of motor oil.
It was one of my best, but also most awkward, moments. Eventually, I collected my thoughts and got my emotions under control. While I was overjoyed with my decision to give God my life, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Now what?”
Throughout our lives, we often have the chance to ask ourselves, “Now what?” We graduate high school. Now what? Go to university and get a degree. Now what? Start a career, get engaged, build a family. Now what?
I have found that we ask the same thing about our faith. Being saved is a significant milestone for every born-again believer. We have been saved through our faith in Jesus Christ and by His grace alone. But once we are saved, what should we do? Are we required to do anything? Is salvation the beginning? Or the end of our faith journey?
Below are three things I’ve found incredibly beneficial in my faith journey since that day in the garage, and I hope they can help you as well.
1. Drawing near to God
God desires a relationship with us. And giving our lives to Him opens the best relationship we’ll ever have. Like any other friendship, an intimate and meaningful bond requires work. It takes time to get to know a person, and the same is true of God. We must invest time to see the relationship develop and mature. The Bible says that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).
We can draw near to God in a number of ways—through daily devotional time, studying and meditating on His word, prayer, and fasting. These are great everyday disciplines for increasing in the knowledge of God.
However, we shouldn’t get so caught up in legalities that we turn the relationship into a set of religious practices. Spiritual disciplines are about creating consistent communication in the intimate spaces of God, without becoming ritualistic and unavailable for spontaneity.
God can meet us in the most unexpected places if we make time and listen for Him. Sometimes I’d jump in my car without a destination, asking God where He wants to go—we’ve ended up in some very unique places. I’ve also found that praying in nature, or cooking and singing worship songs, are good ways for me to freely connect with Him. Invite God into your daily life, and He will show up.
2. Understanding the Kingdom of God
As we draw near to God, specifically as we read the Bible, we start to encounter teaching about the Kingdom of God. God is the King of kings, and the Bible is a story about the King, His kingdom, and His creation. It is important that we seek to understand the Kingdom message.
The Kingdom of God isn’t just our destination in heaven, but our current reality and function on earth (Luke 17:21). In simple terms, the kingdom of God is about God’s reign over all things, not just in heaven (Psalms 103:19). When we repent and submit to the lordship of Christ, we are already part of the kingdom of God. In Matthew 3:2, Jesus said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven has come near.”
The Kingdom message has helped me grow in my journey. No longer do I think of my salvation as just my ticket to heaven. Now I see that I am restored as a co-heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17), and so I have the responsibility to live under Jesus’ reign here and now.
In John 14:12, Jesus says that all who believe in Him will go on to do greater work than He. Understanding that God is working in our world and in our lives right now means that I do not merely look forward to life after death. Instead, by God’s grace I can serve as salt and light in the world, trusting that He will use even the likes of me to build His Kingdom.
3. Making Disciples
And finally, once we’ve learned to continually draw near to God, and once we understand the message of the Kingdom, we can make disciples. Jesus told His disciples to go out and teach all nations, making disciples in His name (Matthew 28:18-20). This is known as the Great Commission.
The word “disciple” means to become a follower or student. In other words, Jesus is instructing us to teach what He’s taught. It’s our responsibility to foster relationships that show people Jesus’ great work, our identity in Christ, and the good news of the Kingdom. By doing this, we serve as a living example of what it looks like to follow Christ. And because of our transformation through our salvation, as well as time spent drawing near to God, we can inspire others to be transformed as well.
I’ve found that making disciples doesn’t have to be as frightening or as challenging as I used to believe. Instead, making disciples is about loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to save people. I would feel responsible for forcing others to learn the gospel. I used to focus on getting people into the church building, instead of showing them the love of Christ first.
In reality, we can’t save people; we simply live a life that points to the Savior. When we make disciples, we show them how great God is and what He’s done for us. It’s about a relationship, one that ultimately creates a desire for a relationship with God.
I strive to live my life that shows my unsaved family what Jesus means to me. But now I’m careful not to push my faith on them. Instead, I love them and share the good things happening in my life. Amazingly, this encourages them to ask me about the God I serve. Making disciples can happen in many settings: church, work, school, and especially in our own homes.
Earlier in this article, I asked the question, is giving our lives to Jesus the beginning or the ending of our faith journey? Based on what I’ve learned, I would say that it’s just the beginning. Salvation is the gateway to drawing near to God, understanding His Kingdom message, and making disciples.