Christians are not just supposed to wait around waiting for the time they will go to heaven.
“God is just as concerned about our lives right now,” said famous evangelist Billy Graham.
Writing for a column in The Kansas City Star, Graham answered the question of a high school student who recently surrendered his life to Christ.
“I’m in high school, and I decided to give my life to Jesus at a church camp this summer. I know this means I’ll go to heaven when I die, but what am I supposed to do in the meantime?” the student asked.
Graham said it’s to know the “great truths” that a person’s sins are forgiven in Christ and one will go to heaven after death, a truth that was accomplished by the death and resurrection of Jesus. But what a Christian does right now is also important, and God is concerned about it, too, Graham added.
The evangelist said God wants “to guide us and help us live pure lives.”
He also cited Matthew 5:14-16, which says, “You are the light of the world. … Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Graham said God He also wants our lives to bear witness for Christ and point people to Jesus so that they may be saved.
Christians who have just come to know Christ are like newborn babies. They can be considered as “spiritual babies,” said Graham. Like real babies, spiritual babies need food. And like babies, spiritual babies are in the process of learning many things for the first time.
“Just as a baby needs food, so we need the “food” of God’s Word, the Bible. Just as a baby needs to learn to talk, so we need to learn to pray. And just as a baby needs to be helped and protected by others, so we need other believers to help and protect us,” Graham said.
He emphasized the importance of being in the Word, praying and fellowshiping with other believers in the life of a Christian. God desires for Christians to grow and become more like His Son. This is possible, Graham said, as a believer’s faith becomes stronger.
Some Christians turn away from the faith. In another article for The Kansas City Star, Graham said there are many reasons why people abandon their faith.
He named three of them: busyness; clinging to friends who don’t believe in God and eventually feeling pressured to do the same; and believing that faith and intelligence do not come together.
He also said Christians, particularly those who got introduced to Christ in their youth, often leave the faith because “their faith was too shallow and it lacked any real commitment,” and because they did not realize their faith needs to grow.
He encouraged the student with James 4:8: “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
“I’m thankful you made your commitment to Jesus Christ this summer, and I pray you will learn to follow him the rest of your life. May you always ‘continue in your faith, established and firm’ (Colossians 1:23),” Graham wrote.