June 29, 2020

How Does a New Christian Grow?

In partnership with our friends at 9Marks, we recently released the First Steps series—a set of nine books to help new believers grow in their faith. I asked Isaac Adams—who contributed to the series—several questions about his book Training: How Do I Grow as a Christian?

1. To start, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in Washington D.C. and have lived here basically my whole life, except for school in North Carolina and a short missions stint in Brazil. I currently serve as an assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in D.C. My wife, Megan, and I have a couple of ridiculously cute kids, by God’s grace, and when I’m not chasing them around, I lead a ministry called United? We Pray, which is devoted to praying about racial strife—especially between Christians. 

2. Your book Training aims to help new believers grow in their walk with the Lord. What does it mean to grow as a Christian, and why is that important?

In Colossians 1:28, Paul writes: “[Jesus] we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” The very point of Paul proclaiming Christ was that people might grow in Him—that is, grow in relationship with Him, grow in knowledge of Him, grow in being like Him.

Such growth is important because that’s what we were made to do—enjoy God and bring him glory. We can’t enjoy someone we don’t know. What helps us know God are spiritual disciplines.

“Discipline” might sound unpleasant, but spiritual disciplines are paths to enjoying God, not rituals to check off a spiritual to-do list. Just as a wife wants to grow in relationship with the husband she loves, so we seek to grow in our love and relationship with the Lord. If we don’t, we’ll miss out on the point of our entire lives.

3. Who, in particular, do you hope this book will serve?

I say in the opening that I hope this book serves people in the hood. Whether that’d be the compounds in Zambia or favellas in Brazil, I hope these books go to under-resourced areas that I can’t. That’s what first attracted me to the project when I was asked to write it. I also hope the book serves people who are just getting started in the faith, whoever that might be. Even if someone has been a Christian for a long time, a lot of us have some basic questions about some basic things. What is prayer? How do I read my Bible and enjoy it? I hope those folks are helped by the work, too.

4. In the early days of your walk with the Lord, what elements of ‘training’ proved to be especially helpful? As you’ve matured as a Christian, have those things changed or mostly stayed the same?

The most helpful element was two-fold, and the one fed the other: 1) Being a part of a good church and 2) reading my Bible. The first encouraged and trained me how to do the second. Neither were optional. Both were wonderful. As I’ve matured, those things have stayed mostly the same—with the exception of what I hope to be a growing prayer life, though even today I was thinking, “I want to pray more.”

5. Let’s say a new Christian has just finished your book. What are two things you’d especially want them to take away?

One, that we never graduate from the basics of the Christian life. The second we think we have is the second we prove we haven’t. It’s so easy to think that the basic, biblical spiritual disciplines are just the diving board we jump off of as we enter into the rest of the Christian life. And what I pray folks understand is that, if we’re to live as faithful Christians, we never leave the basics behind.

Two, that we should never get over our salvation. My goodness, it’s scary how easy it is to take our salvation for granted. To think it’s not such a big deal. It’s a huge deal, and we ought never recover from the fact that God saved us. If we don’t recover, we will, by God’s grace, be trained in righteousness as we wait for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11–14).

You can order the First Steps series here, currently at a steep discount thanks to our friends at 10ofthose.

Watch this space for further interviews with other authors in this series.

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