Avoid These New Believer Pitfalls
1. Impatience. We want to become a mature Christian overnight. We want to have an understanding of spiritual things, and we want everything to be changed immediately. Be patient. Good things only come through perseverance and with time.
2. Our failings. Now that you have committed your life to the Lord, it's easy to expect yourself to always act with pure intentions and to walk perfectly before God. When we fail, which we all do, we can become very disappointed with ourselves and become discouraged. The Christian walk is one of learning to turn over areas of our life for God to handle. When we try to do things in our own strength, we will fail. But as we mess up, we learn to trust God in those areas of our life. So God uses our failings to help us grow in him. Don't become frustrated when you fail. Think of it as an opportunity for God to teach you how to better trust in him.
3. Not understanding the Bible. As a new believer, it's easy to become frustrated at our lack of Biblical knowledge. Often, we have no idea where any of the books of the Bible are located, and it seems that everyone else is so much more spiritually mature than we are that we will never catch up. Like anything else, knowledge of the Bible comes from reading and studying the Bible. When you entered kindergarten, you didn't think that you would understand algebra, did you? It's the same with God's word. God will give you understanding as you learn his word one day at a time. You will be amazed at how quickly the Holy Spirit will reveal God's truths to you as you read the Bible.
4. Feelings. When we make a commitment to Jesus, we are often filled with tremendous feelings of God's love, peace, and joy. We are excited. But then when something bad happens to us, we may lose that initial joy, and since the feelings are gone, we may question whether we are saved or not. We are not saved by feelings. We are saved because God did a work in our life. The Bible confirms this to us. Sometimes we have to walk by faith. Whether you feel glad or sad, know that God still loves you, and he is with you to help you along the way.
5. Doubts. The Bible tells us that after God plants His Word in our heart, the enemy comes to try to fill us with doubt. You may question whether God really did something miraculous in your life. Remember, we are saved by faith, and we live by faith. Doubt can only grow in our hearts if we allow faith to take a vacation.
6. The reaction of friends and relatives. The reaction of those who knew us before we were saved can be unexpected. We may lose friends: we no longer have the same values as they do. Our family may consider us weird or fanatical. Old friends may get mad at us when we don't do the same old things with them as we used to, such as partying or doing drugs. We don't want to shut out friends or relatives, but we may have to choose between them and the Lord. We can still show them love, but we soon discover that the way we look at things has changed.
7. Answers to prayer. As a new believer, you may have a desire to get everyone in your family saved, and see your whole neighbourhood come to church with you. Or you may pray for God to instantly heal you or solve your financial problems or deliver you from bad habits. We sometimes pray and expect God to immediately grant our prayer request. God wants to see your family saved. But he allows them to decide: he forces no man to serve him. God desires only good for you, but he wants you to learn step-by-step how to trust in him. If God would instantly deliver us from all of our problems, we would never learn how to trust him. When we pray, God always answers. But sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no, and sometimes wait. We need to trust that he knows what's best for us. So when you pray, always pray "according to your will." But don't ever forget that prayer changes things. Pray for your loved ones, pray for healing, pray for deliverance. God has promised that our prayers are very effective.
8. A rosy outlook. When we first become a Christian, we may have the idea that everything is going to be wonderful and all our problems are solved. As long as we live in this sinful world, there will be problems, confusion, and turmoil in our life. We are not immune to these things. The difference is we have someone to guide us through our difficult times, and someone who has promised that whatever happens to us will work out for our own good. As we learn to trust in Jesus, we will discover that we can have peace even in the most trying of circumstances.