Author’s note: This is a hypothetical letter to a new Christian who has just accepted Jesus. The focus is specific, but the truths are timeless.
Dear my new brother/sister in Christ,
I was reading Psalm 113 in my Bible this morning and found these verses:
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD! (v. 7-9)
There’s something so unique about these verses. In “Bible times,” the poor, the needy and the barren woman were three examples of people who didn’t belong in society. Look no further than the beggars Jesus encountered. And barren women were not able to give children, something important in a patriarchal society.
These verses reminded me of the love that you have just received in a very personal way for the first time. Get used to it. The greatest thing about being a Christian is that you’re now a recipient of the greatest love anyone will ever experience. It’s a love that looks past your past to you, to who you are now and who you will be forever. Oh my friend, God loved you then, He loves you now and He will always love you. Yes, like Celine Dion, He will always love you.
Forgive the pop culture reference, it’s something I do all the time with my friends, my family. Yes indeed, you are now a member of a big family, and this is the second greatest thing about being a Christian. You are now part of a club of people that have all received the same love you have. We’re not perfect, and we fight all the time. Good gracious, we fight. Sometimes we fight more than people that aren’t part of our family. But we have a perfect example of how to love one another from that love I talked about before, the love of the Father towards us.
Yes, God is your Father now. He’s your protector, your savior, your provider, your sustainer. I think of what Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-11,
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Let’s be real: the benefits of following Jesus are unreal.
But there’s also a price. I hope that you were told of what following Jesus will cost you. It will cost you friends, likely. You’re answering a call to seek to live a life that’s set apart, that’s spent in pursuit of truth and obedience. You will never do it perfectly – that’s what the grace you’re accepting is for. We have a guidebook – the Bible, that thing I hope you’ve read. It will be hard. It will be challenging. You will be stretched.
But it is entirely worth it. The peace and fulfillment that comes from following Jesus is unreal, and you won’t experience it until you get here, until you’ve accepted Him and you’re following Him. It will be an up-and-down journey, but it will be a worthy one.
One last thing: Don’t be afraid. There can be a lot of things to be afraid of around Christians – being judged for your weaknesses, not being “good enough,” not knowing enough, being too sinful. The right people won’t deny you because of those things, they’ll embrace you. In the body of Christ, your weaknesses don’t make you an outcast, they make you part of the family.
Welcome to that family, the family of God.