Walking with Jesus is More Than Just a ‘Yes’ at the Altar — It’s What Happens Afterwards

Composed by: Charlotte Elliott

Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee
Oh, Lamb of God, I come, I come

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt
Fighting and fears within without
Oh, Lamb of God, I come, I come
Ooh, just as I am, ooh, I come

Ooh, just as I am, oh Lamb of God, I come
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
Because Thy promise I believe
Oh, Lamb of God, I come, I come

Ooh, just as I am, ooh, I come
Ooh, just as I am, oh Lamb of God, I come
Oh lamb of God, I come

Some of you will remember this treasured hymn. For many of us, it was the timeless song that was sung by the congregation as the faithful made their way down the aisle to the front of the altar believing that GOD loved them and redeemed them. It was the first step (of many) taken in faith towards the loving Almighty GOD, where we would experience Him as Father and Savior.

And just as the song declares, we exercised that new found fresh faith in GOD Whom we just met — approaching Him just as we were. Maybe a little bloody and bruised, worn out of our minds, desperate for some relief from just trying to live to see the next day (or possibly not see it). We moved towards those unbelievably strong Arms to be embraced and loved on.

But what happened after the tears were wiped away and the hugs had become memories … when the ‘new Believer Bible’ was placed in your hands and the phone numbers of prayer warriors were jotted down on bits of paper and shoved into your pocket? Did all those tender moments of connection flourish into community and Bible studies that became mentoring and encouraging sessions? Or did the excitement of forgiveness simply fade into the sunset at the end of the week?

I’ve met some folks whose experience was just that. No more than a raised hand, a standing in the aisle or a walk to the front of the church to be prayed over. After exiting the four walls, or leaving the event, there was no follow-up. No plan of action. The newness never got the chance to bloom and blossom. That relationship with the GOD to Whom you professed all loyalty was never nurtured and you have wandered and stumbled ever since.

Relationships with other people are much the same. They need nurturing and time to develop and grow. But in order to experience any kind of relationship there must be communication.

When we communicate with our friends and loved ones, it is proof of our love and care for them. The exchange of dialogue shows genuine concern for one another’s well being. When things are not so good, it’s the opportunity to reach out and fill a need or show support and comfort.

Communication with our Heavenly Father is in the form of prayer. Jesus even taught His Disciples how to navigate through this:

Pray like this:

‘Our Beloved Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms,
    may the glory of your name
    be the center on which our lives turn.
10 Manifest your kingdom realm,
    and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth,
    just as it is in heaven.
11 We acknowledge you as our Provider
    of all we need each day.
12 Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves
    release forgiveness to those who have wronged us.
13 Rescue us every time we face tribulation
    and set us free from evil.
    For you are the King who rules
    with power and glory forever. Amen.’ Matthew 6:9-13 The Passion Translation

Our Heavenly Father has all the time to listen to you, 24/7. In fact, He wants to hear from you all the time.

As we learn to be mindful of the fact that Jesus is in us, we come to understand more fully that He is also with us in our everyday living. We need not assume a posture of bent knees or prostrate on the floor every time we wish to speak to Him. He accepts our prayers in silence just as much as out loud. It’s the posture of our hearts that He is interested in.

But minor details such as prayer and communication with the Living GOD is just par for the course. There are things that are found in daily pursuit of GOD in His Written Word — the Bible. The Holy Spirit indwells the Believer, and is our Teacher, Guide and Comforter. GOD will connect with us through His Written Word when we seek Him with all our heart.

Yet, like eating physical food for our physical bodies, we cannot expect the ‘meal’ of a Sunday sermon to keep us filled for the next six days. We will need a daily feasting on the Word. And merely showing up to meet and greet other church members is not what qualifies as actively seeking the Lord.

He wants us One-to-one. Just as He met us at our time of salvation. In that moment of transparency before GOD, He met us, knowing full well where we had been and all that we had done.

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Ephesians 4:11-14 NLT

We are strongly encouraged by the Apostle Paul to continue growing and maturing in the faith so that we will not fall prey to the schemes of the devil and his evil forces. If we are not trained in the knowledge of the power of our new identity, we are vulnerable by choice and will not experience the victory and transformation that awaits us as Children of GOD. Worse case scenario, we fall victim to false teaching and end up worse than ever, being deceived and manipulated.

So, allow me to ask you today: “What is the evidence of your maturity in the Lord? Have you grown since you first grabbed the Hem of His Garment? Have you gone beyond the altar call and called others?”

We need mentors in our life as we walk this Journey with Jesus. People who will come alongside us, pray with us, lead us, teach us and seek GOD with us. Who would organize a sports team, hand them a ball, and say, “Now, go out there and win the game,” without ever coaching or leading or teaching the members of the team? It would lead to confusion due to a lack of direction. And that, Friend, is what happens if all we have experienced is merely a ‘yes at the altar.’

There’s the commitment to learning and growing in the love of Christ — studying and understanding the Word of GOD will lead us to be knowledgeable about what this new life is all about, teaching us about the Character of GOD, what His Word says about relating to others and being part of the Body of Christ (the Church). Obviously salvation means that we recognize and admit that the lifestyle we had before our Come to Jesus meeting is no longer valid. In other words, we are repenting and turning away from something that separated us from GOD to begin with. If there is no repentance, there is no relationship. This is the reason Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins. He is our Mediator. He is our Advocate before the Father.

12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Hebrews 5:14 NLT

If this is news to you, then you are in need of a mentor to help you understand this through the Scriptures. Simply showing up for church is not being saved. Merely saying that you ‘believe in GOD’ is not evidence of a transformed life. All of this takes time — on a daily basis. Just as we were growing from childhood into adulthood; it didn’t happen overnight.

Maybe you’re asking yourself, “How do I find a mentor?” Pray that the Lord will send you someone within your local church. That’s a great place to start. Seek out a mature woman in the faith (not necessarily someone chronologically older). Or if you already belong to a community within a small group or Bible study, inquire there. Effort to get out and meet others will open up opportunities to get connected. There are even opportunities through the miracle of virtual and online connectivity — go for it! There’s no wall that GOD can’t kick down to provide a way for you to have more of Himself.

Allow me to say this, Friend: the same enthusiasm and energy that you devote to your favorite activities (watching movies, reading books, going shopping, shopping online, video games, crafting, playing sports, etc.), should be second to your pursuit of the Living GOD Who adores you and believes you were worth dying for.

May you keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking … so that you may be filled to overflowing with the peace, knowledge and love of Christ.

so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:10 NIV

But continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May he receive all the glory both now and until the day eternity begins. Amen! 2 Peter 3:18 TPT

I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary

*Thank you to Carrie Underwood for this.

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