You have recognized your sin and what the cost of that sin is. You have repented and are trusting in Jesus alone for your salvation. What do you do now? That is a question most of us have when we start our walk with Jesus or at some point in our walk. Ideally we will have a brother or sister in the faith there to help us with those first steps. Someone to help us understand the basics of our faith and help us focus more on listening to the Holy Spirit rather than just trying to quench our burning desire for more knowledge. That may seem like an odd thing to say when hunger to know more of the things of God is a really good thing, but if you’ll bear with me for a bit I’ll show you my reason for saying it. In anything that we do there are ways of doing it that work, ways that do not work, and ways that are later made to work after having to deal with the problems created by the using the ways that do not work. The basics matter. Without a firm understanding of the basics of something and the knowledge of how to apply those basics it is extremely difficult to get anything done. There are far more ways that do not work or that work poorly than I have time to go over. I will focus on the right way to grow as a Christian. Once you’ve learned that and have begun putting those simple disciplines into action you will be far more able to discern the “right way”. The first and most important thing you have to do is pray. I cannot stress this enough. Every single thing we do as a believer hinges on understanding God’s will for us and knowing when He is speaking to us. We must be able to distinguish between the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the guidance of an unholy spirit, and our own selfish desires. We have to know God’s voice and we learn to recognize his voice through prayer. At this point it would probably be wise to define what prayer is. Prayer is an earnest request made of God. It is a plea to the Creator and Savior of our souls. It is us desperately reaching out to our Father like the children we are. It is also a conversation with God, and like any conversation “listening” is required. Our relationship with Jesus starts with prayer (calling on Jesus to save us). Prayer can never be taken from you. It requires no tools or memorization. It does not even require a physical voice. The reason prayer is so important is simple. It is the first and greatest method for learning and knowing the “voice” of God. If the “voice” talking to us is different we will know IF we have learned to know the “voice” of God through prayer (listening to Him in particular). The second primary method is scripture. I won’t argue semantics about the errancy or inerrancy of the bible. That is not relevant at the moment. I will say this. The scriptures are a record of what God’s people have learned (usually the hard way) through the ages and of what God has shown them. It’s worth and power to change us for the better has been proven in countless lives and in my own. It is God speaking to us (part of prayer) and it is fellowship (learning from) believers that have since gone home. It also shows us a standard. God does not change. If what we “hear” God saying runs contrary to scriptural teaching then it is not of God. The third primary method is fellowship with other believers (not just with the “leaders”). We all get stuck on stupid at times, or there may be something that we have simply not yet learned, or that we are currently just unwilling to accept. By talking with other believers we share what we have learned and what they have experienced. They may have spent more time in prayer than us and be better able to recognize the “tone” of what we feel God is telling us. Someone else in the fellowship may have already been through what we are currently dealing with. Their knowledge of scripture may be greater than our own or their way of looking at things may open up an aspect of scripture that we have just not seen yet. Also, sharing what we have been shown helps to keep us in check if we start to go off the deep end. None of these methods is foolproof either separately or together. Since we tend to be fools and we have this terminal condition known as being human we want to be right and tend to stop listening (which precludes all three of the above methods) when we hear or see something we like. Place your focus on Jesus. Seek Him and His will above all else. He will take care of His children.