For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB


New Life of Beauty and Grace

The "Starter Kit"

If you are a new Christian, you need to know that even though you have been given a great “starter kit” of heavenly blessings, it carries no guarantee you will have a happy or wholesome life. Make sure you know what’s in it, but don’t stop there: Put it to good use gaining these three essential “extras.”

Everyone Gets This to Get Started!

Our loving Father showered us with so much in the first moment of conversion that it takes a separate article just to list the things God was doing behind the scenes. One tragedy you will Gardening Starter Kit : Things New Christians Need to Knowcertainly want to avoid is having so many gifts, but not having the slightest idea what they are or how to access them. Not every Christian is aware of what God gave them in conversion. If you want to make sure that you are “in the know”, see What is the new birth?

Practically every Christian is aware of what we are calling here, the "starter kit." These are the obvious items of the new life that everyone seems to get. Other items may be like an inheritance in the bank from a distant relative—on deposit in our name, but possibly unknown to us. These are in our spiritual hands for ready use.

1) Knowing who Jesus is.
2) Experiencing the forgiveness of our sins.
3) Receiving the hope of heaven.
4) Having the Holy Spirit within us.
5) Believing that the Bible is God's Word.

That’s a lot of spiritual capital! Check to make sure you have received these very important items in your starter kit. There are certainly other things that you may be aware of that you personally experienced or were shown in the moment of your conversion. Hold on to them too.

Nevertheless, as great as these five main elements of the starter kit are, you need to know that every other Christian was given them, but not every Christian lives a happy or wholesome life. Evidently, the starter kit it not enough to "guarantee" a desirable life for everyone. You will have to learn to "press in" to gain your full inheritance.[1]

Moving Beyond the “Starter Kit”

There are some things that you will have to purposefully go after, because they won’t just come to you.

1)    The Keys of the Kingdom. One major thing that goes beyond being born again is what Jesus said He would be giving to the disciples at Caesarea Philippi, the "keys to the Kingdom." Be sure to look these up. Not knowing what they are or how to use them is a major reason why so many Christians never get healed of their past hurts and live defeated and broken lives in the present. The keys give us access to the joy, peace and right ways of living, as well as the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Don't leave home without them!

2)    The Baptism of Power. Jesus also didn't want those early disciples to leave Jerusalem without something else: the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is often called the "second blessing" because it usually is not given in the moment of conversion, but has to be sought after and received later in the Christian's life. It was given to the first disciples a full 50 days after they received the indwelling Holy Spirit directly from the Risen Christ. After Jesus’ ascension they huddled in the upper room in prayer seeking this empowerment, not really knowing what it would be like or when it might come. Then on the great Day of Pentecost the Spirit came down upon them all and raised the previously born-again disciples to a new level of spiritual empowerment.

3)    Trust and Obedience. You will definitely need a holy and very rugged determination to keep your focus on Jesus by seeking to trust and follow Him with every step you take. In fact there is an old gospel hymn that expresses this truth perfectly: “There is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”[2] Being faithful doesn’t mean being perfect (that is not possible for any of us, even with the full help of heaven). It means you are doing your level best to live in a way that would be pleasing to Him. This means believing in Him enough to trust Him with what He allows and trusting Him enough to do things His way. To keep your new found faith in good repair, requires a lot of work, but that is the most important work we have been assigned.[3]

Putting the “Starter Kit” to Good Use

Salvation is not just about getting you to heaven as important as that is. Nor is it just about receiving the forgiveness of your sins as necessary as that is. Nor is it only about being given a new lease on life, the gift of the Holy Spirit and a right relationship with Father God. These are all tremendous gifts to be sure, but they are only parts of the "starter kit!"

As one pastor joked, "If all God wanted to do was save you and get you to heaven, he would have had one person to lead you to Christ and another right there to shoot you!"  Our Lord has plans to grow us and use us, both for our delight, the needs of others, and His glory. To be prepared for all our new life entails, put that “starter kit” you’ve received to good use while you are still hanging around the base camp.

There are five very important things, for instance, that you need to learn how to cultivate by using your “Starter Kit” with them, because your new life in Christ depends upon them the way your physical body depends upon food and water to keep going strong: Bible, prayer, worship, fellowship and service. We call these the "Big Five" Connecters. They are so important that they require a section of their own.

Scriptures and Foot Notes

[1]  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV  Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 ESV
[2] John H. Sammis (1846-1919), lyrics: "Trust and Obey."
[3] Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." John 6:28-29 ESV