The Bible calls us to live in a manner that is worthy of our calling (Ephesians 4:1), to grow in conformity to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), and to walk in the good works that God has prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). In response to the mercies of God, we should present our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to Him (Romans 12:1–2). The following practical guidelines are taken from the Bible in order to aid us in this magnificent quest.
Study the Bible
We must grow in our knowledge of God, our knowledge of all that He has done for us in Christ, and our knowledge of His will for our lives. We must be strengthened in our faith, encouraged in our obedience, and conformed to the image of God. This can be accomplished only through reading, studying, memorizing, and obeying the Bible. The Bible is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:15–17). For this reason, we must be diligent to know its truths and apply them to our lives (2 Timothy 2:15). Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Devotion to Prayer
God speaks to us through the Bible, and we speak to God through prayer. We can do nothing by ourselves (John 15:4–5), but we can become fruitful by depending on Christ’s power and making our needs known to Him in prayer (John 15:7–8). The Bible abounds with teachings on the necessity of prayer, the benefits of prayer, and the promises of blessing for all who pray (Matthew 7:7–11; Luke 11:1–13; James 4:2). For these reasons and more, we should devote ourselves to prayer and never lose heart (Luke 18:1; Colossians 4:2).
Prayer is communing and conversing with God. It includes worship, or praise; giving thanks; requesting that God’s will might be accomplished in our lives, our families, our churches, and the world; requesting that God would meet our needs according to His wisdom; and confessing sin and requesting spiritual strength to overcome. One of the best ways to learn to pray is to study the prayers of the Bible. One of the most helpful is the model prayer found in Matthew 6:9–13.
Public Identification with Christ through Baptism
We are saved by faith alone, but Christ commands those who believe to publicly identify with Him and His people through baptism (Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 8:36–37).
Fellowship with a Biblical Church
It is God’s will that all true believers unite themselves with a community of like-minded believers (Hebrews 10:23–25). Some of the characteristics of a biblical church include the following:
- a commitment to the inerrancy and sufficiency of the Bible
- an appreciation for biblical truth and a passion to preach and teach it
- a fidelity to orthodox, Trinitarian Christianity, such as is found in the classic confessions of faith arising from the Reformation
- a high view of God and a recognition of man’s sinfulness and need
- the conviction that Christ and His gospel are central and pre-eminent in the Christian faith
- a biblical understanding of conversion leading to repentance, faith, and holiness
- a dedication to biblical worship in the fear of God in contrast to entertainment or emotionalism
- leadership consisting of men who are holy, humble, and able to teach, who lay down their lives for the believers under their care and exercise pastoral discipline over them
- a commitment to biblical counseling and church discipline
- a genuine pursuit of Christlikeness, holiness, and love with a brokenness over its own shortcomings and a refusal to exalt itself over other sound and faithful churches
- a real and observable commitment to evangelism and missions
- a dependence upon God expressed in regular meetings for fer-vent prayer