New converts to Christianity need to grow in spiritual maturity, says the Rev. Billy Graham, responding to a question from a young believer who wants to know what they should be doing in their life before they go to Heaven.
In a question and answer column published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on Monday, Graham was asked what a Christian is supposed to do after they're saved and profess their faith in Jesus Christ.
"I'm in high school, and I decided to give my life to Jesus at a church camp this summer. I know this means I'll go to Heaven when I die, but what am I supposed to do in the meantime?" the student asked.
Graham responded that the new convert needs to grow in spiritual maturity, because "God is just as concerned about our lives right now."
"You see, the Bible says that when we first come to Jesus, we are like newborn babies — spiritual babies. Just as a baby needs food, so we need the 'food' of God's Word, the Bible," wrote Graham.
"Just as a baby needs to learn to talk, so we need to learn to pray. And just as a baby needs to be helped and protected by others, so we need other believers to help and protect us."
In keeping with this biblical reasoning, Graham encouraged the new believer to make Bible study an integral component of their daily life.
"Make God's Word, and prayer and fellowship with other believers a part of your life every day," Graham said. "God wants you to become more and more like Jesus — and you will, as your faith grows stronger. The Bible says, 'Come near to God and He will come near to you' (James 4:8)."
This is not the first time that Graham has touched upon the subject of spiritual growth for the believer, be they raised in the faith or a new convert.
In his syndicated advice column published by the Kansas City Star on New Year's Day, Graham responded to person who asked how they could become "a better Christian during the year."
"Every year I make the same resolution, but when I look back at the end of the year it doesn't seem like much has really changed," inquired the person.
Graham stressed the need for spiritual growth, replying that "God doesn't want us to stand still or grow stale spiritually; he wants to change our lives."
"Just as we need food to grow and become strong physically, so we need spiritual 'food' to grow and become strong spiritually. And God has provided that 'food' for us, by giving us His Word, the Bible, and prayer, and fellowship with other believers," added Graham.
"This year — beginning today — set aside time every day to be alone with God — even if it's only a few minutes at first. Read a portion of the Bible (perhaps from Psalms or one of the Gospels), asking God to help you understand it and apply it to your life. Then take time to pray, thanking God for His goodness, and bringing your concerns to Him."