Step One - Be a Christian

The first step in living is to come to life. For human life this happens at birth; for divine life at Baptism. But for Baptism to bring us to life we have to believe. That is why Baptism is also called "the Sacrament of Faith."

 

What is the fundamental act of faith required for Baptism? John concludes his Gospel saying "these words are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name." The first step in coming to life is to believe in Jesus as the Savior sent from God.

 

To believe fully — and practically — in Jesus as Savior it is not enough just to make an act of faith in Jesus as the one who saved us by dying for our sins. Jesus is not just a lifeguard who pulls us to shore when we are drowning, to whom we will be eternally grateful, but whom we do not need anymore. To really believe in Jesus as Savior means to believe that we need him to save us from day to day, to save our lives here on this earth from veering off to destructiveness, distortion, mediocrity and meaninglessness. This requires constant, ongoing interaction with him.

 

Peter’s preaching about Jesus was, "There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved" (Acts 4:12). We understand this in a practical way when we pass through an act of "life-giving despair," realizing that nothing can save us from the destructive patterns of behavior programmed into us by our culture, from the distorted attitudes and values, the mixed-up priorities that we inherit as part of our "cultural conditioning" (and Original Sin) except knowing Jesus Christ, reflecting on his teachings, taking on his mind, converting to his values, patterning our lives on the example of his. This is what it means to accept Jesus as the Savior, and only Savior, of the world. This is what it means to accept him as our "personal Savior" — it means to let his Person be the one with whom we interact in the formation of our own persons, in the continuing, lifelong process of molding who we are.

 

God created us as "what" we are: as human beings, men and women. But by our free choices we create ourselves as "who" we are, as persons. Every free response to life determines the meaning our names will have for all eternity. To accept Jesus as Savior means that we decide to interact with him in everything we do: in the formation of our attitudes and values, in the selection of our goals and the means we will use to achieve them, in every free choice which shapes our souls. This is the choice to let his name be the name which determines the content and meaning of our own.

 

How do we do this? We do it by giving Jesus an active part in every area and activity of our lives. We let him live with us as Savior, work with us as Savior, relax with us as Savior. We give him an active role in what we do at home and on the job, in our social life, school life, professional activities. We ask his help before everything we do and while we are doing it; and we thank him when we are through. We keep ourselves aware of his presence when we are speaking, conscious of his reactions. We bounce all of our decisions off of him. At home we speak to him as a group and we let him lead us in discussions of his words, his example, the challenges of his life. We do the same in any group who are believers like ourselves. In any Christian gathering we explicitly include him. We don’t act as if we did not know him, as if he were not there. We make his invisible presence visible by the way it is reflected in our words and actions. We don’t join the silent conspiracy to ignore him.

 

The simplest way to do this is to form the habit of saying the W.I.T. prayer all day long (see below). From the moment you wake up and before everything you do: “Lord do this with me, do this in me, do this through me. It will make your whole day a mystical experience.

 

Jesus has breathed on us, filled us with his Spirit, sent us. He loves us, has freed us from our sins, made us into a kingdom. We need to give him glory by letting his power shine out in everything we do.


QUESTIONS

 

  • How has your life been made better or worse by certain attitudes, values, or ways of behaving that were "programmed into you" by our culture? Do you see anything in our society’s way of thinking or acting that is destructive? Distorted?

 

  • Do you think there might be other things that you don’t recognize as bad but which are liable to make your life less happy? What can help you recognize them? Does it have to be Jesus? Why?

 

  • Do you believe that Jesus can teach you the way to happiness in this life? Do you believe he can teach you truths that will correct what is false in our culture? Think about this: do you really believe it can happen?

 

  • What difference do you think it might make if you gave Jesus an active part to play in your family life? In school or at work? In your social life? In practice, how could you start interacting with him in these areas?

 

PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS: Try some of these to get started.

 

  • Say "Good Morning" to Jesus as soon as you wake up.

 

  • Thank him for his friendship every time you pour a cup of coffee.

 

  • Say His name every time you stop at a red light.

 

  • When you unlock a door ask for his help in whatever you are about to do.

 

  • Wear a piece of jewelry or a special watch and think of Jesus anytime you notice you are wearing it.

 

  • Use his name or some other meaningful word as your computer passw

 

  • Tie a ribbon around your TV remote and ask his help in finding something good to watch.

 

  • Every time your phone rings think, "Jesus is calling."
     

  • Imagine his hand on your shoulder whenever you walk through a doorway.

 

  • When you come home to your dog remember that Jesus Christ is just as happy to see you.

 

In all of the above, say the W.I.T. prayer. (W.I.T. stands for With, In, Through):

 

SUPPORT MATERIALS

To help you grow with Step 1 of the Immersed in Christ plan, we recommend to you

Fr. Knight's books (see Book Store) on this topic:

 

  • His Way: Chapters One and Two: Being a Christian today, Christ in your life

  • Reaching Jesus: Step One: The Choice to be a Christian

  • The Five Promises of Baptism: “The First Promise: A New Identity

  • Five Steps to the Father: “Phrase, Phase One: Our Father…in heaven: Awareness

  • Nuts and Bolts of Daily Spirituality, Chapter One: “The WIT Prayer”

  • Living the Sacraments: Chapters One and Two: Baptism and Relationship with Christ

  • Experiencing the Mass: The First Moment of Mystery: “The Introductory Rites”

  • A Fresh Look at Confession: Chapter One: “The Sacrament of Self-Identity”

  • Mary in an Adult Church: Chapter Three: The Immaculate Conception

  • Series on Matthew’s Gospel: Why Jesus: whole book

W.I.T. Prayer

 

Jesus, I give You my body.

 

Live this day with me;

live this day in me;

live this day through me.

 

Let me think

with Your thoughts,

speak with Your words,

and act as

Your body on earth.

© 2014 - 2018  by Immersed in Christ. All rights preserved.

Immersed in Christ is a 501 (c) (3) Charitable Organization.

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