Mental Health Connect has adopted the traditional version of the Apostle’s Creed as our statement of faith in addition to the following Bible verses. We are also including here an essay on what it means to be a Christian.
The Apostles Creed
We believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
We believe that, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
We believe “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
We believe Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father” except through Him. (John 14:6)
What does it mean to be a Christian?
The simple definition of a “Christian” is someone who believes in Jesus Christ and follows Him as the Savior of the world. However, that description does not even come close to describing what it means to live as a Christian every day.
When we make a decision to follow Jesus, we enter into a personal relationship with God through faith in His one and only Son. As a result of this relationship, we receives the most precious gift of all—eternal life in the presence of our awesome, loving, and generous God. When we place our life in God’s hands, we also receive the Holy Spirit as a constant companion for guidance in daily life.
While there is no guarantee that being a Christian will bring physical and material blessings, the spiritual blessings far outweigh anything our human minds can grasp. Knowing that the God of the universe loves us and will never leave us can be a great comfort when we feel like the world has turned its back on us. Regardless of circumstances that may come our way, when we look at the world from an eternal perspective, a peace as soothing as a gentle breeze fills our soul. Joy overflows at the prospect of an unending future surrounded by friends in the faith, sisters and brothers from all generations, and, amazingly, our Savior Jesus himself.
It is only by entering into this relationship with Christ that we will enjoy such an incredible eternal future. Do you feel the Spirit tugging at your heart? Is a still small voice calling into your mind that the time is right to trust in God? Are you ready for a life-changing experience? My prayers go out to all of you who are preparing to undergo this life transformation!
Recognizing My Human State
The journey to acknowledging the need for a savior begins with recognizing our human condition. Four teachings from the Bible can open our eyes to our sinful human nature.
(1) We live in a world of fallen people.
Any problem we encounter, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, is ultimately a result of the sin that entered the world with Adam and Eve’s disobedience toward God. It is only through Christ that we have hope of being forgiven.
You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it. (Romans 5:12-14, The Message)
(2) We are influenced greatly by spiritual forces of evil.
Satan and his demons are a reality. How could anyone reject that teaching with the state of the world today? When we deny the existence of the devil, we can be blinded to his influence in our lives. Being aware of Satan’s presence is an important step in understanding the extent of our need for the victorious power of God.
One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” (Job 1:6-7, NIV)
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9, NIV)
(3) We will encounter situations outside of our control.
Life in this world is hard. Some events can even cause us extreme emotional pain or trauma. As a reaction to these events, we may try to ‘fix’ our problems on our own or even make poor choices leading to additional distress. The feeling of having no control is common to humans because . . . ultimately, we cannot control everything in our lives!
Before he had finished speaking, another servant came and said, “Lightning struck the sheep and the shepherds and killed them all. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” Before he had finished speaking, another servant came and said, “Three bands of Chaldean raiders attacked us, took away the camels, and killed all your servants except me. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” Before he had finished speaking, another servant came and said, “Your children were having a feast at the home of your eldest son, when a storm swept in from the desert. It blew the house down and killed them all. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.” Then Job stood up and tore his clothes in grief. He shaved his head and threw himself face downwards on the ground. (Job 1:16-20, GNT)
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalms 118:5-6, ESV)
(4) When sin was introduced, the physical body began the process of decaying.
Our emotional, physical, and spiritual health are all affected by the sin in this world.
We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:14-18)
These four situations—human nature, demonic influence, unfortunate circumstances, and our decaying bodies—can contribute to our trials and temptations. The bottom line is this – we are in desperate need of a savior!
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Matthew 9:10-12, NIV)
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19, NIV)
Recognizing Jesus Christ as Savior
There is only one person who is capable of completely saving us. Jesus came to Earth, God in human form, so that he could pay the penalty for our sin. Our holy God is not capable of looking at sin, so something had to be done in order to reconcile us to the God who created us and has always loved us. When Christ died on the cross, He paid the full price for our sin, all sin – past, present, and future! God is simply waiting for us to open our eyes to the great gift available for those who believe.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV)
You have begun to live the new life, in which you are being made new and are becoming like the One who made you. This new life brings you the true knowledge of God. (Colossians 3:10, NCV)
Surrendering to the Lord
When we begin to understand the previous points, it is time to consider taking the next step. How does one receive the gift that God has to offer? It’s actually quite simple: ask God’s forgiveness and invite Jesus to come into your life.
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. (1 John 1:9, NLT)
Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9, NRSV)
Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God’s likeness—righteous, holy, and true. (Ephesians 4:21-24, NLT)
A Sample Prayer
I know that for some of you, this could be the first prayer you have ever prayed. That’s okay! The important thing to remember is that prayer is having a conversation with a real and living God who loves you desperately. He hears your every word and knows your every thought. He is ready to listen when you are ready to talk. So, please feel free to use the following sample prayer word-for-word or simply as a guide to your own personal expression of faith.
Dear God, please help me! I know I am a sinner. I know I need you. Forgive me for the mistakes I’ve made and for looking for answers to life in the wrong places. Please forgive me for giving in to temptation over and over again. Jesus, I am ready to begin a new life, with you as my Savior and Lord. Jesus, please come into my heart today. Amen.
How Do We Say Thank You?
Wow! If you prayed a prayer asking Christ into your heart, you are ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime!! This journey will continue long after life on earth is done and far into an eternity we cannot even fathom. Even if you have been a Christian for many years, every day is a new opportunity to grow closer to the Lord and let Him mold your life for His purpose.
The gift of eternal life is the greatest gift you will ever receive. Once you have entered into a relationship with God through His son, Jesus, the natural response to receiving such a gift is to say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!!” The way you choose to express your love and appreciation to God depends on several things. What are you passionate about? How has God gifted you? How can you serve the Lord so that others recognize your new approach to life? Only you, with guidance from the Holy Spirit, can answer those questions. It is exciting to know that your expression of gratitude to the Lord will continue to grow as you deepen in your relationship with Christ.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)
Please note: It is essential to join a body of believers who can help you grow in your faith and understanding of who Jesus is and how He can work in your life. Reading the Bible helps you get to know God better as you learn the history of our faith and the teachings of Jesus and the writers of the New Testament. May God bless you.
Caroline Cooper, Executive Director. firstname.lastname@example.org