Everyone loves ice cream. My favorite is homemade chocolate ice cream – two cans of sweetened condensed milk, a gallon of chocolate milk, and a little vanilla extract and WOW!!! That’s a simple recipe with a big flavor. But ice cream flavors aren’t as simple as vanilla and chocolate anymore. Did you know there’s an ice cream shop in Venezuela that sells more than 900 flavors? And you thought 31 flavors was a lot. One of their popular sellers is Spaghetti and Cheese. Yes, you read that right. I’m a fan of spaghetti and ice cream but together? Other weird flavors include caviar, garlic, octopus, blue cheese, squid ink, jalapeno, and horse meat. Now doesn’t that make you want to run out and get a scoop or two?
I’m sure somewhere in the world someone may enjoy one of those novelty flavors but probably most of us would pass. Do you know what the most popular flavor of all the flavors in the world are? Vanilla. Out of all the flavors in the world vanilla still tops the list. Simple, it seems, is best after all. There are some simple principles to the Christian faith that transcend time, style, and preference. These basics shape and fuel our Christian life. Take them away and you’ll have a hard time growing in the faith and in a relationship with Jesus. There are basics to anything. I have some basic responsibilities I remind my children of every day: brush your teeth, pick up your clothes, get in the bath, get dressed, etc. These really shape everything else when it comes to personal hygiene and cleanliness. The same is true for the Christian life – the basics are simple, yet, important.
The first basic principle of Christianity is remembering salvation comes from Christ. Jesus becomes your personal savior because you do what Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” The only name we are saved by is that of Jesus (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). If you do not give your life to Christ you cannot be saved. It’s like trying to make ice cream without milk. Without Jesus, you cannot be a Christian. Another basic principle is reading your Bible every day. Yes, every day. The Bible is food for your spiritual growth. Scripture calls it our “daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). We eat physical food multiple times a day. What makes us think all the spiritual food we need is one time a week on Sunday. Christians who don’t daily consume God’s word are starving and dying. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to study the word to show we are approved workman that need not be ashamed. I know too many Christians who don’t know any Bible verses about worry, patience, fear, anger, healing, and many more topics they face every day. No wonder they aren’t growing and struggling as believers.
Prayer is also a necessary basic of the Christian faith. It is how we communicate with God but also how he communicates with us. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to, “Pray without ceasing”. Not only should prayer be daily but all the time. Martin Luther said, “If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.” Being connected to a local church is also a necessary basic of the Christian faith. Luke 4:16 says Jesus went to church every Sunday as was his custom (Luke 4:16). We are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). How can we call ourselves the church if we never go there? Being with other believers is how we get encouragement, fellowship, prayer, and exercise our spiritual gifts and callings. I pray you’ll get back to the basics of the Christian faith which will fuel and empower your faith in Christ.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.