Nothing changes in our lives after baptism of itself. The changes must come of our own volition. We might rephrase John Kennedy’s words: "My fellow Christians, ask not what your God can do for you -- ask what can you do for your God."
Baptism follows repentance. Repentance comes from the recognition that the way that we lived our lives was unacceptable to God and a complete change is required. After baptism we must order our lives by a new set of rules – the commandments of Christ.
John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
This necessitates a reappraisal of friendships and activities.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you
1 Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
We begin as babes in Christ and must grow to maturity. This is not accomplished suddenly. It is a lifetime’s work.
1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Life in Christ is a work in progress of building a Christ-like character on the foundation of our belief.
2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
We are full of zeal at baptism but in spite of our determination to live a new life we will experience times of failure. Our human nature does not change; we are still weak and erring creatures.
Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:
Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
The principles of a new life in Christ are straightforward.
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
We must set out our stall, as it were, to read the scriptures daily and to live according to the apostles’ doctrine that we find in the scripture.
We must make an effort to be present at all activities of the ecclesia (church) to maintain genuine fellowship.
Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is...
We must regularly break bread and drink wine together in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice.
1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
And take the opportunity to examine ourselves against Christ’s example.
1 Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
We must make the effort to engage in prayer regularly.
Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
We are to actively seek ways of helping others.
Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
We will be judged on how we have shown the love of God to others.
Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Matthew 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
We are to be ‘doers’ of the word and not ‘hearers’ only.
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only...
James 2:14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
In Christ that which we do is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
I hope you have found this helpful.