When I was in elementary school my dad would jokingly say something like: “Focus on your three Rs Michael! They will help you the rest of your life!” I really didn’t get it. When I would ask what he meant, his response was the same each time. Laughingly, dad would say, “The basics in school: reading, riting and rithmetic.” I would smile and argue that only one of the words began with an “R.” My dad would just laugh. It took me quite a while to understand he was making a joke.

His joke had a lot of truth in it. In elementary school, if we can get the basics down, it prepares us for the deeper stuff in high school and college. The same is true for our spiritual life. When we are young in our walk with Christ, if we can get the basics down, it helps us prepare for the deeper things of life. What are the spiritual basics? For me, they are the three “Rs”: Reading, Reliving and Repentance.

I need to read my Bible every day. When I was a new follower of Christ, I had people come into my life and share with me that the Word of God was “A lamp for my feet and a light on my path” (Ps. 119:105, CSB). They explained to me that if I did not read the Word of God every day that I would be walking around in spiritual darkness. They also explained that if I wanted to know God’s will for my life, His Word would give me that direction. I learned what it meant to memorize Scripture and the importance of this discipline. One of my earliest memory verses was, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” (2 Tim. 1:7, CSB).

The second “R” is reliving. For me, this is reliving my salvation experience. When I relive my salvation experience, it keeps me close to Jesus and it keeps me humble. I did nothing to deserve my salvation. My salvation is a gift from God. No one deserves to be saved. But God loves us so much that He draws us to Himself and gives us the opportunity to follow Him as the Lord of our lives.

The more I relive my salvation experience the more I share it with others. Funny thing is, the more I share my salvation experience with others the more people receive Christ. The opposite is also true, the less I share, the less people I see come to follow Christ.

The third “R” is repentance. I was taught that I need to repent (turn away from sin) multiple times a day. Repentance is not saying, “God forgive me of all my sins.” My sins were all forgiven the moment I first repented, believed and received Christ as my Savior, asking Him to forgive me. Forgiveness of my sins has been accomplished, past, present and future sins. It is now my responsibility to repent of sins that I commit. I must not let these sins pile up, because this impairs my relationship with Jesus. I must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and as soon as I realize a sin has occurred, I must confess it to God and turn away from that sin.

I have been following Christ for about 31 years. I can still hear my Heavenly Father saying, “Focus on the three “Rs” Michael! They will help you the rest of your life.”