If you haven’t known God personally, here are four principles that will help guide you into a relationship with him:
The most well-known verse in the Bible says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ESV).
You see, this life is not the end of us. This life is preparation for eternity. We have the freedom to decide where we want to spend eternity: with God or apart from God.
God thinks you’re so valuable that he wants to spend eternity with you! The Bible says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV1984). He planned the universe and orchestrated history, including the details of our lives, so that we could become his friends.
So, what prevents us from knowing God personally?
The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV1984).
Visualize God in heaven and man on earth, with a great gulf separating the two. Man is continually trying to reach God and establish a personal relationship with him through his own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion—but he inevitably fails.
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death [separation from God]” (Romans 6:23 NIV). The third principle explains the only way to bridge this separation.
The Bible tells of how a man named Nicodemus experienced a new birth through Christ:
There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, You must be born again. The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” — John 3:1–8 (NLT)
Jesus Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.— Revelation 3:20 (NASB)
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive us of our sins and to make us what he wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of our free will.
We can choose two kinds of lives:
Which description best represents your life?
Which description would you like to have represent your life?
Prayer is just talking with God. He knows your heart, so don’t worry about getting your words just right. Here is a suggested prayer to guide you:
I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.
I open the door of my life and receive you as my Savior and Lord.
Thank you for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life.
Take control of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, pray this prayer right now, and Christ will come into your life as promised.
If so, Congratulations! Luke 15:7 says that when one sinner accepts Jesus Christ as his or her Savior the angels rejoice. So there’s a party going on in heaven right now over your decision! Remember this date as your “second birthday,” the day you were born into a new life in Christ! You have God’s Word that he answered your prayer.
The Bible promises eternal life to all who receive Christ: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:11–13 NIV1984).
Thank God often that Christ is in your life and that he will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5). You can know on the basis of his promise that Christ lives in you and that you have eternal life from the very moment you invited Him in.
Do not depend on feelings. The promise of God’s Word, the Bible, is our authority. The Christian lives by faith in the trustworthiness of God and his Word. There are differences between fact, faith, and feeling:
If fact–faith–feeling was a three-car train, the train led by fact would run with or without the caboose (feeling). However, it would be useless to attempt to pull the train by the caboose. In the same way, we as Christians do not depend on feelings or emotions, but place our faith (trust) in God and the promises of his Word.
The moment you received Christ—as an act of faith and free will—many things happened, including:
Can you think of anything more wonderful that could happen to you than entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Would you like to thank God in prayer right now for what he has done for you? By thanking God, you demonstrate your faith.
G o to God in prayer daily (Philippians 4:6, Colossians 4:2).
R ead God’s Word daily (Acts 17:11). We suggest you begin with the gospel of John.
O bey God moment by moment (John 14:21).
W itness for Christ by your life and words (Matthew 4:19; John 15:8).
T rust God for every detail of your life (1 Peter 5:7).
H and over control to the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to empower your daily life and witness (Galatians 5:16–17, Acts 1:8).
And finally . . . get involved in church. God’s Word admonishes us not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together . . . ” (Hebrews 10:25 NKJV). Several logs burn brightly together, but put one aside on the cold hearth and the fire goes out. So it is with your relationship with other Christians. If you do not belong to a church, do not wait to be invited. Take the initiative; call the pastor of a nearby church where Christ is honored and his Word is preached. Start this week, and make plans to attend regularly.