The real trick in life is not just knowing about God, but actually knowing God personally. Although this sounds like a crazy or even impossible idea, it really isn’t. Well what does it take? Does it take the heavens opening up and angels singing to you, or some special effort like climbing to a remote monastery to seek exclusive spiritual guidance? Do you need to pursue a severe lifestyle till you are enlightened, or must you engage in selfless activities till you find approval from God? God’s Word to us tells us it’s something completely different; and quite frankly it’s much more straightforward. Here are a few basic principles for knowing God personally.
Principle One: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
That’s right, kind of a wild concept isn’t it? God knows YOU and LOVES YOU (specifically you!). It’s not that we need to try and find a god who is hidden or ambivalent. But God cares and makes Himself known. He’s loved us first and has an awesome plan for our lives!
Jesus Himself says: “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Later He says again, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” [that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10).
This sounds great and all, but why then do I feel the way I do, or why is it most people I know don’t feel this way? Well that’s where principle 2 comes in.
Principle Two: All of us sin and our sin has separated us from God.
That feeling of separation that we get is a result of something God calls sin. Oh I know it’s one of those words that have become a cliché. How can we take it seriously? Let’s face it though, we’ve all done stuff we’re not proud of. For some of us it’s something huge, for others it’s tiny, for some it’s intentional but for others we regret it. The truth is we’ve all got something. That’s sin, and it has damaged our relationship with God. The Bible says;
People Are Sinful – “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Despite the fact that we were created by God, loved by God, and with a bright future thanks to God, our relationship with Him has been soured by our sin. Whether this sin is an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, the result is still the same.
We Are Separated: “The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).
This illustration shows what God tells us in the Bible. Sin separates us from God and the result of that is spiritual death. Unfortunately, we do not, and cannot reach God through our own efforts or good works.
Principle Three: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through him we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our life.
How do we bridge this gap then? Is it hopeless?
OK, well now… here’s the real problem. The penalty for our “sin” is both physical and spiritual death. The problems we have in this world like strife, disease and death all come from this sin, but so too does spiritual separation from God (spiritual death). We feel separated from Him now, and face eternal separation from Him when we die. What’s worse is that we don’t have the means to make it right.
God does though! Incredibly even though we’ve brought this on ourselves (remember we all have our “stuff”), God has provided a solution!
He Died in Our Place: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
He Rose From the Dead: “Christ died for our sins…He was buried…He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures…He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred…” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
In this picture we see that God’s love for us provided a solution. Jesus Christ made right, what we could never make right. God wasn’t ambivalent. He didn’t sit back and wait for us to find Him. He entered into our reality to provide a solution motivated solely by His love for us, for you! As a result, this is God’s way for us to enter into a relationship with Him!
OK well this gets us to the knowing about God part, and that’s cool but not “knowing God personally,” what’s up with that? Well that is Principle Four! He Is the Only Way to God “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'” (John 14:6).
Principle Four: We must individually accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Aha! We are finally here. This is where it gets real. You might even say it’s a little scary, but given the alternative we’ve looked at, it’s the best thing you’ll ever hear. Like we said before, the real trick is not just knowing about God, but actually knowing Him personally. This is how.
The Bible says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
We Receive Christ Through Faith: “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
We accept Jesus by faith. The Bible says, “God saved you by his special favour when you believed.” And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done.
What does it mean to accept or believe in Jesus? It means believing that Jesus is the Son of God, and inviting him to take full control of our lives (read: John 3:1-8).
And here is Jesus’ invitation. He said, “I’m standing at the door and I’m knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” (Revelation 3:20)
Will you open the door? If we don’t, then we are deciding to go it alone despite what God teaches. But if we do, then we have Christ as our advocate.
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance). It means abandoning the same sin that has only served to separate us from God and instead to trust Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to transform us into 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 the will. In essence we choose to have a relationship with God, not a religion, and not a lucky charm, but rather a real lasting relationship.
Consider these diagrams for a moment:
Christ Directed Life:
Which circle would you like to have represent your life? Which circle best represents your life?
To begin a relationship with Jesus consider this prayer…
“Lord Jesus, I need You. 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 my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”
If you made a decision to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, please contact us at Grace Church. We would love to hear from you and help you to continue to grow in this new relationship you have with God. Send us a message through our Contact page.