If you are new to this blog, Welcome. You may want to start reading the series of articles at the beginning, or pick an article from the Table of Contents.
In order to know God, first you have to know that God exists. If you’re unsure about that, my article Who (or What) is God? – Part I might be helpful. The rest of this article assumes that you believe that God is real.
This article offers help from a Christian perspective. If you are a member of some other religious tradition, by all means seek guidance from advisors in that tradition. As I have said in my Other Religions article, I am not the one to say that Christianity offers the only path to God.
To get to know someone, you must go beyond merely being aware of who they are. You need to establish some sort of relationship with them. It is the same with God. Whether or not you are aware of this, God’s son, Jesus, has invited you to join His family. To begin your relationship, you need to respond to this invitation. There are many churches and religious authors who have produced books, pamphlets and articles on how you should respond. The exact language and process is not the important thing. I will attempt here to spell out some essentials for you.
Would you like to come to Jesus?
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 ESV)
Or, would you prefer to have Him come to you?
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20 ESV)
You can take either of the above (or others from the Bible) as your invitation.
Basics you should know before responding:
- All men and women have sinned. It is in our human nature, and our free will, to do things which violate the laws that God has established.
- No one is perfect enough, on their own merits, to be accepted into God’s family.
- God’s original penalty for sin is death. However, Jesus paid the price for us when he died on the cross.
- God’s grace is extended to us through Jesus. It is by this grace, and the price that Jesus paid for us, that we can be accepted.
- The Salvation step, which I am about to describe is only the beginning.
- You are expected to learn and grow throughout your earthly life, to better prepare you for what comes after.
Four keys to your response – If you wish, you certainly can use your own words instead of the suggested prayer below, but you should include at least these elements:
- Admit that you are a sinner, in need of God’s forgiveness.
- Repent – be willing to turn from sin.
- Believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for your sins
- Through prayer, receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior
Dear Father, God in Heaven
I am a sinner and I need your forgiveness.
I have heard about your son, Jesus Christ, and I understand that he paid the price for my sins when he died on the cross.
I am willing to turn away from sin and I pray that you will help me do so.
I ask Jesus to come into my heart and guide my life as my personal Savior.
I am willing to follow and obey Jesus as the Lord of my life.
Have faith and believe this, my friend.
If you honestly and earnestly prayed the above prayer (or something very similar), you have, just now, been adopted into God’s family. Your sins are forgiven. You are now a child of God and one of the heirs to His Kingdom!
You have introduced yourself to God and your relationship is just starting.
I suspect you would like to know Him better. Here are some of the ways you can do that.
- Read the Bible – Start with the New Testament. Many recommend the Book of John.
- Visit some churches. Try to find one that is a good fit for you and your family.
- Read books and articles. There are a host of them. Ask God to guide you in selecting those that are truthful and appropriate for you.
- Pray at least once a day. Ask for God’s blessing on others that you know – relatives, friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. Ask God to guide you in your journey through this life.
- Talk with friends who know God and are willing to share their experiences. A church bible study group is a good way to meet such people.
- Donate and/or volunteer to help some worthy cause or organization that you believe in.
- Meditate on God and what He means to you.
- Take time out to enjoy nature and God’s creation. Walk in the woods or along the seashore. Hike in the mountains. Visit a park, or even a zoo. Don’t rush these visits. Take your time to really absorb the sights. If in a zoo or animal park, observe each animal enough to begin to understand them. Don’t just give them a look and rush on to the next.
- Be kind to everyone you interact with. If someone frustrates or angers you, avoid or minimize any negative response.
- Some churches say you must be baptized. Baptism symbolizes rebirth and certainly is a good way to demonstrate your commitment and celebrate your new life in Christ. However, our Lord will let you get started without that step. When, and if, baptism seems right to you, go for it.
- Some people are a little hesitant about taking communion, and some churches may project the attitude that you should only take communion if you are their kind of believer. I say that if you are sincerely trying to follow Christ, you should be confident in taking communion. It’s between you and Jesus. If anyone else has a problem with you taking communion, the problem is theirs.
When God sees you doing the kinds of things I have listed, He will find ways to reward you. Some of these rewards may be very subtle. Overall, you will start to see your life improve.