The concept of knowing God can feel so abstract that it seems impossible to ever understand. Growing up, I went to church every week, but I had no idea that God wanted to know me. I had no idea that God wanted a personal relationship with me. I was missing out on the heart of Christianity. And because I was missing out on knowing God, I turned to other people and things to fill my emptiness. I was told religion would satisfy me, so I tried to be perfect. I thought being a Christian was about going to church and being a morally good person. As long as I was acting morally better than other people, I believed my Christian life was on track.
Lies. I believed so many lies because I never had the truth fully explained. Growing up not fully understanding the Gospel caused many problems in my heart.
As I strived for perfection, I failed over and over again. This view of “Christianity” was all wrong. Sadly, I think a lot of people have this view – that they have to be perfect and “good” people. Personally, I hate the phrase “good” Christian girl. (Read why). We are not good. I had to come to that realization in order to surrender my life to Jesus. (To read my full story, click here).
Lacking the truth – I had no idea that being a Christian was about realizing how broken and sinful we are, so that we realize how desperately we need Jesus. God had to break me in order for me to see my sinfulness. He had to bring me to my end, show me that I will never be satisfied in this world, and break my heart – for me to turn to him. As painful as those moments were, I can now say they were worth everything, because now I know and believe that Jesus is the only answer. A guy will not complete me. A perfect body will not give me hope. And a friend’s approval will not make me feel good enough.
Only through Jesus and the Cross will we ever find completion, lasting hope, never ending satisfaction, and eternal life.
In an attempt to make the concept of knowing God easier to understand, I wanted to write out this post in a simple way. This concept of the 4 principals are not my own. I learned these steps my freshman year of college from Cru – a college ministry. When a friend shared these truths with me, everything began to make sense. God had not been my friend or lover. He was just the God who lived up in Heaven and who I would never be able to please. Since giving my life to God, everything has changed. God is my friend, my lover, my provider, my comforter, my healer and my forgiver.
Wherever you are in life, I’m praying that these truths would seep down into your heart and change your life they way they changed mine. Our God can be known and experienced if you open up your heart and let him inside. Surrender your life to Jesus and get to know God personally.
(The 4 Principles are from Cru and EveryStudent.com. I do not take credit for the steps below).
4 Principles to Know God Personally:
Principle One: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
God created you. Not only that, he loves you so much that he wants you to know him now and spend eternity with him. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Jesus came so that each of us could know and understand God in a personal way. Only Jesus alone can bring meaning and purpose to life.
What keeps us from knowing God?
Principle Two: All of us sin and our sin has separated us from God.
As I mentioned above, we have to realize that we are sinners in order to see our need for Jesus. Our sin separates us from God and inside we feel that separation. You know that feeling in your heart when you think there just has to be something more to life? God designed us to have a relationship with him. When we don’t know God, the hole in our heart longs for him. We just don’t realize that God is the answer to our longings.
The Bible tells us that “All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6). Deep down, our attitude may be one of active rebellion or passive indifference toward God and his ways, but it’s all evidence of what the Bible calls sin.
The result of sin in our lives is death — spiritual separation from God (Romans 6:23).
Although we may try to get close to God through our own effort, we inevitably fail. We may try to do good things in life, be perfect, or earn God’s acceptance through a good life and a moral philosophy. But our good efforts are insufficient to cover up our sin. We can never be good enough without Jesus.
How can we bridge this gulf?
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.
We deserve to pay for our own sin. The problem is, the payment is death. So that we would not have to die separated from God, out of his love for us, Jesus Christ died in our place.
On the cross, Jesus took all of our sin on himself and completely, fully paid for it. “For Christ also died for sins…the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God…” (1Peter 3:18)
…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5). Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, our sin doesn’t have to separate us from God any longer.
Jesus not only died for our sin, he rose from the dead. When he rose, he proved beyond doubt that he can rightfully promise eternal life — that he is the Son of God and the only means by which we can know God. That is why Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Instead of trying harder to reach God, he tells us how we can begin a relationship with him right now. Jesus says, “Come to me. If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me… out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). It was Jesus’ love for us that caused him to endure the cross. And he now invites us to come to him, that we might begin a personal relationship with God.
Just knowing what Jesus has done for us and what he is offering us is not enough. To have a relationship with God, we need to make the decision to surrender to him our lives.
Principle Four: We must individually accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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 accept Jesus by faith. The Bible says, “God saved you by his special favor 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, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Accepting Jesus means believing that Jesus is the Son of God, who he claimed to be, then inviting him to guide and direct our lives. Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
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).
How will you respond to God’s invitation?
You can receive Christ right now. Here’s how.
The precise words you use to commit yourself to God are not important. He knows the intentions of your heart. If you are unsure of what to pray, this might help you put it into words:
“Jesus, I want to know you. I want you to come into my life. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sin so that I could be fully accepted by you. Only you can give me the power to change and become the person you created me to be. Thank you for forgiving me and giving me eternal life with God. I give my life to you. Please do with it as you wish. Amen.”
If you sincerely asked Jesus into your life just now, then he has come into your life as he promised. You have begun a personal relationship with God.
What follows is a lifelong journey of change and growth as you get to know God better through Bible reading, prayer and interaction with other Christians. I pray that this blog will guide as a resource to continually help you in this journey. If you ever have questions, doubts, comments or concerns, please reach out. I know we probably have never met, but I am here for you, my new sister in Christ!
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Betsyat (7 years ago)
I just want to let you know how much this post in particular made an impact on my life. I lost my way a long time ago. I haven’t been a believer since I was a child. Your opening sentences spoke to me because it was as if I had written them about my life. I had been searching for how to begin a relationship with God and Jesus again, and it wasn’t until I read this that it all made sense to me. By the end of the article, I was ready to accept Jesus into my heart, and I did, right at that moment. Thank you so much! Your words make a difference!
joypedrowat (7 years ago)
Betsy! I am so excited for you and to have a new sister in Christ! Praise God for what he has done in your heart and life and what he will continue to do. I want to encourage you to seek out community with other believers. Are you involved in a local church? I would love to help you find one if you need. Try and spend time in God’s Word each day because that is how you will learn more about God’s character and love and trust him more. Know that JP Ministries is always here for you to answer questions or help you find resources.
You are loved!