Knowing God Personally
What does it take to begin a relationship with God?
Do you need to devote yourself to religious activities? Or become a better, unselfish person to make up for all the bad things you’ve done so that God will accept you?
You may be surprised to find that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know him.
The following principles explain how we can begin a personal relationship with God and experience the life for which we were created.
God loves you and created you to know him personally.
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.” (1 John 4:9)
God wants you to know him
“And this is the way to have eternal life – to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” (John 17:3)
God created you to be in a relationship with him, full of love and trust. His desire is for us to know him personally.
Why do you think most people don’t know God in this personal way?
Principle 2 gives us the answer to our question.
We are separated from God by our sin, so we cannot know him or experience his love.
What is sin?
We were created to have a relationship with God but we rejected him and the relationship was broken.
This rejection of God and the building of our lives around anything else is what the Bible calls sin. We show this by having selfish actions and attitudes, by disobeying God or by displaying indifference toward him.
Everyone is sinful
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23)
Sin has consequences
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
▲ = HOLY GOD
This image illustrates that God is holy and people are sinful. A great gap separates us. We are continually trying to reach God and the abundant life through our own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion – but we inevitably fail.
The third principle explains the only way to bridge this gap…
Jesus is God's only solution for our sin. Only through him can we know God and receive his love and forgiveness.
Jesus is God
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation.” (Colossians 1:15)
Jesus died in our place
“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.” (1 Peter 3:18a)
Jesus came back to life
“During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles … and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive.” (Acts 1:3a)
His resurrection proved that he was God and that he had suffered the punishment we deserved in our place.
Jesus is the only way
“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:6)
God proves his love
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
▲ = GOD † = JESUS
Although we deserve to be cut off from God forever, in his love God sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross.
Through Jesus, God has bridged the gap that separates us from him, and provided a way for us to be forgiven and restored to relationship with him.
But it’s not enough just to know these points…
We must each respond to Jesus by placing our trust in him as our Saviour and Lord. Only then can we know God personally.
This response involves...
– Agreeing with God that we are sinful and deciding to turn from our sin.
– Trusting God to forgive us completely because Jesus died for our sin.
– Choosing to follow Jesus; putting him first in our lives.
The relationship is personal
“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
The relationship is a gift
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it’s a gift from God… so none of us can boast about it.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life.” (Titus 3:5)
These circles describe two types of people
People like this have never received Jesus into their lives.
This means that they remain guilty and cut off from God by their sin.
People like this have received Jesus into their lives.
This means they have been forgiven and experience God’s love.
Which circle best describes you? Which would you like to describe you?
It’s not enough just to know or feel that this is true. We have a choice to make…
How to start
To begin a relationship with God, you must place your trust in Jesus alone.
God is not so concerned with your words as he is with the attitude of your heart.
You can express your attitude towards God through prayer. Prayer is simply talking with God.
Here is a suggested prayer:
I want to know you personally.
I’m sorry for going my own way. Please forgive me for all my sin.
Thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sin.
I agree to turn from my old ways and follow you as my Saviour and Lord.
Could you say this to God and mean it?
Is there anything stopping you from saying this right now?
Have you just started a relationship with Jesus?
Are you wanting to connect with someone else on the same journey?
We’d love to support you in that!