Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back?
For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, and there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?
The Bible talks about the world beginning with the creation of a beautiful garden and two blameless people who walked and talked with God. They were truly innocent – they didn’t even know that they were naked. But it didn’t stay that way. They chose to turn away from God and sin entered the world, and with it guilt, shame, regret. Humankind was no longer blameless. But God still loved the world that he created and so he sent his son to redeem it.
Jesus came, and died, and rose again to wipe the slate clean. He was scourged, tormented, and finally nailed on the cross for humankind’s sins – this was all part of God’s plan to bring you and I back into relationship with him. God wants to be a part of your life. Is this the life for you?
God is perfect, powerful, and yet personal.
The Bible tells us: “He (God) is the Rock. His work is perfect. Everything he does is just and fair” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
God created the world, which reflects his magnificence, balance, and beauty. “For God created the heavens and the earth and put everything in place, and he made the world to live in and not be an empty chaos” (Isaiah 45:18).
Would you like to know God personally?
God loves you and created you to know Him personally.
God’s Love: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
God’s Plan: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 10:7-10).
What prevents us from knowing God personally?
People are lost and separated from God.
So we cannot know him personally or experience his love.
People are Lost: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
People were created to have fellowship with God; but, because of our own stubborn self-will, we chose to go our own independent way and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin.
People are Separated: “The wages of sin is death [spiritual separation from God]” (Romans 6:23).
This diagram illustrates that God is holy and people are lost. A great gulf separates the two. The arrow illustrates that people are continually trying to reach God and establish a personal relationship with Him through their own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion but we inevitably fail.
The fourth step of your journey
explains the only way to bridge this gulf. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through him alone we can know God personally and experience his love.
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).
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).
The diagram on the left illustrates that God has bridged the gulf that separates us from him by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.
It is not enough just to know these three truths....
We must individually receive Jesus Christ as savior and Lord.
Then we can know God personally and experience his love.
We must receive Christ: “As many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name” (John 1:12).
We receive Christ through faith: “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
When we receive Christ, we experience a new birth: (Read John 3:1-8).
We receive Christ by personal invitation: “[Christ speaking] Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) 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 will.
These two circles represent two kinds of lives:
- Self is on the throne.
- Christ is outside the life.
- Interests are directed by self often resulting in discord and frustration.
- Christ is in the life and on the throne.
- Self is yielding to Christ.
- Interests are directed by Christ, resulting in harmony with God’s plan.
Which circle best represents your life? Which circle would you like to have represent your life?
If you would like Christ to direct your life, you’ll know purpose and meaning and experience the joy of being forgiven. You’ll start to find healing from your past and learn how to really love. You’ll be fully alive.
Here's a suggested prayer to help you give your life to Jesus:
“God, I’ve done life my way for way too long. I believe that Jesus died to free me from my selfishness. Please forgive my sins. Thank you that Jesus didn’t stay dead. You raised him to life. I accept the free gift of new life with you. My life is now yours. Please help me live your way. Amen.”
This article was written by: Issues I FacePhoto Credit: Chris Ford