|How to Find a Relationship with God|
Perhaps you have always wondered how you could have a personal relationship with God. You may feel like something is missing – a connection with the Creator. Maybe the words of Augustine resonate with you; “You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You.”
Blaise Pascal said it this way; “Man searches in vain, but finds nothing to help him, other than to see an infinite emptiness that can only be filled by One who is infinite and unchanging. In other words, it can only be filled by God Himself.”
Sound familiar? Do you sense a void within? Have you tried to satisfy your longing with no lasting success? Many people seek to fill that God-shaped emptiness with pleasure, prosperity, or power, anything but God, and yet the emptiness remains.
Why? It’s because finite things can never fill an infinite emptiness. We need an infinite solution. So, the search for fulfillment in life must begin with infinite God.
If you would like a personal relationship with God, there are three things to know and one thing to do.
The first thing to know is…
1. God’s Position
1) Did you know that there is a God who searches for us? The God who searches is a God of love. His desire is to have a loving relationship with us.
“For 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
2) However, the God who searches is also a God of perfection. His absolute moral perfection is the standard upon which the relationship is based.
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as you heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Sounds pretty bleak so far, doesn’t it? We have to be perfect to have a relationship with a perfect God. God has high standards and will not accept anyone even if they have just a “little” sin in their life.
Imagine you are given a glass of cold, refreshing water. Just before you put the glass to your lips you are told that a small drop of cyanide has been added to the water. However, since it is such a small amount of cyanide, you needn’t worry. What harm can such a small amount of poison do to a full glass of cool, clear water?
But you know that no matter how small the dose of poison, it contaminates the whole glass of water. In the same way, God cannot allow even a small amount of sin (imperfection) into a perfect heaven lest it contaminate the entire place.
And, it gets worse because the second thing to know is…
2. Our Condition
We who are searching must realize three things:
1) We fall short of God’s standard of perfection.
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
2) We face God’s penalty of eternal separation.
“For the wages of sin is death [eternal separation]…” Romans 6:23a
3) We fail to enjoy God’s love even now in this life!
“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, so that He does not hear.” Isaiah 59:2
One way to understand this is to picture yourself with all of humanity lined up at the rim of a canyon. The only way to get across the one-mile chasm is to jump. The distance you can jump is directly proportional to how many good deeds you have performed.
A mass murderer jumps only one foot and plummets downward. If you are an exceptionally good person, you may be able to jump 25 feet. But this is till far short of the goal.
One by one they try, but fall short of the other side. In the same way, even though some people perform more good deeds that others, all of us fall short of perfection.
Wow! God is perfect. We are sinful. And, sin must be paid for. Is there any hope?
Hang on, because the third thing to know is…
3. God’s Provision
God, in the person of Jesus Christ, took the initiative in searching for us.
1) God substituted Christ’s perfection for our imperfection through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
“For Christ died for sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18
2) God satisfied both His love and perfect justice, thereby making a relationship with Him possible.
“In this is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (satisfactory payment) for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
A true story illustrates how love and justice can be satisfied and work together. During the Great Depression, police brought an elderly man before a New York City night court magistrate. The man was starving and had stolen a loaf of bread.
That night, Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia was presiding over the court, as he sometimes did to stay close to the citizens. He fined the old man $10. “The law is the law, and cannot be broken,” the mayor said. At the same time, he took a $10 bill out of his wallet and paid the fine for the man. Both justice and love were served when LaGuardia paid the penalty for the old man.
That’s what God did: Out of love, He sent Jesus to die for us. Out of justice, He required a perfect, complete payment for our sins. Both God’s love and justice were satisfied when He sent perfect Jesus to die for our imperfections (sins).
Now you have the three things to know. But that is not enough. A lot of people know these three things. They and you can see that God has done all that is necessary for us to have a relationship with Him and he offers it as a free gift. But, as with any gift, it must still be received before it benefits the recipient. That’s where we must do something.
The one thing we need to do is…
4. Our Decision
The search for God ends in a choice: To accept or reject Christ’s perfect payment for your sins.
1) Accepting God’s gift involves admitting the truth about ourselves, that we have failed to measure up to God’s standards and we are separated from Him.
“For the wages of sin is death [eternal separation], but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
2) Accepting God’s gift involves transferring your trust from yourself to Jesus Christ.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12
Now you can have a personal relationship with God! When we completely trust in God’s provision, we no longer trust in our good works to balance out or overcome our sins. We trust exclusively in what Jesus did for us.
But what does it meant to have faith or to transfer our trust to Jesus? Consider the account of the Amazing Blondin, the famous 19th century French tightrope walker. He successfully crossed Niagara Falls a number of times (an 1100-foot span, 160 feet above the raging waters).
On one occasion Blondin pushed a wheelbarrow across. He then asked how many in the crowd believed he could push the wheelbarrow across with someone in it. The crowd cheered. He then asked, “Does anyone believe enough in me to get in the wheelbarrow and cross Niagara Falls with me?” No one volunteered. Finally, Blondin’s manager climbed on his back and they crossed the great falls together.
The crowd’s belief was purely intellectual, but Blondin’s manager went beyond intellectual assent to personal trust. That’s the kind of faith the Bible says we must have in Christ. We must go beyond saying we believe that Jesus “can” bring us into relationship with God. The crucial step is “getting in the wheelbarrow” – fully trusting that Jesus “will” carry us into a new relationship with God!
Let’s Review: Three things to know. One thing to Do!
God’s Position: What is God like? God is both loving and perfect.
Our Condition: What are we like? We are sinful and separated from God.
God’s Provision: What did God do about the problem? He gave His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross as a satisfactory payment for our sins.
Our Decision: What should you do? Admit you are separated from God and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior.
The choice is yours.
Would you like to receive Christ now?
If so, you can use this prayer to express your decision to God.
I admit that I am a sinner and I understand that my sin separates me from you. I believe that Jesus, being God, paid the penalty for all my sins when He died on the cross and rose from the dead. I want to place my trust in Him as my Savior. Thank you for loving and forgiving me and giving to me the gift of eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you have made the decision to receive Christ and His payment for your sins and you have trusted Him alone for your salvation, then you have become a child of God through faith in Christ (John 1:12, 1 John 5:11-13)
Here at Quest, we would love to celebrate your new relationship with God and help you grow into a fully devoted follower of Christ. Our staff is eager to help in any way we can.
One way to get going in this new relationship is to be a part of a Foundations study. This is a small group environment where you will learn how to grow in your faith, get an overview of the Bible and receive solid answers to questions you have about the Christian life.
If you are interested or would just like to share your decision with someone, contact Steve Ellis at Steve@QuestNC.org.
Congratulations and welcome to the family of God!