How can I know God?
*** Before you read this, stop for a moment and ask God to speak to you and show you how to know Him ***
Everyone has a particular view or perception of what God is like and for most of us, our view of God has largely been shaped by our experiences, both good and bad. For some, your view may have been affected by life’s tough experiences, or even by hypocrisy you may have witnessed, leading you to conclude that God is distant and doesn’t really care. For others, your view of God has been shaped by a very conservative religion you grew up with, and therefore your references of God may be based on His wrath and judgment.
However, when we turn to the Bible, we find a very different picture of God. Read the following Bible verse:
“You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I learned from my Father I have made known to you (The Bible: John chapter 15: verses 14–15).”
According to this verse, Jesus wants you to be His friend. God wants you to have a friendship with Him, a relationship of communication, mutual love and trust. In fact, that was God’s desire all along from the beginning of creation! Let’s look at that creation account that records the friendship between man and God and consider where it all went wrong.
The Bible teaches that at the forming of creation, God made man and woman, Adam and Eve. He put them in a garden (called Eden) where they lived, a beautiful place where God Himself walked around, speaking with them and enjoying friendship with them (Genesis 3:8–19). However, things went wrong. Although God had put them in a beautiful garden and instructed them they could eat from any tree for food, there was one tree that was out of bounds: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He told them that if they ate from this tree, they would die.
However, God’s enemy (called Satan or the Devil) deceived Eve and she ended up disobeying God’s warning and eating from the forbidden tree. Adam also followed suit and just as God said, their eyes were opened and they knew both good and evil for the first time. Their innocence was lost and their disobedience brought sin into the world and their friendship with God was damaged as a result. God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and God has been trying to restore us to Himself ever since.
And so sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden and we have struggled and battled with it ever since. But despite our sin, God still longs for relationship with you and me and so He provided a way to deal with our sin and restore our relationship with Him.
That way was through sending His Son, Jesus Christ. Two thousands years ago, Jesus paid the punishment for our sins which we all deserve by dying a painful death on a cross. On that cross, not only did Jesus pay for the punishment for all our sins, He also broke the power of sin, sickness and death, overcoming them by coming alive again (resurrection): “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24). Sin and death couldn’t hold Him down; Jesus rose from the dead after three days.
What this means for us is that not only can we be forgiven for our sins, but as we believe what Jesus has done for us, the power of sin and death is then broken in our lives: “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness . . . through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 6:18; 8:2). Through His death and resurrection, Jesus undid the damage that was done in the Garden of Eden, all because of God’s kindness and love for us, and not through any worthiness of our own. The result? We receive complete forgiveness of all our sins, no matter how bad, and the promise of eternal life.
God wants you to experience His love and kindness too. As you give your life to God, you can begin to enjoy a real friendship with Him. Friendship with God is about developing a relationship of trust and love, walking together with Him through your life. It’s the closest of relationships possible, enjoying the intimate presence of God in your life:
“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him (The Bible: John chapter 14: verse 23).”
I can’t think of any way to describe a closer friendship with God than by Him living in us. He is with you all the time, wherever you go, whatever you do: “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O LORD.” (Psalm 139:1–4) No one knows you and takes as much interest in you as much as God does.
As your friendship with God develops, you will learn how to hear from Him and understand how He works all around you. You will find your truest identity in Him and your greatest acceptance by Him. He will reveal His purpose for your life and you will find security in His unfailing love and faithfulness. I love how author Brennan Manning expresses God’s invitation of relationship to us:
“. . . God loves who we really are—whether we like it or not. God calls us, as He did Adam, to come out of hiding. No amount of spiritual makeup can render us more presentable to Him . . . His love, which called us into existence, calls us to come out of self-hatred and to step into His truth. ‘Come to me now,’ Jesus says. ‘Acknowledge and accept who I want to be for you: a Savior of boundless compassion, infinite patience, unbearable forgiveness, and love that keeps no score of wrongs. Quit projecting onto Me your own feelings about yourself. At this moment your life is a bruised reed and I will not crush it, a smoldering wick and I will not quench it. You are in a safe place.’”
God wants to give you a brand new start. If you’d like to receive that from God, take a few minutes and pray the following prayer.
Thank you so much that you love me and have a wonderful purpose for my life. God, I choose to follow you and receive all the life you desire to give me. I want to know you in a real way.
I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross to pay for all my sins.
Lord, I decide now to turn my back on my old way of life. Please forgive me for every sin and wash me clean. Give me a fresh start with you. God, I fully surrender my life to you and ask you come into my life, filling me with your Holy Spirit.
Teach me how to walk in your love, power and peace.
In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.
Congratulations! Now that you have prayed this prayer, we would like to help you grow in your new faith. Please contact Liz or one of our team and we will help you get started in your new journey with God.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (The Bible: Ephesians chapter 2 verses 8 to 10).”