How can I know God personally?
That is undoubtedly the most important question you will ever ask. And the great news is that there is an answer because God already knows you personally and intimately, and He wants you to know him too.
God created you as a person of dignity and worth. "For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well" (Psalm 139:13-14) Not only did God create you, but he also loves you. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16) And God wants you to know him. "Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17:3)
At this point you might ask: "If God loves people so much, why are they so far from Him? Why don't I have a relationship with God right now? The answer is in a little word--sin. Sin separates people from God and keeps us from having a personal relationship with Him. What is sin? It is doing what we know we shouldn't; it is not doing what we know we should; and it is a self-centered attitude. The fact is that everyone has sinned; no one is exempt. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." (Romans 3:23) And our sins have cut us off from God. "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2) The ultimate result of this separation is God's death penalty--eternal separation from Him. "For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23)
So what's the solution? How can we have a relationship with God and be saved from eternal death? God has provided the solution--Jesus Christ, His Son. Only through Jesus Christ can you have a personal relationship with God. "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6) Jesus came to earth to take the penalty for our sins on Himself. He died on the cross so that we might be forgiven. "For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18) Then Jesus rose from the dead to prove that He could give us eternal life. "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures...He was buried...He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ...He appeared to Peter; and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time..." (1Corinthians 15:3-6)
So God has made His move, providing the solution to the problem of our sin and separation from Him. The next move is up to us...to you. To begin your personal relationship with God, you must respond by trusting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. You respond by faith in Christ. This means believing that Jesus is God and that He died for you and rose from the dead. "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" (Ephesians 2:8-9) You respond by turning away from sin. This means admitting that your sins have separated you from God and that you are sorry for them. "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord..." (Acts 3:19) You respond by turning toward Christ. This means turning away from your own way of living, trusting Christ, inviting Christ to come into your life, and allowing God to direct your life. This involves total trust--an act of your will. "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) You can take these steps and begin a personal relationship with God by expressing your faith through prayer. This means talking to God and telling Him about your decision to turn from sin, to turn to Him, and to receive Christ. Use your own words, or you may want to use these:
Dear God, I know that my sin has separated me from You, and I confess my sin. I'm sorry. I know that You love me and that You sent Jesus to die on the cross, in my place, taking the penalty for my sin. Thank You. Right now I ask You to come in and take over my life. I give myself to You. Please begin to direct my life. Thank You for giving me eternal life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed and received Christ, congratulations and welcome to the family! You are now God's child. "If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved" (Romans 10:9-10) "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26) This new relationship continues for a lifetime...and beyond. "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness" (Colossians 2:6-7)