How can I have a personal relationship with God?

Beginning Your Relationship with God

The fact that you clicked on this and that you’re asking this question may be the greatest decision you’ve ever made.  You know, I didn’t grow up as a Christian.  I didn’t understand what it meant to have a personal authentic relationship with God.  But I would like to share with you not my opinion but what God says in His word, the Bible.  The scripture is very clear:  God loves you, He cares about you regardless of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, the failures, the hurts, the struggles, however successful you happen to be and find an emptiness and wondering there’s got to be more to life than this.  I want you to first and foremost know God loves you, He cares about you, He’s active.  And if you will call out and if you will seek Him, He promises He’ll make Himself known to you. 

And here’s the message that He has for you.  There’s part of it that’s very bad news and there’s part of it that’s really good news.  But you can’t get to the good news until you hear the bad news.  The bad news is, is that despite how sophisticated or religious or smart or successful or broken, however you may come, is that the scripture says that you and me and everyone on the face of the earth has a major problem:  We have sinned.  We fall short of the glory of God.  I don’t mean that we’ve done just a few bad things, but we’ve missed the mark.  As one guy put it, he said, you know, to have a relationship with God, since He’s perfect and He’s holy, you have to have a perfect score of 100.  And even if the Billy Grahams and Mother Teresas of the world are in the, you know, 93s or 95s and people like us are maybe in the 75s or 80s, you know what, if you don’t get a score of 100 in God’s economy, it’s a failure.  He’s perfect, He’s pure.  So there’s no way, I can’t be kind enough, religious enough, I can never earn God’s favor. 

And so the scripture says for by grace you’re saved through faith.  It’s not of yourself.  It’s the gift of God, not a result of works that, what, you might have a relationship with Him.  Jesus said to us, He came that you might have life, you might have it abundantly.  We have all sinned.  The bad news is, you got to admit that, you’ve got to own it, not just intellectually, but to realize you’ve offended a holy God.  You have a mini-rebellion on your hands, a mini-coupe where it might be, you know, with your fists like this and “God, I don’t want you.”  It might be in passive rebellion where you’re a religious, nice, moral person, but you say, “God, I’ll live life on my way, my terms.”  Both of those are sin that cause you and me to fall short of the glory of God. 

But the bad news is that it gets even worse.  Not only have all sinned, but the wages of sin is death.  That’s Romans 6:23.  One of the most brilliant men in the New Testament told us that what happens when you and I sin is that there’s a payment, there’s a wage, and it means separation from God forever and ever.  And when I sin with people, there’s death.  It brings separation.  When I lie, when I steal, when I say things harsh out of my mouth to people that I love.  And what I want you to know for your eternal destiny, that the bad news isn’t just that you’ve sinned, but that sin, unless addressed, will keep you separated from God for all eternity.  And I’m telling you, it will bring His heart.  The scripture says God’s not willing that any single person perish but everyone come to a knowledge of Christ. 

And so let’s get to the good news.  The good news is that even though you can’t do anything to merit a relationship with God, God sent His son Jesus, fully God, fully man, and that fully human, fully God-man died upon a cross to pay for or cover your sin, for God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever would believe in Him shouldn’t perish but have everlasting or eternal life.  And that’s not something that means just you live forever and ever.  Eternal life begins the moment you put your faith in Christ.  And the good news has to be acted on.  You know, if I had a million dollars and I said it’s in a bank account and, here, it’s a Zurich number in Switzerland and I will give it to you, you know what, you could have that number, you could agree with that number, you could know that number, but until you plug that number in on your computer, it doesn’t download that money to your bank account.  I want you to know there is a bank account in heaven where your sins are covered more than a billion dollars.  Your sins, once and for all, by the blood of Christ, you have been paid for.  But you need to receive Him by faith.  You need to log on to God’s eternal economy.  And He says the way you do it is by the simple hands of faith.  You say, Lord Jesus, I have sinned against you.  I want to ask you to forgive me and I want you to come into my life right now.  Cleanse me, make me your son, make me your daughter.  As many as receive Him, the scripture says, He gives the right to become children of God, even to those who believe on His name.

And so I don’t know where you’re at, but I can tell you that when I was 18 years old, not understanding very much, God took all those passages about the bad news that I’ve sinned, that the wages of sin is death, that He made a provision by Christ dying in my place for my sin, and that He rose from the dead to prove it’s true.  And then I wondered, what do I do, God?  And people said, you just need to receive Him.  That seemed too easy or too simple.  He says it’s a gift.  And I remember hearing that verse about Jesus standing at the door of my heart saying, Chip, will you let me in?  I want to have a relationship with you.  I want to forgive you, but you know what, I won’t barge in.  Unless you open the door of your life and your heart, turn from your sin, ask me to come in, I’ll stay on the outside. 

And God is saying to you right now in this moment, if you will turn to me, if you will say, Lord Jesus, I’m sorry, I’ve blown it, I have sinned, I’ve offended you, I’ve even hurt other people that I’m really sorry about, will you forgive me, will you cleanse me from all my sin, will you come into my life right now.  And I will tell you, as you ask Him to do that, He’s promised, I will come in.  Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.  He loves you.  He cares for you.  You are right now at the biggest crossroads of your life.  And it’s not just today or tomorrow that’ll make a difference.  It’s all of eternity.  He wants you to know in this moment on this day at this time that you can have eternal life.  Now the ball’s in your court.  What would you do with the greatest gift that’s ever been offered to you?  Will you trust Him and accept Him?  Will you turn away?  The decision is yours. 

If you would like to pray to receive Christ in a very simple way, you can bow your head and bow your heart and pray something very similar to, Lord Jesus, I want to ask you right now to forgive me of my sin.  I want to admit that I have violated you as a holy God, but on this day I invite you to come into my life to forgive me of my sin.  I believe you died for me, you rose from the dead, and I’m asking you to be my savior.  He will answer that pray.  And if you prayed that, would you log on, let us know.  And we have some resources to help you grow in your brand new relationship with Christ.  You’re joining a group of dysfunctional other people that have lots of struggles and lots of ups and lots of downs, but I will tell you, it’ll be the greatest journey of your life.  We care about you, we love you, and we’d love to be of help.