How Do I know God?

At 20Twenty Vision, we believe that life's greatest privileges and blessings are found in knowing the one true living God and His son Jesus Christ. The following information is from one of our favorite booklets for answering the question Why Jesus? Why Christianity? (by Nicky Gumbel)

Why Not?

So, God offers us forgiveness and freedom in Christ Jesus and His Spirit to live within us. All this is a gift from God. When someone offers us a present, we have a choice. We can accept it, open it, and enjoy it, or we can refuse the gift and say, "No, thank you." Sadly, many people make excuses for not accepting the gift God offers.

Here are some of the excuses:

"I have no need of God." When people say this, they usually mean they are quite happy without God. What they fail to realize is that our greatest need is not "happiness," but "forgiveness." We all need to be forgiven. Without forgiveness we are in serious trouble. For God is not only our loving Father, He is also a righteous judge. Either we accept what Jesus has done for us on the cross, or else one day we will pay the just penalty ourselves for the things we have done wrong.

"There is too much to give up." Sometimes, God puts His finger on something in our lives that we know is wrong and that we would need to give up if we want to enjoy this relationship with God through Jesus. But we need to remember:

  • God loves us. He only asks us to give up things that do us harm. If my children were playing with a carving knife, I would tell them to stop - not because I want to ruin their fun, but because I don't want them to get hurt.
  • What we give up is nothing compared to what we receive. The cost of not becoming a Christian is far greater than the cost of becoming a Christian.
  • What we give up is nothing compared to what Jesus gave up for us when He died on the cross for us.

"There must be a catch." Sometimes, people find it hard to accept that there is anything that is free in this life. They think it all sounds too easy. Therefore, they think there must be some hidden trap or catch. However, what they fail to realize is that, although it is free for us, it was not free for Jesus. He paid dearly for it with His own blood. It is easy for us. But it was not easy for Him.

"I'm not good enough." None of us is good enough. Nor can we ever make ourselves good enough for God. But that is why Jesus came. He made it possible for God to accept us as we are, whatever we have done, and however much of a mess we have made of our lives.

"I could never keep it up." We are right to think we could never keep it up - we cannot, by ourselves. But the Spirit of God, who comes to live within us, gives us the power and the strength to keep going as Christians.

"I'll do it later." This is perhaps the most common excuse. Sometimes people say, "I know it's true - but I am not ready." They put it off. The longer we put it off, the harder it becomes and the more we miss out. We never know whether or not we will get another opportunity.

What Do We Have To Do?

The New Testament makes it clear that we have to do something to accept the gift that God offers. This is an act of faith. The disciple John writes, "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). Believing involves an act of faith, based on all that we know about Jesus. It is not blind faith. It is putting our trust in a Person. In some ways it is like the step of faith taken by a bride and a bridegroom when they say "I will" on their wedding day.

The way people take this step of faith varies enormously, but we want to describe one way in which you can take this step of faith right now. It can be summarized by three very simple words:

"Sorry." You have to ask God to forgive you for all the things you have done wrong and turn from everything that you know is wrong in your life. This is what the Bible means by "repentance."

"Thank You." You believe that Jesus died for you on the cross. You need to thank Him for dying for you and for the offer of His free gifts of forgiveness, freedom, and His Spirit.

"Please." God never forces His way into our lives. You need to accept His gift and invite Him to come and live within you by His Spirit. If you would like to have a relationship with God and you are ready to say these three things, then here is a very simple prayer you can pray that will be the start of that relationship:

Lord Jesus Christ,

I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life. (Take a few moments to ask His forgiveness for anything particular that is on your conscience.) Please forgive me. I now turn from everything that I know is wrong.

Thank You that You died on the cross for me so that I could be forgiven and set free. Thank You that You offer me forgiveness and the gift of Your Spirit. I now receive that gift. Please come into my life by Your Holy Spirit, to be with me forever.

Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.

What Now?

Tell someone. It is important to tell someone in order to underline the decision you have made. Often it is only when you tell someone else that it becomes reality to you. It is probably best to start by telling someone who you think will be pleased to hear the news!

Read the Bible. Once we have received Jesus and put our trust in Him, we become children of God (John 1:12). He is our heavenly Father. Like any father, He wants us to have a close relationship with Him. We develop this relationship as we listen to Him (primarily through the Bible) and as we speak to Him in prayer. The Bible is the Word of God, and you might find it helpful to begin by reading a few verses of John's Gospel (the fourth book of the New Testament) every day. Ask God to speak to you as you read.

Speak to God. Start to speak to God each day in prayer. The following guidelines may be helpful:

  • A - Adoration Praising God for who He is and what He has done.
  • C - Confession Asking God's forgiveness for anything that we have done wrong.
  • T - Thanksgiving Thanking God for His blessings, such as health, family, friends, etc.
  • S - Supplication Praying for ourselves, for our friends, and for others.

Join a Lively Church. Church is essentially a gathering of Christians who get together to worship God, to hear what God is saying to them, to encourage one another, and to make friends. It should be a very exciting place to be!