HOW CAN I KNOW GOD?
What is Christianity? Some say it is a philosophy, others say it is an ethical stance, while still others claim it is actually an experience. None of these things really gets to the heart of the matter, however. Each is something a Christian has, but not one of them serves as a definition of what a Christian is. Christianity has at its core a transaction between a person and God. A person who becomes a Christian moves from knowing about God distantly to knowing about him directly and intimately. Christianity is knowing God.
“Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3
Why do I need to know God?
Our desire for personal knowledge of God is strong, but we usually fail to recognize that desire for what it is. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love or first think of some foreign country or first take up some subject that excites us are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning can ever really satisfy When we first fall in love, when we first marry, when we finally break into our chosen field, when we at last get that weekend house—these Breakthroughs arouse in us anticipation of something which, as it turns out, never occurs. We eventually discover that our desire for that precious something is a longing no lover or career or achievement, even the best possible ones, can ever satisfy. The satisfaction fades even as we close our fingers around our goal. Nothing delivers the joy it seemed to promise.
“Many of us avoid the yawning emptiness through busyness or denial, but at best there is just a postponement”
There are several ways to respond to this
By blaming the things themselves
By finding fault in everyone and everything around you. You believe that a better spouse, a better career, a better boss or salary would finally yield the elusive joy. Many of the most successful people of the world are like this – bored, discontented, running from new thing to new thing, often changing counselors, mates, partners, or settings.
By blaming yourself
By trying harder to live up to standards. Many people believe they have made poor choices or have failed to measure up to challenges and to achieve the things that would give them joy and satisfaction. Such people are wracked with self doubts and tend to burn themselves out. They think, “If only I could reach my goals, then this emptiness would be gone.” But it is not so.
By blaming life itself
By giving up seeking fulfillment at all. This is the person who says, “Yes, when I was young I was idealistic, but at my age I have stopped howling after the moon.” This makes you become CYNICAL; you decide to repress that part
of yourself that once wanted fulfillment and joy. But you become hard, you stop hopeing for anything at all and you can feel yourself losing your humanity, compassion, and joy.
By blaming and recognizing your separation from God
If there's nothing in this world that will ever satisfy me, then it means that I am made for something beyond this world.
Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it that does not mean that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. CS Lewis
By seeing that the emptiness comes from your separation from God, and by establishing a personal relationship with him
In order to form a personal relationship with God, you must know four things
Why we are here
God created us and built us for a relationship with him. God made a good beautiful world filled with people who share in this life of joy and peace by knowing, serving, and loving god and one another.
What went wrong?
Instead we chose (and re-affirm daily) to center our lives on ourselves and on the pursuit of things rather than on God and others. Because humans were created to live for him (to worship), we can’t eliminate him without choosing some other object of ultimate devotion to give our lives meaning.
So we cling to idols, centering our lives on things that promise to give us meaning but drive us and enslave us : success, relationships, influence, love, comfort, and so on . This is the very root of all SIN, its not only breaking the rules,( a violation of law) but its building our identity our sense of worth on anything,(even a good thing) other than GOD( a violation of love)
What does that mean?
To live for anything else but God leads to breakdown and decay, as it removes us from the very source that sustains and supports us. When a fish leaves the water, which he was built for, he is not free, but dead. .We once had the world we all wanted- a world of peace and justice without death disease or conflict, but by turning from God this has lead to the disintegration of creation and the loss of peace within ourselves, between ourselves and in nature itself .War, Hunger, RACISM,POVERTY,INJUSTICE and Death are all symptoms of these
Worshiping other things besides God leads to a loss of meaning. If we achieve these things, they cannot deliver satisfaction, because they were never meant to be “gods.”They were never meant to replace God. Worshiping other things besides God also leads to self- image problems. We end up defining ourselves in terms of our achievement in these things. We must have them or all is lost; so they drive us to work too hard, or they fill us with terror if they are jeopardized.
What puts the world right?
EVEN THOUGH God lost us he determined to win us back He entered history in the person of Jesus in order to deal with all the causes and results of our broken relationship with him. He first lived a perfect life, loving God with all his heart, soul, and mind, fulfilling all human obligation to God. He lived the life you owed—a perfect record. Then, instead of receiving his deserved reward (eternal life), Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice for our sins, taking the punishment and Death each of us owed.
By his sacrificial life and death he both exemplifies the life we must live and rescues us from the life we have lived. By his resurrection he proved who he was and showed us the future — new bodies and a completely renewed and restored new heavens and new earth in which the world is restored to full joy, justice, peace, and glory.
What you must do
There first must be an admission that you have been living as your own master, Worshipping the wrong things, violating God loves laws. “Repentance” means you ask forgiveness and turn from that stance with a willingness to live for and center on him.
Faith is transferring your trust from your own efforts to the efforts of Christ. You were relying on other things to make you acceptable, but now you consciously begin relying on what Jesus did for your acceptance with God. When we believe and rely on Jesus' work and record (rather than ours) for our relationship to God, his healing kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us. Christ gives us a radically new identity, freeing us from both self-righteousness and self condemnation. This liberates us to accept people we once excluded, and to break the bondage of things (even good things) that once drove us. He puts us into a new community of people which gives a partial, but real, foretaste of the healing of the world that God will accomplish when Jesus returns
Pray after this fashion: “I see I am more flawed and sinful than I ever dared believe, but that I am even more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope. I turn from my old life of living for myself. I have nothing in my record to merit your approval, but I now rest in what Jesus did and ask to be accepted into God’s family for his sake.”
When you make this transaction, two things happen at once:
1)Our sins are wiped out permanently, his perfect life record is transferred to our account you are adopted legally into God’s family.
2)The Holy Spirit enters your heart and begins to change you into the character of Jesus.
Tell a Christian friend about your commitment. Get yourself training in the basic Christian disciplines of prayer, worship, Bible study, and fellowship with other Christians.
November 20, 2009
HOW CAN I KNOW GOD?
Posted by Jeremy Sargent at 11/20/2009