Searching for God?
People have all kinds of ideas about God. Some of us aren’t even positive he exists. Some look at the harsh realities of this world and wonder “where is God in all this mess?”
But according to the Bible, there’s good news if you’re seeking the Lord: He wants to reveal himself to you! Even if you have trouble believing, he wants to be found. He longs to listen to your prayers and forgive your past. Here’s what it says in the Bible:
“When you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (God speaking in Jeremiah 29:12-13)
If we confess our sins to [God], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (I John 1:9)
Clearly, the Lord loves us. Unfortunately, there’s a barrier between God and humans. He made us to have an everlasting friendship with him—until we decided we could run our lives better than the Creator. Then we turned our backs on him and began doing things the selfish way, hurting ourselves and everyone around us.
If you’re like most people, it isn’t hard to think of the last time you did something wrong. And tragically, our disobedience cuts us off from a perfect, holy God. Sin keeps us from friendship with him now, and ultimately, it separates us from him eternally when we die.
Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. [And] the wages of sin is death. (Romans 3:23, 6:23a)
Humans have been trying for millennia to get around the sin-barrier that divides us from God. Our ancestors sacrificed animals to win back his goodwill. These days, we put twenty bucks in the offering plate or help old ladies cross the street. But none of those solutions get at the root of our problem. We carry a load of guilt before God, and good deeds can’t erase bad ones. The Bible says:
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags…Our sins sweep us away like the wind. (Isaiah 64:6)
Justice insists that a penalty must be paid for our selfishness…and the punishment is death.
But God is crazy about you! He loves us too much to let you be cut off from him. So he provided a solution that rescues you from death and satisfies the demands of justice. Yet the price was steep: God had to send his perfect son, Jesus, to die on a cross. The only sinless man in history paid your death penalty with his own life.
Thankfully, the cross was not the end! Three days after Jesus died, God raised him from the cemetery. That proved humanity’s debt had been paid and we were reconciled with God. Now, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice, we can enjoy a relationship with him all the way to heaven.
God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8)
[God] raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6)
You can begin a relationship with Jesus through faith.
Friendship with God
Are you ready to become a friend of God? You do it by trusting Jesus as your Forgiver from sin and Leader of your life. It’s a big decision! Sure, God will give you his friendship (and heaven besides). But he’ll also ask you to make some changes in your life, because he’s your new Friend and your Leader. You’ll need to turn away from your sins and follow him.
If you’re prepared to make a commitment to Jesus, the Bible says it’s simple to put your faith in him. Not easy, but simple.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [or Leader], and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Here’s a prayer you can say to invite Jesus into your life. The exact words don’t matter, just what’s in your heart.
Jesus, I know I’m a sinner: I’ve gone my own way instead of following you. But I’m sorry for my sins, and I want to start living like you. I believe you’re the Son of God, who died on the cross to pay my death penalty. I believe you rose from the dead. Right now, I ask you to come into my heart. Be my Forgiver from sin and Leader of my life. Thank you for saving me and changing me. Amen.
The Bible says that Heaven is celebrating if you just decided to follow Jesus! You’ve begun a friendship with God that will never end.
If you just chose to trust Jesus as Forgiver and Leader, then congratulations are in order! Here are some steps you can take to develop your new friendship with God.
- Attend Church Regularly. To grow as a Christian, it’s important to hang out with other people who are following Jesus.
- Read the Bible. Read a chapter a day from God’s Book. Begin with the book of Mark in the New Testament.
- Pray. You can talk to God like you would to a close friend. Start with five minutes a day.
- Realize You’ll Make Mistakes. Learning to live like Jesus is a process. So ask him for forgiveness when you screw up and then try again. You’re still God’s friend!
- Tell Somebody. At the Highland Vineyard, we’d love to hear that you decided to follow Jesus. Please let us know. We’ll send you an invitation to a catered luncheon for new Christians.
If You’re Not Ready to Put Your Faith in Jesus Yet…
That’s okay—it’s a big decision. But keep seeking God, because he will reveal himself. Meanwhile, If we can help in any way as you explore faith, please get in touch. It would be an honor to share your spiritual journey.