Can I Know God Personally?
The idea of a personal relationship with an infinite, eternal, Almighty creator God often seems incredible to many people. People think that He is surely too far above us and unknowable to relate to us like a friend, but the Bible says in Isaiah 57:15;
" For this is what the high and lofty One says. He who lives forever, whose name is holy, " I live in a high and lofty place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. " "
God wants to go well with us personally, and has made the way possible by becoming a man in Jesus Christ and providing a way for our sins to be forgiven through his death and resurrection.
Jesus invites us into this kind of relationship
In Matthew 11:28-30 He says " Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. "
The picture here is of a person weighed down by a life that they know to be wrong in so many ways and Jesus offers rest by becoming yoked to them as two cattle are yoked together to pull a plough. In this situation, the stronger one would set the direction and take all the strain and the weaker one just has to walk alongside. This is a picture of walking through life's difficulties and struggles together with Jesus’ strength to take the strain, as we allow Him to set the direction.
In Revelation 3:20, He says " Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me. "
A famous picture shows Jesus standing outside a door knocking. There is no handle on the outside of the door and so it has to be opened from the inside. This is like us as we have to open the door of our lives to Jesus to let Him in and only then will He live with us. Eating is a symbol of sharing friendship.
What must we do to enter this relationship?
Change our minds -repent.
Matthew 16:24-25 “ Then Jesus said to His disciples, " If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. "
A complete change of mind about life, which involves a kind of death in losing all previous dreams, ambitions and motives and submitting to God's will for us.
"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose ". We cannot keep the things of this life but God is offering us the assurance of eternal life with Him.
Pursuing material things and following the aims of this life does not ultimately give satisfaction but living a life filled with God's love, as Jesus lived, is the most noble, worthwhile life imaginable.
Acts 3:19 " Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. "
Believe- have faith in Jesus
Acts 16:30-31 " He then brought them out and asked " Sirs, what must I do to be saved? "
They replied " Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. " "
The word " believe " or " have faith in " means to trust, and so one has to trust in Jesus for forgiveness and for leadership in our lives. This involves putting our whole lives into Jesus’ hands and is not just an intellectual belief. Everyone can know that someone is the Prime Minister but not everyone trusts them enough to vote for them. Similarly, the devil knows that God is there but does not trust or obey Him. Trust can be viewed as a complete reliance on something for example putting your full weight on a chair.
The most famous of verse in the Bible is John 3:16; " For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. "
This says that whoever has faith in Jesus will not be condemned to perish in hell on the day of judgment but will have eternal life.
In John 17:3 Jesus defines what He means by eternal life;
" This is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. "
This is a personal relationship.
Receive the Holy spirit.
Acts 2:38 " Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. "
God sends his Spirit to live within all those who trust in Jesus and this Holy Spirit is the indwelling presence of God, our Father, and Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, with whom we can have the most intimate personal friendship.
Jesus said in John 14:23 " If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. "
This talks of a very close relationship and the Holy Spirit comes within us to teach us about God and to change us.
John 16:13 says " The Spirit of truth will guide you into all truth "
Galatians 5:17 says that the Spirit will prevent us from doing what we would have otherwise done and Ephesians 3:19 says that through this indwelling we can " know this love, (of Christ), that surpasses knowledge and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. "
Testimony - see Lives Transformed. When someone places their faith in Jesus and receives the Holy Spirit, there will be things that may not have appeared to be wrong before but now the Holy Spirit within them will bring a conviction that these things must stop and be put right.