How Can I Have a Personal Relationship with God?
What does it mean to have a personal relationship with God? How do you start a relationship with God?
First it is important to understand that God Himself is a relational Being. God has not distanced Himself from humanity or His creation. Instead God is consistently pursing humanity and doing whatever He can to initiate a personal relationship with every human being.
In Jeremiah 33:3 God says: “Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
Psalm 14:2 says: The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.”
So God is a relational Being who wants a personal relationship with us.
Furthermore, even though we are sinners who may have done some very terrible things, God does indeed love us and He desires to be reconciled with us.
Romans 5:8 says: But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
In 1 Timothy 1:15 the apostle Paul says: The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost
Therefore God is the first initiator who is consistently pursuing us and desiring a relationship with us, even when humanity was not seeking Him.
So how can you have a relationship with God? How can you grow in your relationship with Him?
1. Believe and receive Jesus Christ as Savior
Your personal relationship with God begins when you realize that you are a sinner who needs Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Romans 3:23 says that we have all sinned and fall short of God’s perfect standard of righteousness. Our sins have the consequence of leading us to hell and eternal punishment.
However, God loves us even though we have sinned against Him. God is merciful and forgiving. Therefore God provided a method by which we can be eternally forgiven of our sins and escape eternal punishment.
Eternal forgiveness is found in the Person of Jesus Christ who died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. By His grace Jesus paid the debt for sin that we cannot pay through the shedding of His blood on the cross and then rising on the third day to prove His victory over sin and death.
Therefore since Christ became our Substitute by paying for our sins, our salvation is a free gift of God which we receive by grace through faith or total trust in Jesus as Savior.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Romans 6:23 says: For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
John 3:16-17 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
So your personal relationship with God begins when you accept what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross to pay for your sins and then believe in Him as your Savior. It is through Christ alone that all our sins are forgiven and through Him alone that we receive eternal life.
2. Spend time with God through Prayer
In order to cultivate and grow in your relationship with God, you must learn to pray all the time. Talking to God should be something you do every day.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says that we must pray without ceasing. This means that we can talk to God all the time and about any issue because God is always available and ready to listen to us.
3. Spend time Studying God’s Word
The Bible is God’s inerrant instruction book for mankind. The Bible is where we discover the mind of God about all kinds of issues and topics. The Bible is where we discover the nature and character of God. The Bible is where we discover the difference between good and evil and the plans that God has for humanity.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
We must not only read the Scriptures, but we must be doers of God’s word (James 1:22)
4. Love God and love others
Our personal relationship with God must be motivated by love. Love is an integral part of any good relationship.
The two greatest commandments that Jesus gave His disciples pertain to our relationship with God and our relationship with other people
In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus said “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love is what motivates us to treat others with care and respect. Love is what helps us to obey God and live righteously.
In John 14:15 Jesus says “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments”
In John 17:3 Jesus prayed to the Father: “And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
When the Bible talks about “knowing” God it usually refers to having an intimate one-on-one relationship with God.
Christianity is not a religion, instead Christianity is a relationship with the one true God.
Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for our sins, so that we can have an eternal relationship with God.