An anonymous reader posted this question the other day on this blog:
“I only have one question. How does a person find God? I admit I don'T attend Church like I should and I am ashamed to say that when I do I feel empty. I need some serious help.”
Here is my response:
Thank you for your question. I’m so glad you want to be closer to God!
Here’s what you should do:
Become a Christian
Are you a Christian? By that, I mean, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? In order to become a Christian, you must accept who Jesus is, what he has done for you and allow him to be the Lord of your life. The Bible says, in Romans 10:9, “So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death.” That means you accept that Jesus died on the cross for you so that all your sins might be forgiven. And you must believe that he was resurrected by God. (You can read more about this here). If you are ready to accept Jesus as your Savior and become a Christian, then please do so now. Or if you already are a Christian, trust that you are ready to begin a deeper relationship with God.
If you are a Christian (or have just become one), the next thing you need to do is spend time with God through prayer. You will never get to know God if you don’t spend time with Him. Just like you invest your time in your family, your friends or your significant other, a good relationship with God means spending time. Dont' make it too hard on yourself - just talk and be prepared to listen. Talk to Him about what’s going on in your life. Let God know what your concerns are - openly and honestly. And be prepared to hear Him 'speak.' And how does God speak? Read this posting - How to Hear From God - to get some insight. Make sure you make time in your life to hear from God.
Study the Bible
The Bible is a way for God to let us know what’s on His mind. It covers the early days when He interacted with His people (the Old Testament), lots of rules, laws and regulations and then goes on talk about Jesus Christ (the Gospels) and the work of Jesus's apostles (the rest of the New Testament). It’s interesting reading, to say the least. By reading the Bible, you will get a much better idea of who God is, what He expects from you and how He operates. As an added bonus, you will be able to hear from God much more easily - you now speak His 'language' so to speak. By reading the Bible, you have discovered what He wanted you to know about Him, His promises to you, His ways and how He communicates to human beings. It's also important to know the Bible, because it will form the foundation of your understanding. Everything that you hear, read or experience will now be compared to what the Bible says. In this way, you will be able to determine the truth for yourself. I can't emphasize enought how important it is that you obtain knowledge about the Bible for yourself. People can tell you anything, but once you know, then you’ll always know – for yourself! Read the Bible to understand God better, to be able to communicate with Him better and to be able to discover the truth in your own life.
Consider going to church.
You can learn a whole lot about God from prayer and study, but going to church should help you accelerate this process. The pastor should be able to help you understand the Bible in new ways. It’s always a good idea to learn from people who know more about God than you – and there will always be someone who knows more than all of us about the Bible. You would benefit from having a teacher or a spiritual guide and be under the leadership of a good, solid church where they teach you the Word (the Bible). Bypass all the fanfare and hoopla and look for a place where you feel at home and where you feel you know more when you left than when you arrived. That place is out there for you.
If you are absolutely opposed to attending church, there are a lot of good ministries and support groups online as well. I would still say, however, that going to a brick and mortar church would be a good idea because, in addition to learning more about God and the Bible, you would get to know other Believers better. You will (hopefully) get to know other Godly people and be able to share your thoughts, doubts and struggles with them. Other Believers can offer support, affirmation and love and these are all very, very important things to have as you learn what it means to lead a Godly life and try to live your life a better way.
Trust the Holy Spirit
I would advise you to trust the voice of the Holy Spirit throughout this process. The Holy Spirit's specific role is to lead and guide you in daily living. (Read more about the Holy Spirit here and here .) The Holy Spirit is not a 'presence', a 'feeling' or a 'thing' - He is a person! He is, as my pastor says, God with us. Which means He is the little voice we hear in our ear when we are steadfastly trying to do the wrong thing, telling us not to do it. Or the twinge in our conscience reminding us to be kind to others, to call our mothers or to spend more time with our kids. He is the one fillng you up with positive messages, trying to keep you on the right path and helping you in your studies as you grow in the Lord. And the good thing about the Holy Spirit is that the more you listen to Him, the more He speaks! He will help lead and guide you through many tough situations in life and comfort you when you are down. You will come to depend on Him as you never have been able to depend on a person before. A relationship with God (and His Holy Spirit) is truly a beautiful thing!
The best news of all is that as you seek God, He will be making Himself available to you! He loves it when we try to become closer to Him! Seek Him and you will find Him.....
Please let me know how your journey goes (or if you have any other questions) and I will be praying for you every step of the way.
God Be With You
How to Hear From God
Getting Closer to God
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We Are Not Defeated - We may encounter defeats but we must never be defeated. ~ Maya Angelou www.thedailymeditations.com
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