If you do not yet have a relationship with Jesus, then this is for you!
Friend, God longs for a relationship with you. He is the God of the universe, and can tell all of nature — wind, waves, and fire — what to do. But He has given the human heart a choice, because He longs for us to freely choose to love and know Him.
Remember how our quests are the one thing we want more than anything, and we’d pay any price for them? Well, in a sense, we are His quest. He was willing to do anything it took to make a way for us to have a relationship with Him. He did all the heavy lifting, moving heaven and earth, so that we could be close to Him. (I’ll tell you more about all that in a minute.) Our relationship with Him starts when we say “yes” to Him, accepting the work He did for us.
Saying “yes” to Him changes everything. It starts the slow process of letting Him be in charge of our lives. That sounds super scary … until you get to know Him. Once you know how much He loves you — more than you could ever imagine — it’s no longer scary, because you know He’s going to take care of you. Not only that, but He’s also wiser and more trustworthy than we are.
As you’ve probably gathered from this book so far, having a relationship with God is the most meaningful and wonderful part of my life. When I tried to walk away from God, I felt so much fear and worry — it felt as if something huge was missing from my heart! But being in a relationship with God feels as if the missing puzzle piece has fallen into place — like I finally found what I was created for.
So, if you would like to get to know this God who loves you more than you can ever imagine, I’m about to describe how you can do so. This is my attempt to explain a huge, amazing, life-changing concept in a few pages. Although I know these few pages can’t fully do it justice, I believe that the heart of the message will shine through just the same.
This really is an epic story, written by God. It’s the original story upon which so many of our human stories are based. Just like you’d see in a Marvel movie, this story has a major problem, a hero, and a person who needed to be rescued.
First, the major problem: what the Bible calls “sin.”
Basically, to sin is to break one or more of God’s commands or to do something that doesn’t honor God. Some examples of God’s commands are: Don’t kill anyone, lie or cheat or steal, or even look at another person lustfully.
The problem with sin is that God is so perfect that He cannot be where sin is. For God to be near sin would be like finding natural mounds of snow on a warm, tropical Caribbean beach. It just doesn’t happen!
God deeply desires a relationship with us, but we humans have all sinned. And that sin blocks our ability to get to know God.
It’s easy to think, “But I’ve never done anything really bad like kill another person, so I’m okay.” But the truth is: We’ve all sinned in some way or another and the small sins separate us from God just as much as the big sins.
This has happened ever since the world began: Sin has always gotten between God and mankind, keeping us from being able to have a relationship with each other.
And here’s the other thing: The punishment for sin is death — both literal and spiritual death.
Many of us are physically and mentally alive here on earth, but our hearts are still dead to the spiritual side of things, dead to a relationship with God. And because of that, we feel like there’s something missing inside, which can feel like a lack of peace in our hearts, or no sense of purpose in life.
But God loved us humans too much to let sin takes its toll: separating us from God during our life on earth and leaving us in hell at the end of our physical lives. So, He chose to do something.
Part Two: The hero enters the epic story: God’s only Son, Jesus, who would become our Rescuer and Savior.
Jesus came to earth as a major miracle baby: fully man and fully God, at the same time. He lived a perfect, sinless life — the only human to ever do such a thing.
Remember how the penalty for sin is death, kind of like the penalty for manslaughter is jail time? Well, Jesus came to earth specifically to pay the price for our sins. He died a brutal death — beaten, whipped, and nailed to a wooden cross. That’s how much He loved us! He died in our place for all the sins we ever had or ever would commit.
It’s kind of like this: Imagine if I was sentenced to jail time, but you offered to go to prison instead of me. I could still go to prison if I chose, but if I accepted your offer, I could walk free.
That’s what Jesus did. He died in our place, so that we wouldn’t have to. We can still choose to die by refusing His offer — His gift, or we can choose to come alive by receiving it and letting His death cover the punishment for our sins.
Three days after dying on that cross, death could no longer hold Him captive and Jesus came back to life — leaving behind an empty tomb. (After all, He’s God; He’s way stronger than death!) Soon after, He returned to heaven where He waits for us to one day to join Him after our physical bodies pass away — if we will but receive His offer.
Part Three: That brings us to the ones He came to rescue: You and me, and all of humanity.
The interesting thing is that people can choose not to be rescued. God has given us that choice. He doesn’t force anything upon us. We can refuse the offer, and let sin take its toll on us, or we can accept the offer and come alive.
I think the hardest part of accepting the offer is admitting that we need help. It reminds me of struggling with my eating disorder and not wanting to ask for help. I hated to admit I didn’t have it all together, even to myself! In that same way, Jesus’ rescue takes humility to accept, but it’s so worth it!
A lot of people (like me) try at first to earn Jesus’ gift, because we feel badly just accepting something that came at such a high price. But the thing is: We cannot earn it. That’s impossible because no matter how many good things we do, no human is perfect. In comparison to God’s perfection, the Bible says that our best deeds are like filthy rags. (Actually, “filthy rags” could be translated as “used tampons.” Gross!)
We can never “make it up” to Jesus, but … we can love Him. And that’s what He wants more than anything else. If we will but receive His gift and love Him, then that will be everything He wanted when He came and died for you and me.
How to accept the rescue:
Here’s how we accept His rescue: We confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is the Lord God, that He died for our sins, and that He came back to life again.
All you have to do is tell God you’d like to receive His rescue. There’s no magic prayer; just talk to Him. You can ask Him to forgive your sins, and you can start to give Him your life. Here’s an example of a prayer like this:
“Lord God, I have sinned, and my best deeds are like filthy rags in Your eyes. Please, would You forgive me of my sins? I want to know You and have a relationship with You. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and for the sins of the whole world. I believe He then came back to life and is with You in heaven. I accept His gift, His rescue. I give You my life. Would You help me come to know You?”
Then, we begin the slow process of giving Him our lives.
You see, a relationship with God doesn’t mean just going to church and doing good things. Instead, it means giving our entire life to God and having a personal relationship with Him.
When the Bible talks about God’s salvation, it’s not just salvation from sin; it’s also salvation in every single area of our lives. As we slowly learn how to give Him our lives, He comes in and brings salvation in every imaginable area — peace to our minds, healing to our hearts, and more.
This doesn’t happen all at once, but over time, as we continue to give our lives to Him day after day, it changes everything. Here’s what I mean: We accept His rescue just once, but then every day of our lives, we get to know Him more.
You can get to know the Lord through reading the Bible and through going to a church that believes and teaches the Bible. Joining a small group Bible study at that church can be a great way to get to know God more.
There are also lots of great Bible studies you can do on your own, like Beth Moore’s Bible studies and the Alpha Course. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to share some more resources with you.
We only need to accept His rescue once, but after that, we come to know and love Him more fully, every day of our lives. Throughout this process, the way we talk, act, and think will all slowly start to change — and not in a bad way. No, in fact, we will start to become the people we were created to be!
So there you have it! I have found no greater joy in this life than to know the Lord. It’s only in a relationship with Him that we can find the ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment that our hearts desire. Wherever you are today, may God bless you as you begin (or continue) your journey with Him.
Bible verses to check out about this:
First, if you don’t own a Bible, you can go to www.biblegateway.com and read the entire Bible in almost any version right there!
Here are the Bible verses I drew this all from, in case you’d like to read them for yourself! 🙂
- Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21.
- Matthew 5:27-28.
- Romans 3:23.
- Romans 6:23.
- John 3:16-18.
- Romans 10:3.
- Romans 10:9-10.
- Romans 12:1-2 and 9-21.
- Isaiah 53:3-6 and Isaiah 61:1-3.