J.I. Packer stated it well, “We are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it.”1
When I was an atheist, I wanted to find a philosophy, an approach to life that would work in any situation. I thought that if I found the right reason to live, a strong enough goal or a well-tested, workable approach, I would be able to handle anything. I could be completely capable.
I searched for this steadily. I would study a philosophy until I understood it. Then I would try it out. I tested various philosophies and found each one either unrealistic or insufficient.
I did not realize that what I really needed was another person to walk through life with me. One who is without limits, without failures, and with unlimited wisdom that he was willing to share with me.
A friend’s life caused me to consider another direction. Could God actually exist?
After a year and a half of investigating the evidence for God’s existence, I asked him to come into my life.
The Bible describes what I found to be true. “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”2
This mentions Christ, because it is Jesus Christ who brings this change. Jesus said, “I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.”3
Most surprising, as I read the gospels about Jesus' life, I noted how often--and how detailed--he describes his love for us.
What began as an intellectual pursuit became a very personal awareness that God is far more than I ever expected. I discovered that God’s love is not based on “if we will…” or “when we will…” It is not contingent on our actions or whether we deserve God’s love. We don’t. He loves us because it is God’s nature to love.
David says in the Psalms, “your steadfast love is better than life…”4 and “with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.”5
When we begin a personal relationship with God, life begins to make sense.
Here are just a few examples of people who have written to our site:
- I just really love that I can trust God.
- I'm now in a relationship with God. It's true that we are designed to be in a relationship with him. I feel Complete.
- Thank you for opening up my eyes and heart as to how I could have a relationship with the Lord.
- I was an atheist and did not know christ until about 6 weeks ago. My relationship with him is amazing and growing. I have had so many burdens lifted and i have never been happier in my life, for god is faithful and continues to prove his love for me.
- I thank you in so many ways for helping me discover god--your website has helped start my quest to know god, though I know it was god who pursued me.
- I am slowing learning about this amazing Jesus our Lord, our savior. I must say I am in awe of our God. He is wonderful. I am getting to know him more easily, excited to read the book of John. I am proud to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
- Thanks for helping me find god and myself.
- now know that I can go to God with bad feelings. I don't always need to take it on myself, or have someone to talk to about it, or drink over it. I can go to God with it.
God can change your life. He will not make it problem-free. You will still have relationship challenges, maybe financial problems, etc. You will still be a human being, living in our world. And it’s far from perfect.
However, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”6 We don’t go through life blindly. He guides us.
He quiets our fear. No matter what is going on, God can be trusted. Jesus said, “My peace I give to you, not as the world gives to you. Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” He is stronger than any problem, walking with you through it, as your closest friend.
He changes areas of our lives that we can’t change. The Bible says that there are areas in our lives that enslave us, that dictate to us.
We might not want to get angry, yet we lose our temper. We might want to be generous, yet it seems hard to put others ahead of our own needs and desires. Even when we want to be free, we struggle with hatred toward others or toward ourselves, and just can’t seem to shake it.
Jesus said that when we know him, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”7 He changes how we see life, how we think about others, how we see ourselves. God is amazing and more real than you might now imagine.
God has such a genuine love for us that he himself provided the way for us to get close to him. What stands in the way of people connecting with God is our sin (our thoughts or actions that God sees as wrong). If you've ever wondered why your prayers seem to go nowhere, this may be why. Our sin separates us from God, who is holy.
The consequences of sin is death. That means being forever separated from God. Out of his love for us, God himself provided a way to pay for our sin for us. This is the remedy.
Jesus Christ ("God in the flesh") took all of our sin on his shoulders while he willingly died on a cross. Jesus told his disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”8 Jesus did this for us so we could be completely forgiven…forever. The wall of sin that separated us from God is now gone. A relationship with God is offered to all who will believe in Jesus, who will accept God’s offer of forgiveness.
The Bible says that the world was created through Jesus, that he has existed eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit…only one God, yet a trinity.
He promised numerous times before his death that three days after being killed and buried, he would physically come alive again.
Jesus had already performed countless miracles for people. That’s why so many followed him and believed in him. His miracles were obvious: healing the blind, sick, and lame; feeding crowds of 5,000 people; even bringing people back from the dead. But Jesus’ greatest proof of his claims to be God, would be his own rising from the dead. This would verify everything Jesus said he could do for us. Either he comes alive again or remains dead in the tomb.
Those who crucified Jesus knew that Jesus had said this, so they stationed an entire Roman guard of soliders at his tomb.
In spite of this, historians have noted that three days after being buried, Jesus’ body was gone. As further evidence, Jesus appeared with many people afterwards, on numerous occasions.
The first time that Jesus showed up with his disciples, Thomas was not with them. When they told Thomas about seeing Jesus and their conversation with Jesus, Thomas was more than skeptical.
Jesus’ death had been brutal. After being nearly beaten to death, Jesus wrists and feet were nailed to a cross, where he hung till death. Before being taken down from the cross, a spear was thrust into Jesus’ side to confirm his death.
Thomas replied, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were gathered and this time Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”9
Jesus’ disciples were so convinced of Jesus’ life, words, and identity as God, they traveled to remote areas telling people about Jesus. This cost them their lives. They died as martyrs at the hands of others. Even today, people are choosing to die by others, rather than deny their faith in Jesus.
When we ask Jesus into our lives we receive his forgiveness, and we begin a relationship with him that lasts forever. Jesus said, "I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him (or her)."10
If this is the desire of your heart, you can begin a relationship with him now. The following is a suggested prayer. The words aren't as important as the attitude of your heart:
Dear God, I confess that I have been living apart from you. Thank you for taking all of my sin upon yourself on the cross. I want to receive your forgiveness. I want to enter into a relationship with you. I ask you, Jesus, to come into my life. Lead me in the kind of life you created me to have, in relationship with you, guided by you.
If you have asked Jesus into your life, you have just started to learn what life is all about, with purpose, with God.
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(1) J.I. Packer; Knowing God; InterVarsity Press, pg 14. (2) 2Corinthians 5:17 (3) John 10:10 (4) Psalms 63:3 (5) Psalms 36:9 (6) John 8:12 (7) John 8:32 (8) John 15:13 (9) John 20:25-29 (10) Revelation 3:20