Entering a Relationship with Jesus
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
- John 1:12-13
Entering a relationship with Jesus is simple and the resulting relationship is profound. The purpose of this document is to explain the basic parts to the process of entering a relationship with Jesus Christ. In essence God has purposed to us, an invitation to marriage, and we simply say yes. Marriage is a big commitment, and God will never give up on us or divorce us, so you should be aware of what you are getting into because there is no getting out. If you are "all in" and impatient, then you can skip the "why" for now and go to the "how," but I think you'll find they work together.
Why Marry God?-3 Reasons
1) Him, 2) Our condition - sin and death, 3) Our position or incompleteness - we are created for union & communion.
First, God Himself is a sufficient reason to commit to a relationship with Him - this is the "What! Are you crazy?" reply. Suppose you want to get married, and the best looking, most intelligent, most virtuous, most loving person, (etc.) is actually wildly in love with you. You would have to nuts to turn that down! If you are not interested in a relationship with God, you must not know who He is; so, why not read the book of John and ask God to reveal Himself to you before you start. When you see how loving and beautiful He is, I think you will be interested.
Second, our condition will be dramatically improved. The Jesus taught that He is the giver of and source of life (John 5:21, 26), so to be separated from Him is to be dead to Him - death is separation from life. The cause of this separation is sin, but the root of this idea is not immoral or bad behavior. Immoral behavior and physical death are the fruits of sin. It follows that if you want to produce different fruit, then you simply must have a different root.
But, it is impossible to simply change natures! How could I do that? Well, God is the creator, and He offers to replace your corrupted spiritual DNA with His very own making you a truly different being. Further, this offer is very attractive because becoming connected to His life, which is eternal, makes us immoral as well. So, although our bodies will die, they cannot remain dead and will one day rise again as His did. Moreover, to turn down the offer is to willing choose not only a less flourishing life, but to choose eternal death.
Third, to enter union with the God of the universe, the source of life, completes us in the most profound way. Being connected to eternal life is not simply about "going to heaven;" rather, it is about union with God in a relationship that we can experience and develop now. When God created us, we were designed to flourish in His presence; so, to live apart from that is to live like a sea lion in the middle of the dessert. Life in relationship with Jesus Christ is living like we were intended to live - we become ourselves.
Moreover, the fulfillment of our lives united with God brings about the possibility of deeper relationships with other people. When the foundational relationship with God was broken, discord and disunity entered human relationships as a matter of course. Similarly, when relationships with God are restored, human relationships are empowered to grow in healthy interdependence; then these relationships are maximally fulfilled in a community of fellowship and joy of the family of God.
How Do I Do It? I Want To Say Yes!
The short version is: express your need for relationship with God by praying something like "Thank you God for your free gift of life for me. I know that I am broken and imperfect and hopelessly lost with out you. I believe that you died and suffered the judgment of God in my place on the cross, and I want Jesus' death to be counted for mine. I believe you rose from the dead and now offer your life to me. Please come into my life. I pledge my life to you in return. Amen."
However, there is no magic in the prayer. What counts is that you actually accept God's offer of His life to you, and pledge your life to Him. You can write you own vows and express them however seems best; so long as you are talking to God and accepting His offer, He is going to be thrilled that you are responding to His love.
Now, long version of how to enter the relationship is really no different, but is the same story but with more details. To enter a relationship with Christ one "believes" and "receives" or accepts Him. "Belief" (verb) is a rich word that communicates that a person adheres to, trusts in, and relies on some proposition; in this case, that Jesus Christ is the God of the universe (John 1:1-3), who became a man (John1:14), who died to take the judgment of God in my place (John 1:29), and resurrected from the dead (John 20) - proving the truth of His claims and actions.
Historically, the Christian church has adhered to the Nicene Creed, but certainly you don't need to understand or believe everything to begin a relationship with God. In this way, it is just like getting married in another sense - you don't fully know what you are getting into until you are into it. So, if any of the three reasons I previously gave in the "why" section is sufficient for you, it is reason enough.
On the other hand, if you are looking for more evidence to believe, there are plenty of good resources to investigate more deeply into the truth of Jesus Christ and the life He offers. An investigation will supply more evidence that will help you actually form the belief that all this is true, and then you will receive it.
Resources for Further Investigation
- Read the Common Objections & Questions in the Good News Navigator
- Discovering God: Exploring the Possibilities of Faith
- Christian Think Tank
- Leadership U
- Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
- Discovering God: Exploring the Possibilities of Faith by Dennis McCallum
- Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell