How to Get to Know God Personally
Of all the questions you will ask yourself in life, the most important is, Am I good enough to go to Heaven? The answer to that question will have eternal consequences. The way to find out is to ask yourself if you have obeyed God's standard of goodness, the Ten Commandments. Most would say, "Well, I've broken one or two, but nothing too serious, like murder, etc." So, let's go through them and see how you do:
1. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.
Is God first in your life? Do you love God above all else? Imagine you purchased a TV for your children, but the next evening you arrived home from work and found that they didn't even bother to greet you. They were too busy watching television. By ignoring you because they preferred to watch TV, they were setting their love on the gift rather than the giver, a wrong order of affections. In the same way, if we love anything - our spouse, our children, or even our own lives-more than we love God, we are setting our affection on the gift rather than the Giver, which is a transgression of the First Commandment. In fact, the Bible says that we should love God so much that our love for our family should seem like hatred compared to the love we have for the God who gave those loved ones to us.
Have you loved God with all your heart? If not, you have committed the oldest sin in the Book. You be the judge. On Judgment Day, will you be innocent or guilty of breaking that Commandment? I'm not judging you - I'm asking you to judge yourself before the Day of Judgment.
2. YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FOR YOURSELF ANY GRAVEN IMAGE.
This means that we shouldn't make a god to suit ourselves, either with our hands or with our mind. Have you made a god in your mind that you're comfortable with-where you say, "My god is a loving god who would never send anyone to Hell"? Perhaps your god doesn't mind a "white" lie or fib here and there - in fact, he doesn't have any moral dictates. In reality, that god doesn't exist; he's a figment of your imagination. If your god is not the One revealed in Holy Scripture, then you have made an image of God to suit yourself, something the Bible calls idolatry. Scripture warns that no idolater will enter the kingdom of Heaven (1 Cor. 6:9).
3. YOU SHALL NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD YOUR GOD IN VAIN.
Have you ever taken God's name in vain-using it flippantly, like "OMG," or in place of a four-letter word to express disgust? Even Hitler's name wasn't despised enough to use as a curse word. If you have taken the holy name of the God who gave you life and used it in that manner, that's called blasphemy, and the Bible says, "The LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Ex. 20:7).
4. REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY.
I ignored this command for 22 years. Even though God gave me the gift of life, I didn't give Him one day in seven. I was guilty of breaking this Commandment.
5. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER.
Have you always honored your parents implicitly, treating them in a way that's pleasing to God? This doesn't mean you honor them only if you think they are good parents. We are to respect and obey them just because they are our parents. Ask God to remind you of the sins of your youth. You may have forgotten them, but God hasn't.
6. YOU SHALL NOT MURDER.
The Bible warns that if we are angry at someone without cause we are in danger of judgment, and that "whoever hates his brother is a murderer" (1 John 3:15). We can violate God's Law by our attitude and intent. Have you broken this Commandment by harboring anger or hatred toward someone? If so, God sees you as guilty of murder, and "no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."
7. YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.
Who of us can say that we are pure of heart? Jesus warned, "Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). God has seen every thought you have had and every sin you have ever committed. The day will come when you will have to face His Law, and we are told that the impure, fornicators (those who have sex before marriage), and adulterers will not enter the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9,10).
8. YOU SHALL NOT STEAL.
Have you ever taken something that didn't belong to you, regardless of its value? This includes stealing an answer on a test, taking a pen from work, even keeping extra change that you know isn't rightfully yours. If you've taken anything that isn't yours, then you are a thief-and you cannot enter God's kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9,10).
9. YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS.
Have you ever told a lie? Then that would make you a liar. You may not think deceitfulness is a serious sin, but God does. "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord" (Prov. 12:22), because He is a God of truth and holiness. The Bible warns that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 21:8).
10. YOU SHALL NOT COVET.
Have you ever coveted (jealously desired) anything that belongs to another person? That's a violation of the Tenth Commandment, and the covetous will not inherit the kingdom of God (Eph. 5:5).
Who of us can say we are not guilty of breaking these Commandments? All of us have sinned, and just as with man's law, you only have to break one law to be guilty. The Bible warns, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10).
A little girl was once watching sheep grazing and thought how white they looked against the green background. But when it began to snow she thought, "The sheep now look dirty against the white snow!" It was the same sheep, but with a different background. When we compare ourselves to man's standard we look pretty clean, but when we compare ourselves to the pure snow-white righteousness of God's standard, His moral Law, we can see ourselves in truth: that we are unclean in His sight. The Bible says it is appointed for men to die once and then face judgment, and that Law is the holy standard by which humanity will be judged on Judgment Day.
To be good enough to go to Heaven, we must be perfect-in thought, word, and deed. So on the Day of Judgment, will you be innocent or guilty of breaking God's Law? You know you will be guilty. This may sound strange, but the worst thing you could do at this point is to try to clean up your lifestyle; you may realize that you have sinned and think that from now on you will keep the Ten Commandments, do good deeds, say the right things, and think only pure thoughts. But should a judge let a murderer go because he says he will now live a good life? No; the criminal is in debt to justice and therefore must be punished.
Perhaps you think that God is good and will therefore overlook your sins. But if you were guilty of terrible crimes in a civil court and said to the judge, "Judge, I am guilty but I believe you are a good man and will therefore overlook my crimes," the judge would probably respond by saying, "You are right about one thing; I am a good man, and it's because of my goodness that I am going to see that justice is done, that you are punished for your crimes." The very thing that many people are hoping will save them on Judgment Day, God's goodness, will be the very thing that will condemn them. If God is good, He must punish murderers, liars, thieves, etc., and God's place of punishment is the "prison" of Hell.
What a terrible place Hell must be! If you hear that a man received a $5 fine for a crime, you could conclude that his crime was insignificant. But if he received the death sentence, you could conclude that his crime was heinous. In the same way, we can catch a glimpse of how abominable sin must be in the sight of an utterly holy God by the punishment given for it: "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23) and eternity in Hell. Ungrateful humanity never bothers to thank God for His wonderful blessings of life, color, light, food, joy, beauty, love, and laughter, so He will take those blessings away from them. Instead of showing their gratitude by obeying Him, they use His name to curse. Their punishment will be just and severe to the uttermost. According to the Bible, Hell is a place of eternal, conscious torment, where the "worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched"; there is "weeping and gnashing of teeth," "everlasting punishment," and "eternal fire . . . the blackness of darkness forever."
I am afraid for you, but I am not the only one who doesn't want you to end up in Hell. The person who gave you this tract cared enough to give it to you and risk rejection, and God Himself is not willing that you perish. Because God is rich in mercy, He made a way for you to be forgiven. To make clear what an incredible thing He has done for you, let's look again to civil law: You are standing in front of a judge, guilty of very serious crimes. All the evidence has been presented and there is no doubt about your guilt. The fine for your crime is $1,000,000 or life imprisonment, but you haven't two pennies to rub together. The judge is about to pass sentence . . . he lifts his gavel, when someone you don't even know steps in and pays the fine for you. Justice has been served, the law has been satisfied, and you are now free to go. What's more, the one who paid your fine showed how much he cares for you. His payment was evidence of his love.
That's what God did for you, 2,000 years ago. He sent His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, to pay your death penalty in your place. Jesus died on the cross on your behalf, so that you could live. You are guilty; He paid the fine. It is that simple. The Bible puts it this way: "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us . . . But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Gal. 3:13; Rom. 5:8).
It was no small thing for Jesus to die for us. The only thing that would satisfy the demands of Eternal Law was the shed blood of the sinless Son of God. What love God must have for you! Jesus suffered unspeakable agony, so that you wouldn't have to be punished for your sins. Then three days later He arose from the dead, defeating death. His sacrificial death and resurrection mean that you need no longer be in debt to the Law, and God can now grant you everlasting life if you obey the gospel.
What should you then do? Simply repent (turn from your sins) and put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Don't put it off; you may not have tomorrow - 150,000 people die every 24 hours. Would you sell an eye for a million dollars? How about both for $20 million? No one in his right mind would. Your eyes are priceless to you, yet they are merely the windows of your soul. Your life (your soul) is of such value that Jesus said that you should despise the value of your eye in comparison. He said that if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you, for it is better to enter Heaven blind, than to go to Hell with both eyes. In other words, of all the things that you should prioritize in your life, it's not your health, your vocation, etc. - it's your eternal salvation.
Can you see your predicament? You are guilty of sinning against God Himself, and because He has given you a conscience, you know right from wrong. "Conscience" means "with knowledge," so isn't it true that every time you lied, stole, etc., you did it with knowledge that it was wrong?
Does the fact that you have sinned against God scare you? It should. You have actually angered Him by your sin. The Bible says His wrath abides on you, that you are an enemy of God in your mind through wicked works. But let fear work for your good, in the same way that a fear of jumping out of a plane mid-flight would make you put on a parachute. Let your will to live open your heart to the gospel of salvation.
Think of a man who has committed adultery. His faithful wife is more than willing to take him back, so what is the attitude in which he should approach her? It should be one of tremendous humility, asking for forgiveness, and determining in his heart never to even think of committing adultery again. That's how you should approach God. If you are not sure how to pray, read Psalm 51 and make it your prayer. Turn from your sins and put your faith in Jesus Christ in the same way you would put your faith in a parachute to save you. You don't just "believe" it will benefit you, you actually entrust your life to it by putting it on. The Bible says, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14). When you do that, God will forgive every sin you've ever committed and grant you the gift of eternal life. Then read the Bible daily and obey what you read.
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Keyword:Relationship with God