The Starting Point is salvation through Jesus. It’s not the final thing… that’s the beginning.
Romans 10:9 reads, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Once you’ve have begun your relationship and received the forgiveness of Jesus. You continue to cultivate a personal relationship with God. It takes time. I want to suggest to you a few things in cultivating a personal relationship with God.
Mind Time (Thinking on God and the Things of God)
When you are in love with someone, when you have a relationship with them, you think about them even when you are not in their presence. Although you can never leave God’s presence, you can still practice Mind Time even as you go through your daily activities.
Isaiah 26:3 reads, "you keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."
Think on the things of God. I have people tell me they can’t. That they are more consumed with guilt, regret, temptations than thinking about the things of God. One verse that has been particularly helpful for me is 2 Corinthians 10:5. It says, "We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ."
Knowing God personally is setting your heart and mind on the things of God.
Face Time (Dedicated, undistracted time in God's Presence)
Face Time is important. When you love someone, you give them your full attention. It’s the same way in your relationship with God. Face Time is being present.
We listen to God through His Word. When we open God’s Word, God opens His mouth! But if you don’t ever get in it, how can God speak to you? This is why it’s so important to have a daily time with God developing a relationship where you sit down for 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes and you let God speak to you through The Bible. If you’re not doing that on a regular basis, you’re missing the number one way God wants to speak to you in your life.
There’s also Time in prayer (communication with God – talking to Him and listening to Him). Prayer is a two-way conversation with God. When you are in an attitude of prayer, God will guide you because Philippians 2:13 tells us, "It is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose."
The Holy Spirit is our guide for difficult decisions. He teaches us and guides us in truth, because He already knows the perfect will of God. He teaches us how to pray and will bring to our remembrance Scriptures that we have read or studied in the past. Sometimes, our problem is that we pray and then we never relate our daily activities to what we have prayed and read in His Word. You’ve got to expect God to answer and seek Him, be in tune with Him and where He is working in your life.
Ask God a question and you give Him the opportunity to answer. Sometimes he’ll say something and many times He won’t. You’ll have to wait as He builds into you a posture of dependence upon Him.
Time with God through His Word, prayer and personal worship.
There is nothing more important than personal worship. Worship is not just a Sunday thing… But it is also a Sunday thing! Daily worship and devotion and weekly corporate worship with the family of God.
A relationship with God is cultivated within the context of God’s Kingdom family. We benefit from time invested with others who have a personal relationship with God. I need it. You need it.
Sometimes I’ll come across a person who says they don’t need the church community… that they can maintain their relationship with God without the church. They say something like, "I'm against organized religion." Anytime I hear that type of thinking I know a few things instantly – I know that somewhere along the way they’ve been hurt. They can’t hear God speak because of the volume of their personal pain – so they’ll hide behind some cliché phrase to make themselves look good.
God called us to be a part of a community of faith. Much of the New Testament was written to a community of believers, not just individual believers. And the application of its truth happens in corporate community not isolated individualism. We grow through the pain we experience in the context of relationships. Most of us have been hurt by others. But it’s in the midst of that pain that we can mature and grow to become more like Christ.
You can know God personally. It begins with a personal relationship with Jesus. He loves you, he longs to know you and be known by you. That relationship is expressed through time. Time with God in His word and prayer. Time with His family in worship, fellowship (relationship with God’s people). Time living on mission serving and sharing the good news of the Gospel.