|WONDERING ABOUT GOD?|
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WONDERING ABOUT GOD? ENGLISH, 23 minute audio.
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Wondering About God?
1. What do you want from God?
If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of life, then you’ve probably also wondered about God. Does God really exist? If so, does He care about you and your life? Why is life so full of pain, emptiness, difficulty and struggle? If God is real and good, why do so many bad things happen?
These are all important questions. If you want to know the real truth about God and are open to the possibility that (1) God may actually exist, even if you don’t believe in Him right now, and that (2) God may want to have a place in your life, then God promises you’ll find answers to your questions. Jesus, the central figure of Christianity, said everyone who seeks God will find Him.
So how do you go about this all-important search? There are probably as many ways to seek out God as there are individual people, but here are some questions and tools to help you in your search.
1. What do you want from God?
People seek God for lots of reasons. Some are curious about religion or Jesus or just want to know what’s really true. Others are looking for meaning and purpose for their lives. Others are looking for relief from their pain.
Depending on the reason you’re looking for God, you may be looking for the wrong thing. What if you find God, but finding Him doesn’t change any of the difficult circumstances of your life? Will you feel that you’ve been cheated?
Lots of followers of God will tell you that their lives now have greater meaning and purpose, but they will also tell you they still experience difficulties and struggles. God isn’t a celestial vending machine from which we can select a perfect set of life circumstances.
God has so much to offer you. God’s gifts to you may not be exactly what you were expecting, but they are good gifts—the very best gifts.
Press on in your exploration of God. Expect the unexpected, and don’t be deterred if the perks of knowing God aren’t exactly what you anticipated. Make it your goal to find God. Understanding who Jesus is and what He said about having a relationship with God is an essential part of finding God. So who is Jesus and what did He claim about Himself? If you're not sure, read on: "What do you think about Jesus?"
2. What do you think about Jesus?
You may have lots of thoughts or suppositions about who Jesus is based on prior experiences, the media, or things you’ve read. Some people first ask a basic philosophical question: Is there a God? Then they work their way toward the question of who Jesus is. Other people start by trying to figure out who Jesus was and then find that many of their questions about God get answered along the way.
Is there a God?
Yes. Men and women all over the world, those who lived thousands of years ago and those who live today, believe that God is very real and testify to their own personal, one-on-one relationships with God. The Bible, start to finish, is a collection of books that tell the story of God’s relentless pursuit of a relationship with humankind.
If you’ve never read the Bible for yourself, you might think that it’s just an outdated set of rules designed to take all of the fun out of life. Quite the contrary. The Bible is an epic adventure containing history, stories, poetry, letters, proverbs, prophecies and teachings. At times, it’s rated “R” — it includes stories of real people who not only do great things but also have huge moral failures. The ultimate point of the Bible, start to finish, is that the God of the universe loves humankind so much that God desires a personal, one-on-one relationship with each one of us.
What does this have to do with Jesus?
One of the most difficult things to grasp about God is that God is absolutely perfect— perfectly loving and perfectly just. We, as humans— every one of us — are flawed and unable to live up to God’s standard of perfection. So no matter how hard we work at being perfect, we can’t do it. We all know the emotions of remorse and shame we experience as a result of our imperfections.
The Bible calls our imperfection “sin,” which comes from a Greek archery term meaning “miss the mark.” That’s what we do as a result of our imperfections— miss the mark. Our sin separates us from God, who is perfect.
God is also perfectly just, so God cannot allow God’s creations to go unpunished. The punishment God prescribed for sin is one no human can escape—death (not the bodily death that all humans will ultimately experience, but eternal death, which is eternal separation of our souls from God).
But God wasn’t willing for all of us to remain separated from God. In order for a perfect God to be able to maintain relationships with us, flawed as we are, God provided a solution that met God’s criteria of perfect love and perfect justice. God sent Jesus, God's son (who was both fully God and fully human), to come to earth to demonstrate God’s love for us.
Having lived a perfect life, Jesus was killed for crimes He never committed. Jesus’ death served as the perfect substitute sacrifice for all that we’ve done wrong. Jesus’ death took the place of our own eternal death. His separation from God took the place of ours and therefore "bridges the gap" between us and God.
Jesus’ death wasn’t His final act, however. After three days, Jesus was resurrected and conquered death once and for all. The perfect man conquered death, the ultimate penalty for sin, and He promised that anyone who believed He was the perfect substitute for their sins would not only be restored to full relationship with God, their creator, but would also look forward to eternal life with God after our earthly death.
If Jesus was who He says He was-- the Son of God sent to make a way for each of us to have a personal relationship with the God of the universe, what does that mean for you? That's really the ultimate question, isn't it? So how will you respond to the question? Read on ....
3. How will you respond to Jesus?
Consider this reality: Jesus was a poor, uneducated, itinerant carpenter who lived more than 2,000 years ago in a remote area, yet he was and remains the most influential person the world has ever known. His brief 33-year life changed the entire history of the world. No serious spiritual search could overlook Jesus and the claims that he made.
Most of us spend at least a season of our lives feeling as though there’s a lack of meaning in our lives—a void that nothing seems to be able to adequately fill—not work, not marriage, not children, not hobbies, not even wealth and privilege. While some things ease the dull ache for a time, even those of us who have really fulfilling lives experience the sense at one time or another, “I was made for something more than this!”
Many people who wrestle with this void ultimately find that one thing fills the void and brings a deep sense of meaning and value to their life. That one thing is a relationship with the God who made them. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God who was sent by God to restore relationship with us. He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John, chapter 10, verse 10, New International Version of the Bible). Not that life is in any way perfect or free of struggles once we begin a relationship with God, but that life now has meaning outside of ourselves—meaning that is based not on who we are but on God and God’s gift of grace to us.
In essence, entering into a relationship with God utterly re-orients our viewpoint. As well-known author, Oxford don, and former atheist C.S. Lewis wrote about his own conversion to faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because, by it, I see everything else."
What do I have to do to have eternal life?
It’s shockingly simple, actually. Eternal life is a free gift that God offers to anyone who is willing to accept their need for forgiveness from God and acknowledge that Jesus already paid the price for them. One of the authors of the Bible put it this way: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24, New International Version of the Bible).
In other words, all we need to do to be restored to relationship with God, and therefore to receive the gift of eternal life, is to acknowledge that we are sinners and then accept the free gift of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. That’s why it’s referred to as “grace”—it came at a terrible cost to God (the death of Jesus) but is a free gift to us. Like any gift, it isn’t really ours until we reach out and accept it.
Do you have some additional questions about inviting God into your life?
If so, you might want to view “The Kristo: Questions About the Christ,” a high-energy, straightforward 3-minute free Flash-driven movie that explains God’s plan for relationship with us and offers some responses to some frequently asked questions about Jesus.
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