“How do I find the Lord?”
That was the question a woman asked her friend. It is a great question, one I always liked being asked, because God is already at work in the person’s heart when she has such a desire, or else she would not have asked the question.
Though I have never met this person, I believe it is safe to say she realizes God is here in this big universe, but she does not know how to have a relationship with him. I would surmise that she knows her life is incomplete. Something is lacking to make her a complete person, and money cannot buy it. She might have some guilt and not know how to handle it. Perhaps she fights a depression that cannot be lifted by any vacation or new car. Maybe there is boredom in her life that the bright lights of the entertainment world do not change. When the burden of the day is heavy, there is a lack of strength.
Her question – How do I find the Lord? – reveals that she is convinced she must do something to catch the attention of the Almighty, but what is it? Therein lies her problem.
So she asks, “If I cannot take the initiative to find God, how do I enter a relationship with him?” The Bible answers: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8).
What does this mean? Let’s go over God’s plan of salvation, revealed in the Bible.
In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. . . .” To be created in the image of God means we have been made with some characteristics that God has. God has a mind; the human being has a mind. He has a will; we have a will. He is eternal; we have a soul that is immortal. We are the crowning work of God’s creation. We can think and make decisions. Consequently, we are responsible beings.
When Adam and Eve had the opportunity to use their minds and wills to obey or disobey God, they chose the path of disobedience. In language that we understand, they said, “Get out of my way, Lord. I am going to do what I want to do and not what you have commanded me to do.”
This disobedience is called sin, and from that day on their relationship with God was broken. Paul describes it in this way: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned . . .” Romans 5:12. That is why the woman asked how she could find God. It is a cry of despair – a crying out for the Father she does not know. However, she is fortunate; for although she cannot find him, she believes God is alive. Millions of people have no thought of a relationship with Him and do not seek to find him.
However, God has said that he wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. So what did He do? He sent his Son to take all of the world’s sins upon himself. Then Christ, the God-man, went to the cross and died as a sacrifice for our sin. He paid the price through his sacrificial suffering and death. On the third day God raised Him from the dead, and in that act declared he had accepted the punishment for sin. He offers salvation to all. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Because of Christ’s sacrifice, that relationship with God can be restored, and we can live and die with him.
Now salvation is available for all who will receive Him in faith. But how can we believe? Martin Luther wrote, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel . . .”
St. Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).
All Paul and Luther are saying is that we cannot make ourselves believe. However, the Holy Spirit will create this faith, which enables us to say from our hearts, “I receive Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord.” When you pray what we have sometimes called “the sinner’s prayer,” Christ comes into your heart. He takes all of your sins away. God sees you, through Christ, as forgiven, spotless, and clean. You are now in a relationship with God. You did not find Him; he found you!
How does the Spirit do this? We read our Bibles, and as we read the Spirit works within us, making these verses come alive. God is speaking to us. While the mind cannot understand what we are reading, the Spirit makes these words living truths. This requires that we expose ourselves to God’s Word through which the Spirit works.
If you are serious about this matter of becoming a believer, I would urge you to set aside a few minutes each day for Bible reading. First, purchase a good Study Bible. This will cost about $50 and will have good notes at the bottom of each page helping you to understand what you are reading. I suggest that you begin reading one chapter each day in the Gospel of St. John. Then read the other Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This will give you about three months’ reading. After that, read the book of Acts and learn how the early Church was used by God, realizing he has the same assignment for his followers today. Soon you will want to enjoy the Psalms, which relate people’s relationship with God.
It is also very important that you worship in a church where the Gospel is preached each Sunday. You need the fellowship of a worshiping congregation. Do not choose just any church. Make sure you are hearing God’s Word expounded.
It will also help you to find a small group of believers who gather regularly to study and discuss God’s Word. Remember that wherever the Word of God is being read, the Holy Spirit is working, and that is how God is working faith in your life. Being with other Christians builds us up in the faith. Paul wrote to the congregation at Rome and told them he hoped to be with them soon “that they might be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12).
Let’s go back to the point when you ask Christ into your life. He said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). He comes into your life when invited. So you ask Him into your life.
Now you are a baby Christian. You have just been spiritually born. But what would happen to an infant who was born a healthy baby, but never fed after the birth? You are right. The baby would die. So will any person who receives Christ, but is not fed by God’s Word. He is the Bread of Life. That means if you want to grow and become a mature Christian person, you must live in God’s Word through faithful Bible study and worship. Spiritual giants are people who have walked with the Lord through the years in His Word, and he has fed them.
How do I find the Lord?
It is a great question, and God’s Word has the answer.
It is the answer for our own lives, and it is the answer for us to share with those who want to know how their lives can be enriched by a personal relationship with God.