From Catholic Knight;
Realize that God created us to have a personal relationship with him, and this relationship was designed to last forever, throughout all eternity. The following are Scripture references from the Holy Bible...
- See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. - 1st John 3:1
- For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. - Jeremiah 29:11
- For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. - John 3:16
Understand that our relationship with God is broken by sin. Sin is when we turn away from God both in the things we have done and the things we have left undone. It is manifested in our failure to trust God and obey the instructions he has given us. The root of our lack of trust and obedience is our own self will. Inwardly, we seek to "play god" ourselves, defining what we think is right for us based on our own limited understanding and pride. Sin breaks our relationship with God, and separates us from him. Sin also has a consequence...
- All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23
- For the wages of sin is death - Romans 6:23
- These will pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power. - 2 Thessalonians 1:9
None of us are immune from this. Sin is a hereditary trait passed down through the entire human race. We are powerless to overcome it ourselves through our own mortal abilities. We need help.
The illustration shows that God is holy and man is sinful with a great chasm between them. The arrows represent man's continious efforts to reach God unsuccessfully, always resulting in failure.
Discover the truth that Jesus Christ was sent by God to save us from our sins and restore our divinely intended relationship with God.
- But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8
- For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. - John 3:16-18
- Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6
- For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once. - 1st Corinthians 15:3-6
This illustration demonstrates that God in his love and compassion has bridged the divide between God and man through the life and death of his Son Jesus Christ.
Receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, then and only then, can you know God personally and experience his love to the fullest.
- But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name. - John 1:12
We must receive Christ through faith...
- For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9
We must receive Christ by personal invitation...
- Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, (then) I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me. - Revelation 3:20
Receiving Christ involves turning away from self will and to God by trusting Christ to come into your life and forgive your sins, making you what He wants us to be. Just to give intellectual acknowledgment of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial death is not enough. Nor is it enough to simply have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of our will. It is a decision, a choice, much like a marriage commitment, in which you choose to trust Christ and follow him, no matter what the personal cost or difficulty. Once this happens, a change will slowly occur in your life. It may not happen overnight, but if you stick to your commitment, you can expect to see the following transformation over time...
Beginning a relationship with Jesus Christ is very much like exchanging marriage vows. You make a commitment to him by saying "Yes" or "I do". Jesus wants you to know him today, even if you have been far from him in the past. Take a look as the following prayer...
I want to know you personally.
I admit that I have broken my relationship with you through my sins.
Thank you for dying for my sins so that our relationship can be restored.
I open the door of my heart and acknowledge you as my Saviour and Lord.
Direct my life and help me become the person you want me to be.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If so, pray it right now and commit to beginning your everlasting relationship with Jesus Christ.
Seal your relationship with Christ. Just as weddings must be witnessed and sealed by religious and secular authorities, so to your relationship with Christ must be witnessed and sealed by the authorities in the Church that Christ himself has established for our benefit. This begins with a new start in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and he will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. - 1st John 1:9
- Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. - James 5:16
- Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them." - John 20:21-23
The fruits of the Sacrament are peace, hope, joy, and a stronger relationship with Jesus. Find a parish nearby and make an appointment for confession with a priest. Such an appointment can easily be made with a phone call. Even if you're not Catholic, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is open to you. Do not hesitate to receive this gift Jesus Christ has offered you. Do it as an act of faith and trust. This is how you "seal the deal" - so to speak.
Live your relationship with God and his Christ. Your life has begun anew, and so now is the time to enjoy the benefits of this new life...
- Talk to God every day through prayer;
- Be baptized, if you are not already;
- Read your Bible every day beginning with the New Testament;
- Become involved in a local parish;
- Share your faith with others;
- Celebrate the Sacrament of Eucharist every Sunday and go to Confession on a regular basis.
- Be faithful to him and know that regardless of any stumbling on your way he will always be there loving you.