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Why am I here? It seems we all come back to this question throughout our lives.

God loves YOU and wants you to experience peace and life—abundant and eternal life. (Romans 5:1, John 10:10, John 3:16)

We were created to know God in a personal way—to have a real relationship with Him, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Sometimes religion can be a barrier to truly knowing God. We can get lost in all the rules, codes, and lingo. But here's a simple path to get beyond all the religious clutter and begin a genuine relationship with God...

1. Realize that you are a sinner.

No matter how good a life we try to live, we still fall miserably short of being a good person. That is because we are all sinners. God created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27) to have an abundant life (Jeremiah 29:11). He did not make us as robots to automatically love and obey Him. God gave us a will and a freedom of choice.

We chose to disobey God and go our own willful way. We still make this choice today. This results in separation from God. The Bible says, "No one is good—not even one." We cannot become who we are supposed to be without Jesus Christ. God created you to be in perfect relationship with Him, but our sins fracture that relationship and separate us from Him. (Romans 3:23, Isaiah 59:2, Romans 6:23)

2. Recognize that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you.

The Bible tells us that "God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8). This is the Good News, that God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die in our place when we least deserved it (1 Peter 3:18).

The way to know the Father is through His Son: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the only mediator between us and our Creator (1 Timothy 2:5, II Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 9:15).

3. Repent of your sin.

The Bible tells us, "Repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away" (Acts 3:19). In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The word carries the idea of changing our direction in life. Instead of running from God, we can run toward Him. It means that we change our mind about how we think about God, sin, and running our own lives.

All of salvation, including repentance and faith, is a result of God drawing us, opening our eyes, and changing our hearts. God's longsuffering leads us to repentance (II Peter 3:9), as does His kindness (Romans 2:4).

If we claim to have no sin, we are found to be liars in direct rebellion with God. But if we humble ourselves and confess our sins, we find forgiveness, healing, cleansing, and restoration in our lives (1 John 1:8-10, II Corinthians 5:17).

4. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ.

Becoming a Christian is not merely believing some creed or going to church. It is having Christ Himself take residence in your life and heart. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in..." (Revelation 3:20). If you would like to have a relationship with Christ, simply talk to God from your heart.

Confess your sins to Him (Proverbs 28:13). Genuinely ask God for forgiveness on the basis of Christ's righteousness and His sacrificial blood that was shed for you at the cross. It purchased your salvation in full (Galatians 3:13-15, Colossians 1:19-22).

"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

"... 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" (Romans 10:9).

Pray to God from your heart, in your own words. It may sound something like this: Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins (repent) and surrender my life to your salvation and Lordship. I confess You as my Lord and Savior. Thank You for dying to save me. Now help me, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, to live for you in this fallen world I find myself in. Amen.

I hope you prayed that prayer sincerely. If you did, consider what God has given you...

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV)

"And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:11-13 ESV)

Receiving Christ, we are born into God's family through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer. This is called regeneration, or the "new birth."

This is just the beginning of an abundant new life in Christ. To grow in your relationship with God, you should:

1. Read your Bible daily. Start with the New Testament Gospel of John and follow Jesus around. Learn from his rhythms, teachings, and lifestyle.

2. Pray. Prayer is not about magic words but authentic conversations with your Father in heaven. Here is a great resource for learning more about prayer.

3. Witness. Tell others about Jesus and your decision to follow Him. You are called to be a "witness" for Christ (Acts 1:8). This doesn't mean getting into arguments or beating people up with scripture. It means being as natural in your faith as you would be in talking to others about your favorite sports team or favorite place to eat. Just be real. Do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15), and especially in love (John 13:35, Ephesians 4:15).

4. Find a church. Worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church that teaches God's Word (Hebrews 10:23-25).

5. Serve others. As Christ's representative in a needy world, demonstrate your new life by your love and concern for others.

If you contact me about your decision and any questions you may have, I will help you with valuable resources and important next steps in your faith journey.