Establishing a Personal Relationship with God
I believe we have three potential dimensions. For many years I only experienced two of them. (1) We have a physical dimension. Our body (I call it an “earth suit”) gives us the ability to interact with the physical world. (2) We have an intellectual/mental dimension. This is called by many, the soul, inner self or person “behind the eyeballs.” (3) We have the potential for a spiritual dimension. The spirit gives us the ability to have contact or communion with God. A person becomes out of balance when they neglect any of these three aspects of life.
The Creator God warned our ancestors (Adam and Eve) if they rebelled and disobeyed that “. . .In the day you eat of it ( the forbidden fruit) you will surely die”. We know that they lived many years after that fateful decision (physically and intellectually). Therefore, He must have been talking about the other dimension to life (the spiritual). This is confirmed by Jesus in the Gospels when He explained to Nicodemus (a ruler who asked about eternal life) that he needed to be “born again”. Jesus made it clear to Nicodemus that he was talking about the spiritual life. (See The Gospel of John Chapter 3).
The Bible indicates that this spiritual death was passed on to all humans. In other words, when you and I were born, we came into this life with a body and a soul but an inactive dead spirit. I believe that we all need to be “born again” spiritually. In accordance with this the Bible declares that we “. . .all fall short of God’s glory.” (Romans 3:23) This is God’s definition of a sinner
How do we get this spiritual life?
I believe there is nothing we can do with in our own resources to make this happen. I believe we must accept God’s remedy for this without reservation. What is God’s remedy?
I believe that Jesus Christ is God’s son. That is, he was born without a natural father. Somehow God miraculously fertilized the Virgin Mary. I don’t really have a problem accepting that. I figure if God designed and made everything that would not be a problem for Him. I believe that Jesus lived a perfect life and eventually submitted to a substitutionary death on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins. We become recipients of His gift of spiritual life by choosing to accept His remedy for our spiritual death. This means humbling my-self to admit to God that I cannot solve the problem. I must rely completely upon HIS sacrifice.
When I made this life changing decision, I prayed three prayers that I believe are taught in the Bible.
The Prayer of Confession:
This first step means admitting to God that you are not perfect like Him; and therefore are as sinner. I have found that many people have a problem with this because it is so humbling. This prayer is described in 1 John Chapter 1 verse 9.
The Prayer of Repentance:
Repentance means a change of direction. It means turning from one thing to another. Jesus spoke often of the necessity of this action. This prayer is centered around our willingness to turn from “our own way” to the Lord, who alone is able to make us into the people He wants us to be. Many people who believe in the Lord have not repented. Rather they ask the Lord to come join them as they continue going their own way.
The Prayer of Commitment:
There is a difference between belief and trust. The Bible says: “He came unto His own creation; but His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God” (The gospel of John, chapter 1, verse 12). This prayer is taking one’s belief in the Lord to the point of commitment. It means inviting the Lord Jesus to come into your life.
When I prayed these prayers, He came into my life and gave me a spirit, His Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus meant when He said we must “be born again”.
If you pray these prayers sincerely, God will come into your life also. You will have spiritual life. But this new spiritual life is similar to physical life. It needs to grow and be nurtured. Just as there are three food groups for the physical body, there are three essentials of spiritual growth.
The word of God (Bible) is to the spirit as food is to the body. Begin reading the Bible. I recommend starting with the Gospel of John. Pray before each reading. Ask God to help you understand. Find a church that teaches the Bible (not all do) and begin attending.
Begin talking to God. That is prayer. Be grateful to Him for his many gifts. Express your deepest needs and fears. Ask for strength, help and wisdom.
Begin talking with someone who has this commitment. The Bible teaches us that we need one another for encouragement, support and accountability. I know this has been a long document to read; and yet I have just hit the basic truths of beginning the spiritual walk. I hope this letter will encourage you to make the commitment or confirm it with God. I would consider it an honor If you would take the time to drop a note and give me your reaction.
Robert Vernon, Assistant Chief of Police, retired