Futile Attempts to Fill the Void
Many people today are searching for God but are not aware of it. They just know that there is something missing in their lives but do not know what it is. They may try to fill the void with fun, friends, entertainment or sex. Some may try yoga, meditation, therapy or counseling. Others turn to overeating, drugs, alcohol or tobacco. Some people just turn on the TV and let their minds fill up with whatever comes out of it. There are some good television programs, but few people are disciplined enough to filter out all of the garbage that comes along with the good.
Although some of these activities are all right in moderation, many of them will only make matters worse. However, none of them help to answer that all-important question – how can you find God? You can spend your entire life looking for fulfillment and satisfaction, but if you don’t know God, there will always be something missing.
Learn about Jesus Christ
To truly know God, you must know His Son, Jesus Christ. After man sinned through Adam and Eve, it became necessary for us to be redeemed, but only one who is perfect can provide redemption for mankind. Since there was no one perfect who could pay for our sins, and God loved the world so much, He sent His only begotten perfect and sinless Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to be born of a virgin and become man while continuing to be God at the same time. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a dove, and God spoke calling Jesus His beloved Son. God was present at the baptism in three forms – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – revealing that He is truly three in one. Jesus gave His earthly life to pay for our sins. He chose to sacrifice His life for us. He could have refused to pay that price, but He loves us so much that He offered to take the sins of the entire world upon Himself to redeem us. He suffered, was crucified, died, was buried and then rose again so that we may have eternal life.
The Holy Bible and Holy Tradition
Many of Christ’s words and deeds are recorded in the Holy Bible. You can read that Bible to learn more about Him, and when you know Christ, you will know God. However, countless things that Jesus said and did are not written in the Bible. It would take innumerable volumes of books to contain a record of all that He did while He lived on earth among mankind. Jesus Apostles handed down many of His words and reports of His deeds to succeeding generations, and they have passed them down faithfully from generation to generation through the years. The church they started, the Orthodox Christian Church, calls these records Holy Tradition.
Find a Good Church
If possible, find an Orthodox Christian Church near you. Most people are not aware that, during the 40 days between Christ’s resurrection and His ascension He taught His disciples many things, and among those things were instructions about how to establish His church on earth. Many people believe that church was the Roman Catholic Church, and during and after the Reformation various new denominations were formed. However, the Roman Catholic Church parted from the Orthodox Christian Church in 1054, partly because of distance barriers, and the Reformation occurred later because Martin Luther and others became disenchanted with the Roman Catholic Church. The Orthodox Christian Church has not changed and remains today just as it was when established by Jesus Christ’s Apostles more than 2000 years ago.
When you find God, you will naturally want to worship Him, please Him, obey Him and have a relationship with Him. The best way to worship Him is to join others who worship in the manner instituted by His Apostles. When you walk into an Orthodox Christian Church, you will see many icons – depictions of Christ, His Virgin Mother Mary, Apostles, and other Saints. Orthodox Christians call these icons “windows into heaven” and they contribute to the awareness that you are surrounded by “so great a crowd of witnesses” joining in the heavenly worship service. The rich traditions that Christ’s Apostles taught and passed down to each subsequent generation remain in the Orthodox Christian Church to this day.
When asked about how to find God, Father John Baize, of Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Christian Church in Hillsboro, Kansas, replied, “Reading the lives of the saints is a good faith builder as well. St. Paul said that God is not far from any of us. Any person who turns to God in prayer will certainly be heard. God responds very quickly to the sincere heart.”
Relationship with God
One can learn about God, study the Bible, listen to pastors and teachers, join discussion groups and attend churches. However, learning about God is not the same as knowing God. To truly know God, you need to have a relationship with Him.
When you know God, you can call out to Him any time of the day or night. He will never leave you nor forsake you. You can speak with Him at any time, and He will hear you whether you speak aloud or silently. When you know God, you will never be alone again. When you know God and believe that His Son, Jesus Christ, is your Savior, you can submit every aspect of your life to Him and know true peace and joy.
Key Life Choices
The three most important choices you will make in your lifetime are:
Your partner in marriage
Your life can be enhanced by your marriage when you choose a life partner to share all the ups and downs with you through the years. If you look beyond physical appearance to find a godly mate with a beautiful soul, you will make a wise decision. When you both agree to make God a part of your marriage and family life, teach your children to know Him and love Him, and you try to do His will in all things, your home will be a happy one, full of love and joy.
What type of work you do
When you select work that benefits others, is enjoyable and fulfilling to you, and pays enough to support your family, you will be making a good choice. It is unwise to work at a high paying job if it causes stress, makes it necessary to be away from your family often, or is unethical in any way. Extra income does not contribute to happiness. It is better to be contented with less than to have riches with sadness.
Where you will spend eternity
Your time on this earth, whether you live to be 50, 75 or 100, is like the blink of an eye in relationship to eternity. Other things may seem important, but everything else pales in comparison to your relationship with God. If your marriage is not what you had hoped it would be or if you hate your job, you will discover that after you find God, He will take care of all the details of your life – including the unsatisfactory things. When you realize that He is in control, you can turn everything over to Him and rest in the assurance that He cares for you, loves you and will never leave you. If you must endure hardships, an unhappy marriage, illness or other trials, remember that those things are only affecting your life on earth, and that is such a short span of time when you think about your eternal life which goes on forever. If you know God and believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior, you will spend eternity in heaven with Him where everything will be perfect.
Find God in other people
If you look for God in other people, the results can be rewarding for those people as well as for you. When you treat your spouse as you would treat Jesus, you will create a lovely atmosphere in your home. If you see Jesus in your children and talk to them about Him, your family life will be pleasant, and they may carry those positive attitudes to their friends and classmates too.
You can even see God in strangers and other acquaintances. A teacher relates that she once had a class of angry students who were unloved and abused. They were disruptive, destructive and didn’t care to learn. One day while she was praying about them, she felt that God was telling her to look for Him in them. When she looked for God in her students, looking each one in the eye individually, she saw Jesus. She then began talking to those children about Jesus – how He loved them, cared for them and would always be with them – and their attitudes changed completely. They stopped their negative behavior and became healthy, happy, cooperative and eager to learn.
Find God in Nature
When you consider the natural wonders that you can observe everywhere, you will see God. Listen to the thunder, feel the strong wind and gentle breezes, enjoy the sunshine and shade, see the lightening, snow, sleet and rain. If you think about the majestic mountains, awesome canyons, beautiful flowers, mighty oceans, rivers, lakes, and other marvels of nature, you realize that those wonders could not have just appeared. They had to be created by the One who controls the universe. When you think of the power that it would take to make the world and everything in it, you can begin to believe in the existence of a mighty God. The God who spoke and made the heavens and earth and all things loves each one of us so much that He allowed His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for our sakes, and He wants us to love Him too.
God Knows You
If you do not know God, you may be surprised to learn that He knows you, loves you and is waiting for you to come to Him. God created you and even knows how many hairs are on your head. He knows everything about you – your thoughts, your desires, everything you say, everything you have ever done and everything you will do – and He still loves you. You are His child, made in His image, and He patiently waits for you to come to Him and love Him. He will not force you to do anything though. He did not create you to be a puppet or a robot. He desires that you come to Him of your own free will. Even God does not buy our love. He freely gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for the sins of the entire world so that we can all be saved, but we are free to choose whether or not to accept the salvation He offers to us.
God Accepts You
Some people think that they are too sinful for God to accept them. God’s Word, the Holy Bible, says that there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who do not need to repent. When Jesus was dying on the cross, two criminals were crucified with Him. One of them repented, and Jesus told the repentant thief that he would be with Him in Paradise that day. It is never too late to come to God, no matter what you have done, said, thought or felt. He knows your heart and will know if you are sincere about finding Him.
Do not wait until you feel that you are good enough to talk to God, because that will never happen. Nobody can ever be worthy to have a relationship with God, but His Son, who alone is without sin, paid the price for our sins. The only way that we can come to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ. When you believe that Jesus died for your sins, rose again and offers salvation to you, you are free from the bondage of sin.
You don’t have to use any special language or certain words to talk to God. Simply speak to Him like you would talk to any friend, and He will hear you. Tell Him about your concerns, ask Him to take care of the details for you, and then leave your cares with Him. You can trust Him to work everything together for good.
You Won’t Need to Fear Death
When you find God, the empty void in you life will be filled. When you finally realize and believe that Jesus Christ paid for your sins and wants you to spend eternity with Him, you will never need to be afraid of dying, because you will know that when that happens, your life will not be over – you will be in paradise with Him forever.
Where to Find Answers
There are some excellent sources on the Internet where you can seek help in your effort to find God. A few of those sites are:
Beware of Satan
When you find God, love Him and surrender yourself to Him, Satan will try to deceive you. He hates it when people give their lives to God and live for Him, so he tries various ways to get you away from the truth and the path to salvation. Satan can be subtle and convincing. He will try to create doubt in your mind and tempt you in ways that you do not expect. When that happens, do not give in to him, but cry out to God for help. Praise God in all things, because Satan cannot remain where God is being sincerely praised. Resist the devil, and tell him that the blood of Jesus Christ has redeemed you.
Finding God is not complicated or hard. God is everywhere in all creation, and He is in you too. He is waiting for you to seek Him and ask Him into your heart.
- Learn About Jesus Christ. Study the Holy Bible, especially the New Testament, to learn about Jesus. He is fully God and fully man. He came into the world to save sinners and offers redemption to all who accept it.
- Find God Through Jesus. The only way to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ. When you know Jesus, you know God. Jesus said that He and the Father are one. He told His disciples that if they had seen Him, they had seen the Father.
- Salvation is Free. God offers salvation to us as a gift. We can either choose to accept it or reject it. Our redemption was bought and paid for by Jesus’ death and resurrection, so there is nothing that we can pay. We cannot buy eternal life with God. We cannot earn it or deserve it. We cannot be worthy to receive it, but we can accept it.
- Feelings Can Be Deceiving. Do not wait until you feel that God lives in you and loves you. You only need to believe that Jesus is Lord and died for your sins, and trust Him to save you. Decide to accept His gift of eternal life, and surrender your life to Him. You may not “feel” anything special, but have faith that He has saved you, and don’t be concerned about feelings.
- You Can Have Joy. Only God can give you true peace and contentment. As you learn to know Him, trust Him and put Him first in your life, you will be filled with His joy and love.