Here’s a very direct question that’s not always easy to give a real and honest answer to: Do you know Jesus? People who have grown up in church their whole lives might even struggle to know exactly how to answer this question. I wrote this post, and I still ask myself this question. So, if you’re not sure how to answer right away, that’s okay. Let’s wonder out loud together.
First, who is Jesus?
Jesus—the One Christians believe is the Son of God.
Jesus—the One who is all God, but who also became all human for a period of about 33 years about 2,000 years ago.
Jesus—the One who was there when God decided to ignite the beauty and wonder of Creation.
Jesus—the One who became a vulnerable human baby, born to a Middle Eastern teen mother of little wealth.
Do you know that Jesus? The one who befriended the hated, defended women, showed prostitutes how to find real love, crossed racial lines, and corrected the leaders of His own religion.
Have you accepted Jesus as a real and historic figure but not yet as your friend and the leader of your life? Do you know Jesus as the great prophet who died on a cross but not yet as the Son of God who came back to life before promising us His Holy Spirit?
Maybe you know Jesus as a church symbol or story you’ve heard about over and over but not as the human example and divine strength that makes everything new in your life.
Did you hear those stories as a kid—stories of Jesus dying so that you could live? Did you wonder how He got so good at forgiving the people who were killing Him? Those were the stories that got me wondering.
As I get to know Jesus, I keep finding more reasons for hope and joy despite the very real pain and fear in this world. I’m discovering the why behind my questions about my identity, and I’m learning what makes my life meaningful. My whole life, I keep finding this God who finds you even while you are running from Him. Do you know the God who loves you where you are when you feel stuck trying to avoid Him? Or the God who never leaves you where He finds you?
Each day I try to invite His Holy Spirit to be at home in my life, and I find that sweet comforting presence in the middle of stress and mess. Do you know Jesus like this? Have you decided to accept and follow Him with everything you’ve got?
Maybe you can relate with me, and you feel like at some point someone asked you to ignore your knowledge of science, or history, or religion, or your own mistakes. But lately, I’ve been getting to know the Jesus who works through all those things. Do you feel lost trying to be loved by someone or something that just can’t quite do it for you? Is everything pretty good but nothing is ever enough? Do you feel more dim than light these days? Do you feel overwhelmed by the weight of your guilt, shame, or mistakes?
Jesus had just set a woman free from shame and the hypocritical, homicidal judgment of others when some religious men challenged Him about who He really was. He began to speak to them in the book of John, chapter 8, verse 12 (consider reading the whole chapter if you’re still not sure about Jesus).
Jesus once again addressed them: “I am the world’s Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in.” John 8:12 MSG
Consider This Prayer to Accept Jesus
How does that sound? Would you like to be able to really see the world? To live a life that full of light, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and self-control? To experience the radical forgiveness only Jesus can bring? Will you consider praying this prayer?
God, I’m here. I’m ready to know Jesus. I want to try following Him with my life. Will You help me make Jesus the Savior of my life? I want plenty of Your light to live in.
Jesus, I believe You gave me Your life; I am giving You mine. I need Your forgiveness. I need Your Holy Spirit to make a home in my heart and comfort, love, and guide me into this new way of life. Thank You for Your grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.
How’d that feel? Did you sense anything changing in your heart or mind? If so, maybe spend some time today writing about it. If not, that’s okay too. Following Jesus is a one-day-at-a-time kind of thing. It’s okay that you may not know much of the Bible or all the words you hear Christians say. Jesus entered a world where a lot of people who knew those things still didn’t know Him, and He made a way for all of us to know and love Him the way He knows and loves us.
What’s Next After Praying to Accept Jesus?
Accepting Jesus is something you do once. Following Him is for every day after that. It’s taking the everyday stuff of life and finding out how to do it the way Jesus would if He were living in your skin, and asking God for help to live that way. How do we manage that?
Spend time talking with Him. You may have heard people say fancy or formulated prayers, but that’s not necessary. Just start talking with God every day. Tell Him what you love, how you’re doing, ask for help, and do plenty of listening, too. It’s okay if it feels odd at first; the best relationships start that way. Here are some more thoughts on prayer.
Get to know God’s words. To get better at listening for God’s voice, you’ll want to know how He sounds. The Bible is a great place to find God’s words. It’s a collection of stories, poems, history, and letters written by people God used to speak to His followers at different times in different places. It’s a beautiful picture of God’s love for you. Here’s some help understanding the Bible.
Find some people to love. You’re going to need people. So much of the love and change and hope from God that you will experience in your life will come through people. Likewise, most of the commands Jesus gives for following Him are about loving, serving, and befriending others. A local church is a great place to find people to follow Jesus with. Life.Church meets in person throughout the United States and every day around the world online. Once you find a local church, get into a smaller group. At Life.Church, these are called LifeGroups. Here’s some help finding people.
Should I get baptized? One thing you’ll discover about following Jesus is that He loved using imagery and symbols to help people understand things. Baptism is imagery of what God is doing in your heart. It’s literally going into a pool of water and coming back out soaked and for some reason smiling. It’s symbolically proclaiming that your life has been washed and made new by Jesus. Here’s some help understanding baptism.
Live a full and generous life. Here’s the thing you’ll find out if you don’t know it already: Following Jesus is going the places He would go, to do the things He would do, to love the people He loves. It’s a full and generous life. It’s giving your time, talent, and money to a great local church but also in your neighborhood. It’s lending your car, or your ideas, or your help to someone who needs it. It’s serving the older couple you live near and finding a way to serve at your church. It’s a life of giving, and it’s so worth every bit of it. Here’s some help thinking about living generously.
Is there more to following Jesus?
Jesus, in His own words, said that He came that we might live life to the full. That’s one of the things that’s so great about getting to know Him. It takes a lifetime to do it. What you read above are some of the basics of accepting Jesus and following Him with your life, but it’s a daily thing, and you don’t have to have it all figured out. If you’ve accepted Him, He’s with you through the Holy Spirit. We’re so glad you’re getting to know Him, even if you haven’t yet decided to follow Him.