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I've always believed there was something out there but I've been through some difficulties and feel something is missing in my life. Is it selfish I only want to confide in God now I'm in a rough time?
Thank you so much for your question. It is fantastic that you are beginning to ask the big questions of life - whether God is real, and if He is, what He might have to do with your life. Obviously this answer cannot do justice to such a huge subject, but I hope to be of help to you as you begin your journey - I encourage you to continue it until you are convinced for yourself of the life-changing answers to these questions that can be found in the Bible.
First, let me quickly address your worry that it is selfish to begin to seek after God just because you have gone through a tough time in life. If I’m honest, there may be some truth in that statement - it is very common for people to effectively ignore God most of their lives and then turn to Him just when they have a problem. However, you have the opportunity not to be like that - what matters most is not how you come to start this journey toward God, but where you finish that journey, and I hope for you it ends with you meeting God and coming to know Him for yourself.
The good news that we’re going to look at is that God is willing to forgive the past, and give you a clean slate to work from as He moulds and changes you into the person He wants you to be.
So where do we start when asking ourselves about God, and how He relates to our lives? Unfortunately we must start with some bad news. Maybe you look at the world sometimes and wonder how it can be such a horrible place. How can people continually do horrific things to one another, right down from the biggest global atrocities, to the way in which we can all sometimes wrongly treat our families, friends and neighbours?
The Bible has the answer to this question - it tells us that we are all born into this world as what it calls ‘sinners’. We are born naturally wanting to do our own thing, put ourselves first, and make our own life the best it can be - we are naturally selfish. We ignore the God who created, and this leads us to act and live in ways that are obviously wrong, even to ourselves.
Perhaps you’ve heard the account in the Bible of the very first people God created - Adam and Eve - all our problems today stem from them. They decided they didn’t want to listen to what God told them to do - they wanted to be in control of their own lives - greater than God even, and people have been living the same way ever since.
The bad news that this brings us is that these sinful attitudes and behaviours leave us in a bad situation when it comes to God. God is perfect (the Bible calls Him ‘holy’ - separate from sin), and so can’t allow sin near to Himself. He is also a just judge, and so, just like we’d expect an earthly court to punish someone who had committed a crime, God must punish those who disobey Him and rebel against His word. What this means is that, as sinful men and women, we cannot be in the relationship we were meant to be in with God, we are separated from Him, and to be separated from God means to be separated from all that is good. The worst part of it is that if we die separated from God, there is no going back on that - we will be separated from Him forever, in a place the Bible calls hell - a place too terrible to imagine.
The final part of this bad news is probably the most important - we must all relate this to our own lives. I don’t know how you respond to what I have said above - there are a few common reactions that people often give. Some will relate instantly to what I have said - they know they are not always good people, and they know they have done things in their life for which there must be some pretty serious consequences. Those who think like this can be well on the way to accepting the good news of the Bible.
However, there are others who will be at the other end of the scale, and will react angrily to the suggestion that they might be sinners - they believe they are good people, and couldn’t possibly deserve judgment from God. For these people, the good news of the Bible won’t even seem like good news, as they believe they can earn heaven for themselves anyway.
Wherever you fall on this scale, all I can do is ask you to be honest with yourself, and I believe you’ll see the teaching of the Bible rings true. What I’m not saying here is that you have committed all kinds of terrible crimes in your life but the Bible doesn’t just focus on these more outward and obvious of sins, it portrays the inward heart attitudes, such as pride and selfishness, just as serious as the crimes that make it onto the news.
Once you have accepted the reality that you have, as the Bible says sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), you are ready to accept the good news that is the whole point of the Bible, and there is some amazing news for those willing to believe.
Another verse in the Bible, in Romans 6:23 says it this way: for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The wages, or what we earn from our sin is death - not just physical death, but to be separated from God, which is the essence of death. But wait, that isn’t the end - there is a gift that God is waiting to give us - the gift of ‘eternal life’.
If to be separated from God is the essence of death, then to be truly alive must mean to be in a relationship with the source of all life - God, and that’s exactly what this is talking about - but to see that happen there has to be something huge take place. We’ve already said that God is holy and just, and must remain separate from all sin - so for us to come close to God, to become His friends, our sin must be taken away - not just swept under the carpet, but actually dealt with. Thankfully, God in His wisdom, has made a way that this can happen, and that’s exactly what Jesus is all about.
The Bible tells us that though Jesus was and is the eternal Son of God, He came from heaven to live in this world around 2000 years ago. Though He was God, He experienced all the trials and temptations of life that we face, yet He never once rebelled against God - He never once gave in to the temptation to be selfish and sin. The Bible goes on to say, as I’m sure you’ve heard, that Jesus was cruelly executed on a Roman cross. He wasn’t killed for His crimes, because He had none, He wasn’t even killed just because the Jews were jealous of Him, though they were - He was killed according the eternal plan that God had put in place.
As Jesus died on that cross, God was doing something amazing. We’ve already said that the wages of sin is death, well Jesus was suffering on the cross the death that we deserve for our sin, so that if we trust Him, we can be forgiven. Jesus even cried out on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). For that moment when Jesus cried out those words, He Himself, though He was God’s Son, had been separated from His Father, just as we deserve to be.
The Bible says that Jesus bore our sins in His body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24) and He did it so that we would no longer have to be separated from God, but could come and enjoy friendship with God, and adoption as one of His sons or daughters.
Jesus demonstrated that though we are sinners, God still loves us more than we can understand, and wants us to come back into a relationship with Him. And what does the Bible say that we must do to receive this gift of eternal life? Well that’s one of the best parts - all we have to do is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and we too can be saved (Acts 16:31).
Many people might think that we need to earn back a relationship with God by our good deeds and by changing our lives but that’s not the case - we could actually never be good enough for God. The Bible simply says to repent (Acts 2:38 - which means to turn away from our sin, beginning to walk the way God would want us to) and believe, and we will receive the amazing gifts of everlasting life, forgiveness of our sins, and a relationship with God that will last forever, all the way to the eternal perfection which is in heaven.
So, what does this have to do with your desire to be less anxious and more free? It has everything to do with it - could there be a more carefree and liberated life than one knowing that God is on your side, and that as a perfect Father He is watching over everything you do, caring for you in every way you might need. I’m not saying that if you trust Jesus everything will be perfect - far from it. God still chooses to allow us to go through difficult times to test us, and help us to grow in our faith and in the character He wants us to have, but there is a huge difference between going through those times on your own, and going through them with an all-powerful friend right alongside you. What is more, for those who have trusted in Jesus, they have the greatest hope this world could possibly give - one day all our tears and all our sorrow will be wiped away, and be replaced with eternal joy and bliss in the presence of Jesus, the one who loved us enough to die in our place.
So all that remains is for me to ask you - will you take that step of trusting Jesus to take your sin away and bring you into a relationship with God? I can’t really encourage you enough - it is the greatest decision you could possibly make, and it will transform your life completely. I would understand it though if you thought you needed more time to consider these amazing promises that God has given us.
The best thing you could do is to get yourself connected with a church local to where you live, if you are not already involved in one. Our church finder may well be able to help you with that. God has told us that we will find Him if we seek for Him with all our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13), so I urge you to continue on in this search that you have begun - finding the answers may not always be easy, but the reward there is at the end of the search is well worth whatever you must go through to get there.
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- John 3:16-21
- Romans 10:4-13
- 1 Peter 3:18
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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