What do you do to search for God? Unfortunately, there is no formula to finding God, but the good news is that God is searching for you — and He wants you to find Him. Here are a few ideas to help you in your search for God.
Pray. Ask God to help you find Him. Ask Him to show you Himself even if you’re unsure He’s there. Prayer is simply talking honestly with God from your heart. Tell Him you’re looking for Him. As you search, tell Him your questions, thoughts, doubts, fears and hopes.
Focus your search on Jesus. What is God like? What is His character? We can find the most tangible picture of who God is in the person of Jesus. A letter from one of Jesus’ followers writes, “He is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). When we look at Jesus we see the God who cannot be seen. Investigating Jesus — His character and claims — will lead you to God.
Read the Bible. The Bible is a book of people’s search and relationship with God throughout history. It is also the most direct way to gain a clear picture of God in looking at the person of Jesus, because everything in the Bible points to Jesus. Start here.
Engage your brain… Embarking on a spiritual search doesn’t mean you have to turn your brain off. As author Brian McLaren writes in his book Finding Faith, “Though a healthy faith is bigger than the intellect, the search for faith cannot bypass the intellect…This is a journey that will require you to think bigger than you ever have before and then to think bigger still.” Ask questions. Look at your discoveries — does it make reasonable sense? Knowing God shouldn’t be illogical.
…but search with all your heart. On the other hand, don’t leave your heart behind either. God doesn’t want you to merely find out about Him, He wants you to actually find Him — He wants you to know Him personally and have a relationship with Him. A relationship that involves intellect with no heart is no relationship at all.
Know your past and stay open to what you’re looking for. Our past influences the way we see and understand things in our present and future experiences. Know your past experiences and presuppositions — the things you currently believe. These will profoundly affect your search for God. Just as we are reminded from a scene in The Passion of the Christ where Pontius Pilate and his wife Claudia discuss truth, we won’t be able to recognize the truth if we aren’t open to hearing it.
Ask questions. Question things that people seem to take for granted. Anything true or worth pursuing should be able to stand up against tough cross examination. Write down your questions, especially about the Bible and Jesus.
Where can you ask and discuss your questions? Talk with people you know who follow Jesus. Join a discussion group in your area that explores God and Jesus. Express your questions and thoughts on message boards. Send your question via email. iamnext.com has a team of people ready to dialogue with you.
Investigate and read articles, books, the Bible, websites to see what others have to say. Ask people who follow Jesus what books and resources they have found helpful in getting a clearer picture of Jesus and God.
Talk to people who love and follow Jesus, who show evidence of living according to a different set of principles. Ask how they discovered Jesus — how did they search? Why do they believe? How do they continue to discover more and develop their relationship with God?
Journal your thoughts, questions, discoveries and new insights. Think of it as a scrapbook of your spiritual journey.
Spend time in nature. A letter from one of Jesus’ followers explains the value of observing and experiencing God’s creation, “By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being.” (Romans 1:20)
Make time for your search for God. The unseen and spiritual things in our lives are easily crowded out by the many things that urgently grab for our attention. Decide when you’ll take a few practical steps — read a book, spend an hour searching online, find someone to talk to. Give yourself a general time frame to search — then draw some initial conclusions you can act on.
Evaluate and respond. There will come times where you need to react to what you discover about Jesus — what do you think of who He says He is? Is it true? How will you respond? Remember that you don’t have to know everything about something to know it, especially if that “something” is as vast as God! Even if you searched for evidence of God your whole lifetime, at some point finding God will involve an element of faith.
Expect ongoing questions and doubts along the way. Finding God certainly doesn’t mean having the answers to all your questions immediately or completely. Questions are a natural and necessary part of your spiritual journey and growth, whether you are just beginning to search for God or whether you found Him years ago. There are a million discoveries about God that are yet to come.
As you search for God, know that you are not the only one searching. Jesus is searching for you and wants you to find Him. In His own words, Jesus says: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7)
Adapted from ‘Practical Steps In Your Search For God’.