When we hear the word "experience," it's natural to think of it as something tangible, or something that provokes some sort of sensory experience. So, how can we truly experience God? We experience His forgiveness through Jesus Christ, His presence through the Holy Spirit, and His love and care for us through God the Father (1 John 4:8).
Jesus came to earth as God incarnate. He was crucified in order to make provision for permanent forgiveness of our sins (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7). Through His sacrifice, when we put our faith in Him, we experience eternal forgiveness and salvation. When we are submitted to the lordship of Christ, we get to experience the other blessings of God and facets of His character.
The Holy Spirit inhabits us when we accept Christ. He is our Helper and He is how we have a relationship with God here on the earth. He teaches us and speaks to us, enabling us to hear God's voice and know His will: "But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you" (John 14:26, AMP). The Holy Spirit gives us the understanding to grasp that we are children of God (Romans 8:16).
God has provided the opportunity for us to approach Him, know Him, and experience His presence. When we seek Him, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:12–13; Matthew 7:7–8). Through the blood of Jesus, we are cleansed of our sins and are able to draw near to God in total freedom (Hebrews 10:19–23). James 4:8 says: "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you."
When we think of experiencing God, we think of having the feeling of His presence being around us. The presence of God can be overwhelming to us, so He only shows us the small parts of Him that we are capable of handling. Exodus 33:11 tells us that "the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." Later, Moses asked to see the glory of the Lord, but God could only give him a partial view, because "man shall not see me and live" (Exodus 33:18–23). The earth itself trembles at God's presence: "Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the God of Jacob" (Psalm 114:7).
God wants us to experience Him and His presence, but how can we do this? One way is by glorifying Him with singing, thanksgiving, and praise (Psalm 100:1–4). Sometimes we glorify Him by being still before Him: "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (Psalm 46:10).
When we live our lives focused on God, we experience Him in our everyday lives. We experience His faithfulness and goodness. He grants us His peace and His presence. We get to hear His still small voice (1 Kings 19:11–12). We experience Him in the beautiful world He has created and provided for us:
"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?" (Psalm 8:3–4)
The key to truly experiencing God lies in getting to know Him. When we invest in this miraculous opportunity to have personal relationship with the Creator of the universe, we know and experience Him just as He knows us. He transforms our hearts, enabling us to leave sin behind and instead embrace Him, His will, and His ways (2 Corinthians 5:17).
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