When we think about encountering God, most of us probably imagine a moment of great spiritual revelation. We might see a brilliant light, feel the warmth of God's love, or hear His voice speaking to us.
But what if the first step to encountering God is repenting of our sin? That's what the Bible teaches us. In fact, repentance is so important that without it, we can't even come into God's presence.
In this article, we'll explore why repentance is such a key part of our spiritual journey and how it opens the door for us to encounter God.
Defining Encountering God
What does it mean to "encounter" God? For some people, it might mean a life-changing conversion experience. For others, it could be as simple as a moment of intense prayer or meditation. There's no right or wrong answer—it's simply a personal encounter between you and God.
But one thing is always clear: Sin is the biggest barrier to encountering God. We can't have an open and honest dialog with Him if we're constantly living in sin. That's why it's so important to repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness. It's the first step on the road to redemption and reconciliation.
Why Is Sin a Barrier to Encountering God?
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that sin would be a barrier to encountering God. After all, sin is what caused God to turn his back on us in the first place.
And it's not just that we're separated from God because of our sin; our sin actually keeps us from recognizing God when he comes to us. We're so busy trying to cover up our sin, or make up for it, that we can't see beyond our own guilt and shame.
That's why repentance is such an important step on the road to encountering God. When we repent, we admit that we're sinners and we turn away from our sin. We humble ourselves before God and ask for his forgiveness. And as we do that, we open up the door to encounter him face-to-face.
How Do We Repent of Sin?
The Bible is clear that we need to repent of our sin in order to encounter God. But what does repentance actually mean?
Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change in behavior. It means turning away from our sin and turning towards God. It's a decision to turn our lives around and follow Him instead of following our own desires.
It's not easy to repent, but it's worth it. When we repent, we receive His forgiveness and grace. We're also given the opportunity to start fresh and begin walking with Him again.
What Are the Benefits of Encountering God?
When you repent of your sin and turn to God, you will experience His forgiveness, love, and mercy. You will also begin to grow in your relationship with Him. As you spend time with God, you will learn more about Him and His ways. You will also be transformed by His Spirit. As you encounter God, He will change your heart and mind so that you become more like Him.
How Will I Know if I Have Encountered God?
You will know you have encountered God when your life begins to reflect the fruit of the spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). You will find that your desire to sin decreases and that you no longer want to live in disobedience to God. As you repent of your sin and turn to God, He will begin to change you from the inside out.
You will also find that you have a greater desire to pray, read your Bible and be involved in other spiritual disciplines. As you grow in your relationship with God, you will begin to see Him at work in your life in ways you never thought possible. All of these things are evidence that you have encountered the living God and that He is changing you into His likeness.
So, the next time you find yourself thinking that you need to "clean up your act" before you can come to God, remember that He has already dealt with your sin on the cross. You don't need to repent of your sin in order to encounter God, but you do need to repent in order to have a right relationship with Him.