How To Have An Encounter With God

By Leslie Griffith

Many people who were raised in a Christian household, attended Sunday School, and have never killed anybody, think they will go to Heaven when they die. To even begin to have an encounter with God, it is necessary to become baptized, and by baptized it means immersed in water. This is what it means to become "born again."

Living in a Christian family doesn't make anyone a Christian any more than flying in an airplane makes them an eagle. The ritual of baptism, a public declaration of a love for and a pledge of obedience to Christ are what makes someone a Christian. It's not enough just to believe. Satan believes. Satan's demons believe.

Baptism does more than get you the promise of a seat in Heaven. It also has responsibilities, responsibilities to give up sinful living (smoking, drinking, gambling, etc.) and become obedient to God's ways. When asked if they have ever sinned, so many people claim to good people because they have never committed murder. God expects a lot more than that.

Being good doesn't come easy, even to born again Christians. That is why God sent us the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-18), to put us through boot camp to become ready for Heaven. He gets right down to the DNA and makes us better, more righteous people. He changes our feelings and our actions.

After a while, we don't enjoy the same old sins that we used do. We stop laughing at dirty jokes, quit smoking and start to work harder, both at home, at church and in our jobs. We spend more time in Christian fellowship, studying the Bible, praying and leading people to Christ.

Christians also fast. This is another way of getting God's attention and forming a close relationship with Him. There are two ways to engage in a Christian fast. One is a water fast. Here, nothing is consumed from sunup to sundown apart from water and diluted fruit juice. During a fast, Christians are instructed to spend more time than usual in prayer and reading the Bible. Without them, the fast is no more than a weight loss diet.

On a Daniel fast, rice cakes, wholemeal rice and wholemeal tortilla wraps are permitted, as is wholemeal pasta. Again, this fasting regime must be accompanied by prayer and Bible-reading in order to feel the full spiritual effects.

Praying, reading the Bible, fasting and tithing are all means of getting an encounter with God. Tithing is the practice of giving 10 percent of all earnings to the church, meaning to God, from whom we ultimately get everything we have or need. Although the first tithe took place in the Old Testament when Mielchizidek collected a tithe from Abraham, it was a covenant thing, and not just an old Testament thing. A covenant is eternal.

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