What can you do to search for God? Unfortunately, there is no exact formula or way to find God, but the good news is that God is searching for you — and he wants you to find him. But to point you in the right direction, here are a 10 practical steps to help you in your search for God:
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.
2. 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.
3. Read the Bible
The Bible is a book about 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.
4. 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 if he invented logic itself.
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 with your whole being — 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.
5. Remain open
Your past has formed your beliefs about what is true and will affect how you react to the truth claims you encounter on your journey now. So it’s important to recognize your preconceptions and stay open to ideas that may jar with what you’ve believed to be true. If there is a God, then he is far beyond total comprehension by anyone; so to be honest in your search, you most hold your preconceived notions loosely. You are finite, after all.
6. 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 or express your questions and thoughts to one of our confidential and free online mentors.
Read articles, books, the Bible, and 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.
8. Talk to people who love and follow Jesus
Find people who show real evidence of living according to the teachings of Jesus. 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?
Record your thoughts, questions, discoveries, and new insights. Think of it as a scrapbook of your spiritual journey.
10. 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, The MSG version).
11. 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.
12. 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 with a measure of confidence, 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 would involve an element of faith.
I’m sure you’ll have plenty of questions along the way. Finding God certainly doesn’t mean having the answers to all your questions immediately or completely. Whether you are just beginning to search for God or you found him years ago and need to get reacquainted, questions are a natural and necessary part of your spiritual journey and growth. 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 said, “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). I hope some of these steps help you discover the joy of knowing Jesus personally.
For a short summary of the good news Jesus offers you, read Discover Life.