Loving God is where it all begins. Jesus simplified all the Old Testament commands into two, the first of which is, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 22:37)." If our journey does not begin and end with loving God, it will eventually turn sour. Without love, our relationship with God either becomes a chore, or we become proud and use that pride as a means to control others. Without love, it's also harder to love those around us, even knowing they have been created by God. Without love, it's harder to love the world that can be hostile to our faith. Our relationship with God must be based on love. As a congregation we strive to love God in everything we do, whether worshipping together, caring for those around us, or serving those who are hurting.
The first and most important step to loving God is to ask him to forgive our sins. What is sin? Sin is doing things that we know are wrong, things God says are wrong in the Bible. The Ten Commandments are a good starting place. Murder. Adultery. Lying. Coveting. Or Jesus took it even further, adding hatred to murder, lust to adultery, deceit to lying, and jealousy to coveting. When we sin, our sin separates us from God, because God does not sin and cannot be around sin. He's perfect.
So how, then, do we establish a relationship with God? There was nothing we could do, but God did it for us. He sent his Son, named Jesus, who was perfect, to pay the price for our sins. He died a cruel death on a cross so that our sin would be erased and we could have a relationship with God once again. Now all we must do receive the gift God has given us is ask God to forgive our sins, and believe that he will because of what Jesus did for us.1John 1:9 says, "If we admit our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (wrong doing)." John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
You can be forgiven by sincerely praying a very simple prayer, something like this: "God, I admit I have sinned. I admit that I have done things I knew were wrong, things the Bible says are wrong. I am sorry. I want to be forgiven. Will you forgive my sins and make me clean because of what Jesus did for me? Come into my heart and fill my life. Amen." If you sincerely pray that prayer, God will answer it and forgive you. If you would like to talk to someone about what being a Christian means, please contact us email@example.com. We would love to talk to you about what it means to love God.