We are often asked the question, "How is your relationship with God at the moment?" And more often than not, we often say that we're "not sure," or "Don't know." (Especially if you're a teenager, that's about the only phrase most of us know!) But here's an easy way of knowing where you stand; it's what I call the three stages of knowing God.
The first stage, is knowing about God. Most people, even non-Christians, can be at this stage. It goes right through from just knowing what Christians think about God, right through to having memorized the entire Bible. Essentially, you're on this stage if you haven't experienced either of the others. But don't be discouraged by that, continue to read the Bible as that will help you a lot, and then look at getting together with people and going to the places that will help you move onto stages two and three.
The second stage, and the one I'd say I'm on, is seeing God for yourself. Basically that's when you've been to places and seen the spirit of God move in people, or even things like amazing healings. This is also the place where many people can realize that God is real, because they've seen him move for themselves, they're seen evidence of him. If your not sure about whether you believe in God or not, try and find a event or something where you can see God move with you're own eyes. If you live in England, then I'd advise Soul Survivor*, although if you're in the States I'm not really sure what goes on over there!
The third stage, is knowing God for yourself. In other words, if you've ever received the gifts of the spirit. I think I've written about them before, but it's things like praying in tongues, or perhaps having words of prophecy for someone. That should be the goal for all of us Christians, we should try to know God for ourselves. Given this isn't easy, but we just need to keep asking and praying for the gifts, and in time surely we will receive them.
The final thing to say, is that I'm not at all saying that these should be three exclusive groups, a strong church can have all three. And if all the people on "stage three" just hung out together, then no one else would ever know God for themselves! So if you'd say your on stage one, then try and talk to and pray with older Christians, and try and get yourself along to places where you can see God move yourself. If you think your on stage two, then ask God to help you experience him in your own heart, and if you're on stage three then why not try and help younger Christians to grow in their faith and get to know God more? If everyone could do their bit then the Church will surely be going strongly until Jesus returns.
*Soul Survivor is a big Christian festival in Britain, with events held in Scotland, (Kinross) Stafford (Between Birmingham and Stoke) and Somerset. The events are coming up over the next few weeks, and for more got to: https://soulsurvivor.com/summer/