If you have somehow meandered to this page, I suspect you've been wrestling... either something inside of you just knows there something "more" or you've been faced with hardship and crisis and you need hope. Possibly it's something else?
What types of things have you tried to fill that "void" or pain in your heart? Self-reliance, relationships, work/success, drugs/alcohol, sex, religion, shopping... what is it? I have learned that each of these things are much like a rubber band, as we dive into them to cover up whatever the initial pain was... as we go further and further into them - eventually we go as far as we can go. When it snaps back, the pain is deeper and more severe than the initial pain we were trying to avoid/deny.
That void is meant to be filled. It's the part of our heart that was designed by God for God. There is no other answer to filling that void other than a relationship with the Creator Himself. The problem is that you and I have sinned - meaning we have chosen our way rather than the ways of God - turning our back on Him.
Sounds almost childish, doesn't it - to say that we turned our backs on God? But that's how I have behaved the better part of my life (and still do at times), and it never works out well for me or those I love. Since He is all-knowing, He knew all about our shenanigans long before we would walk this earth, so He made a plan to restore us back to a relationship with Him. It is through His son, Jesus Christ.
I'm not sure there's a way to tell the story of Jesus without it sounding hokey if you don't already know it or believe it... But I must tell it, or you may never know. Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you and me from the true result of our sin - which is eternal hell. He was then raised from the dead, which gives us only a tiny idea of how big, mighty and wonderful God is - the God that we can now spend eternity with when we accept the gift Jesus has given us.
This isn't an exclusive club for certain nationalities, races, ages, or social classes. It isn't for those who have it all-together or have conquered all their childish, sinful ways. It is for EVERYBODY. You can't out-sin His grace; you can't have more questions or requests than He is already accustomed to; you can't fear any more than He can save; you can't have more tribulations than He is able to make beautiful. HE IS THE WAY.
So... what now?
It's not really a checklist, though I can make a checklist based on scripture, but that's not what He's after... He deeply desires a relationship with you, and your heart is longing for a relationship with Him. What do you do when you are in an intimate relationship... spend time, listen, talk with honesty, stick together, trust? Yep, but before you get there, it usually starts with a few steps that lead to further intimacy. The Bible gives us a glimpse as to how to begin this relationship:
"Now when they heard [the story of Jesus], they were pierced to the heart, and said... 'what shall we do?' Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit...' So then, those who had received his word were baptized... They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles."
These people were sad for having turned their backs on God, and they desired to be in relationship with Him. Asking the question, "what shall we do?" was actually the 1st step toward salvation! Then Peter guides them to immediately repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus. The people did in fact do many other things (devoted themselves to learning, fellowship, communion, on-going prayer), but not in order to obtain salvation; rather, these things were an extension of their life with Christ.
To repent means to "express sincere regret or remorse"... basically, we finally come into agreement with God about how nasty our sin is and the impact it has on us, on our relationships with God and others, and that it meant death for God's son. Ouch.
The reason for baptism is simply explained in 1 Peter 3:21 "...[baptism is] not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience - through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
There is so much in the Bible that truly makes this picture more complete, but most simply put - Jesus Christ gave it all so that we could be in relationship with Him. Do you accept?