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How personal is your relationship with Christ?

Here’s another excerpt from my book, The Art of Listening Prayer: Evangelical Christians claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet how many actually do have a relationship with him that is personal? Relat…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Here’s another excerpt from my book, The Art of Listening Prayer:


Evangelical Christians claim to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet how
many actually do have a relationship with

him that is

personal? Relationships involve give and take, mutual
interaction and dialogue. Marriages that
lack this grow stale. If I relate to my
wife by giving her a daily list of things to do or by telling her about my
thoughts and never ask her what her thoughts or feelings are, then our
relationship becomes impersonal. I will
know little about her. She will not know
that I care about her. To have a
personal relationship with my wife, I must

listen to her as well as
speak.

Our relationship with God
should work the same way. Jeremiah 33:3
says, ‘Call to me and

I will answer you.’
(emphasis added). God wants us to give
him our praises, our struggles, and our questions. And in return he also wants to give to us
counsel, encouragement, and consolation. This

interaction becomes the
fabric of our relationship. The more
frequent and honest our give-and-take with Jesus, the more personal it
becomes.

This is understandably uncomfortable. God may be personal,
but he is also different from us in some critical ways. He is invisible. He is transcendent; that is,
he is far above our understanding. He is
all-powerful. He is completely holy.

So, while we may

look for give and take in our
relationship with Jesus, oftentimes the main thing we hear is silence. It is no wonder Christians struggle to make
their relationship with him a truly personal one. Silence in conversation usually feels
awkward.

While it’s true that God
tells us over and over in his word to seek him and to love him, we must suspend
our expectations of

how he will respond to us. As we seek to know God personally, we must
not lose sight of his transcendence.

Jesus wants us not to just
know about him, but to actually have a deep, personal relationship with him –
to know him and to be known by him. John
17: 3 says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
If you look at the Greek origin of the word translated “knowing,” it
refers to the most intimate of relationships.
He wants our relationship with him to be a deep and intimate.


Comments (6)

  • Is there something beyond intimacy?

    Intimacy seems implies an external type relationship. Walking with God in a garden or on a mountain is valuable and powerful but it is still external. Most of the adjectives that people use to describe their relationship with with Christ and the Father are external and therefore limiting to young Christian.

    In John chapters 12-17 Christ calls us to the highest value added relationship that a person can have with the Father and Christ: “that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:21 Christ called his disciples and “future believers” in John 17 into a unique relationship with the Father than is internal.

    As Paul says in Colossians chapter 1:26-27, “…Christ in you the hope of Glory.” “IN” not “with” is the preposition that leads me to conclude that Christ called us to intimacy and something beyond.

    See http://www.spiritual-benchmarks.com/pdf/john.pdf for a most complete review of these passages.

  • I’m working through the question of whether or not I really know how to have a personal relationship. I’ve been examining my human relationships AND my relationship with Christ…I’ll let you know what I discover.

  • This is my first time posting on yours but am posting cuz its very interesting and its what i’m struggling w/ the most right now which i’ll explain.

    here’s my problem i do have a personal relationship w/ christ have spent soooo many hours in prayer, well, actually, i’ve been working thru so many things and haven’t really been able to function because i feel like if i do anything, i’ll fall flat on my face and will start going the wrong way well, not that i Want to do wrong, but meaning, that i’m gonna fall down away from God i guess that’s where i’m at and where i have been for the last several weeks and months now wondering how to really be able to function normally thru the day do my things schoolwork etc. yet still be faithful to God that is where i’m completely stumped and since things constantly keep changing in my life, that’s telling me that God IS up to something but i just have no clue how to do this and how to keep my personal relationship w/ God strong w/o falling down the wrong way i don’t want to but it seems to be heading in that direction anyway

    not sure how much of what i said really pertains to what you said but as ben m always told me, never give up which i know but its getting harder and harder to stay faithful so i just don’t know how much longer i’ll be able to keep this up.

  • The topic of a personal relationship with God is an intriging one, one which I have had to investigate. The Bible is written in two parts: Old and New Testament.
    The Old primarily documents the history of mankind once sin has entered in, and his inability to exist without God, which is man’s divine purpose. Man experienced the loss of intimacy with God, and was banished from “Paradise” (Garden of Eden)into the “wilderness”.
    The New Testament reveals God’s plan to restore intimacy with His creation through having a personal relationship with His “son”, Jesus Christ, who IS God incarnate (the Word in flesh). We develop this relationship by having faith in Christ, following His teachings and example of a “higher” life experience, and ,at the least, becoming “saved”,which facilitates intimacy and spiritual inclusion. This is how one becomes eligible to communicate with the Lord, usually through prayer or times of quiet devotion.
    It has been my experience, that if you pursue God for a relationship with Him, He will reciprocate in love. Read Hebrews 11:6; Acts 17:27; James 4:8. God bless you!

  • I have recently come to the belief that as the Apostle Paul wrote; “I wish to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him Crucified”
    I have been a born again believer since 1982 and have been to many different churches. In all these years and in all these churches one thing stands as a problem for people finding a true relationship with Christ. That one thing is the pastor/church preaching doctrine on what constitutes a sin by twisting scriptures. People find themselves so overwhelmed with trying to measure up to the church rules that they never get a chance to just hear from the Holy Spirit.Pastors every where should lay down their personal ideas and preach only what God has told them yto preach on any given Sunday. Needless to say that many churches would be silent until we all would come into a REAL personnal relationship with God Through Christ Jesus.

    I for one will be praying and asking Christ himself to guide me to all his righteousnes.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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