For the first 40 or so years of my life, I believed that if you were a good person and went to church, you were a “good Christian”. In all those years, I never realized I was missing the most vital part of Christianity, a personal relationship with Jesus! I was missing the most glorious part of all and didn’t even know it!
I can’t say if there was a specific moment that I came to that realization. I think it was more of a gradual process where becoming more immersed in the Word gave me a longing for more. Through prayer and asking the Holy Spirit to fill me more, I found I became closer to Jesus.
There is an old hymn, In The Garden, that sort of describes that growth that I felt. The first verse and refrain go like this:
1 I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
We need to find some alone time and just listen. Listen to HIS voice, commune with HIM, and you will find yourself giving your will over to Him! A relationship requires two. Talking and listening. In a relationship with Jesus, your life will never be the same again!
A Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ
By BOYD BAILEY
“Resurrection power is experienced in the sweet intimate fellowship of your pain and in the sufings of your Savior Jesus.”
And, whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world. John 11:26-27
Martha had witnessed the mighty works of God through Jesus Christ; she knew of His healing power and His intimate relationship with His heavenly Father. Jesus asked His Father for His will to be done. Martha, like most Christians serious about their faith…served…she served especially well by hosting and loving people at home. However, her gifts of service had replaced her personal intimacy with Jesus and her devotion to Jesus. She needed a loving reminder from the Lord to return to her first love of belief in and being with Jesus. With childlike honesty, she remembered her personal relationship with Jesus, “Yes Lord I believe that you are the Christ.” In her moment of intimacy with Jesus, being engulfed by love, she was prepared for a miracle. Before Jesus brought her brother Lazarus back to life—He wanted her back in an intimate life.
You may be doubting the Lord’s response to your situation…wondering why He is not doing more to resolve the issues you face. Yet, He knows your every need and is a compassionate Father, who first desires you in intimate love and in a personal relationship. Jesus’ love brings you back to your first love of belief in Him and being with Him. In His presence is healing and restoration for your body, mind, and soul…so then you are prepared to be a part of His solution to the problems you face. Resurrection power is experienced in the sweet intimate fellowship of your pain and in the sufferings of your Savior Jesus. Personal becomes real in pain.
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10).
Oswald Chambers gives a deeper understanding of what it means to truly believe in Jesus. Total trust yes, but as a growing Christian, so much more: “To believe is to commit. In the area of intellectual learning, I commit myself mentally and reject anything not related to that belief. In the realm of personal belief, I commit myself morally to my convictions and refuse to compromise. But in the intimate personal belief, I commit myself spiritually to Jesus Christ and make a determination to be dominated by Him alone.” I love the phrase at the end, “to be dominated by Him alone.” Intimacy in a personal relationship with Jesus is dominated by love!
By faith, move into the messiness of being with Jesus in the middle of your mess. He is with you and He is for you as the Holy Spirit helps you sort out what to do next. As you experience intimacy out of your personal relationship with Jesus, the love of the Lord will fill you with peace and expand your capacity to love. You may need to return to your first love of childlike belief, or you may need to begin your belief. Church membership and religious affiliation…without conversion of your heart—by grace through faith—can become barriers to a personal relationship with Jesus. Make sure your belief in Jesus is backed by the resurrection of Jesus. True believers enjoy a personal, intimate relationship with Christ, always growing in love.
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2).