Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 4 - The "Problem" with Having a Personal Relationship with Jesus

“Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”
John 14:7 (The Message)

When doing research for this devotional, I came across, what I consider to be, an extremely thought provoking quote from John MacArthur:

“Saving faith and Christian discipleship have been reduced to the cliché “a personal relationship with Jesus.” It’s hard to imagine a more disastrous twisting of what it means to be a Christian. Many people (including Judas and Satan) had some kind of 'personal relationship' with Jesus during His earthly ministry without submitting to Him as Lord.”

As I sat and pondered these words… their implications… I began thinking about how the word ‘relationship’ is applied in my own life.  The overwhelming majority of my personal relationships are healthy, stable and mature.  But, if I’m to be truly honest, this isn’t the case for all of my relationships.  Like so many others in this world, my life is marred with relationships that have left me battered and bruised; that have wounded me on the deepest level.  And while I’ve been given the amazing gift of relationships that have encouraged and nurtured me; I’ve also had the burden of enduring… surviving… those relationships that have left me with feelings of abandonment, betrayal and anger. 

It was during this time of introspection that John MacArthur’s words hit home like a sledge hammer: The phrase “personal relationship” doesn’t always invoke a positive response.  Sometimes, all of our baggage from past relationships makes us instinctively run in the opposite direction.  The idea of having a personal relationship with Jesus is completely based on the subjective; it varies from person to person, supported by a culmination of life experience… both good and bad.  And while I’m no authority on Jesus, I do know one thing: There is nothing inconsistent about Him.  He is the same… yesterday, today and tomorrow.  And absolutely no amount of baggage can nullify His power in your life.

I think the key here is to do a little less “relating” and a little more “knowing.” John 14:7 challenges us to “really know” Jesus.  And the only way to really get to know someone is by actually spending time with them.  There is truth to the adage: The more we seek, the more we find.  (And if you’re reading this, chances are, you’ve already found Him… but He wants you to know Him better.) He wants all of us to know Him better.  He wants all of us to experience a real, true, powerful, life-changing relationship with Him… completely objective… because He is the unchanging truth.    

For the adults, spend some time thinking about John MacArthur’s quote.  As you start to recognize the varying relationships in your life, be mindful of the fact that “personal relationships” are not always a positive.  If you are a follower of Christ, and want to share in a deep and fruitful relationship with him… no matter where you are in your walk with Him today, the potential to know Jesus more intimately is always possible…then spend some time with Him in prayer.  Tomorrow will take a look at the “next step.”

For families: Spend some time explaining to your children that relationships can be positive and negative.  With the utmost sensitivity, use examples from your own lives to help them understand this concept on a relational level.  The purpose of these assignments is to help children see Jesus as an active participant in their lives.  The more we use “real-life” examples, the easier it will be for them to grasp.  Right now, these conversations are building blocks.


  1. I was listening to Piper today say something similar about "receiving Jesus" and how there are all kinds of ways that we can receive him that have "zero effect on our eternity, except to make it worse." Well-timed. Thanks!

  2. Hey, my friend. Thank Jesus... not me! This wasn't even suppose to be the devotional for today. Interested in finding out what you were listening to. Sounds pretty good... if you're into that kind of stuff ;)