It is common to hear the phrase “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.” Who knows who coined it first; it certainly has gotten a lot of mileage. In the “me-centered” culture that has flourished in the western world, it is little wonder that phrase has had so much usage. I wonder though, when I hear it in various circles, exactly what kind of relationship is meant? Surely this is the biggest question—how do we relate to Jesus Christ?
I can think of many ways our relationship to Jesus is portrayed in the Scriptures:
Master and servant
Teacher and disciple
Savior and sinner
Lord and subject, King and subject
Elder brother and younger sibling
Bride and bridegroom
Shepherd and sheep
Vine and branches
You are probably thinking of some others by now. We, of course, could speak of a covenant relationship too. But looking at that list, what strikes you about these descriptions? Certainly the primacy of Jesus, and His ultimate authority stands out; so does our dependence upon Him. A sheep with no Shepherd is lost; a servant with no Master is going to go hungry; a disciple with no Teacher cannot progress.
It seems all too easy for us to get our relationship out of order, to the point where
we seem to have the primacy. It becomes about me: my prayers, my needs, my blessings, etc. I notice the following from James, Paul, Jude, and Peter as they begin their letters:
James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ;
Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ;
Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ; Simon Peter,
a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ.
They had their relationship with Christ rightly aligned in their minds. May you and I keep ours the same way.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23 NKJV).