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How can I have a deeper relationship with Jesus?
Is Jesus alive and near in your life?
Check out the “Living the Gospel” podcast episode based on this article!
The relationship that Christians have with Jesus can vary greatly from person to person. Just because you have been, i.e., become a Christian, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus.
A living and intimate relationship with Jesus
For some Christians, a relationship with Jesus consists of praying to Him and going to church on Sunday. They allow Jesus to be a sacrifice for their sins, but the relationship with Him stops there. For others, Jesus is an example to follow, and they try their best to live as He did. But since Jesus is in heaven and they are here, they don't really expect to have much of a relationship with Him, and therefore, in fact, do not. Such relationships with Jesus can, at best, be described as “distant.”
The Bible, however, speaks about an intimate and dynamic relationship with Jesus. He is, after all, a person, not a “theological concept;" not someone who once lived on the earth and now is far away, but a person who is alive and can be very near. He, Himself, was tempted in all points just as you are, but overcame sin and death. (Hebrews 4:15; Romans 6:8) Because of His faithfulness, He has all the power and grace to help you to overcome sin in your life. This also means that your relationship with Him can be full of life – not something lifeless and stagnant – because He Himself is alive! (Revelation 1:18)
The fact is that you, yourself, decide what relationship you want to have with Jesus. You must first choose to believe that an intimate relationship with Jesus is possible before you can enter into such a relationship, for everything – spiritually speaking – is a product of one’s faith.
A relationship with Jesus is not one-sided. Jesus makes this clear when He says, “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. Just think that Jesus and the Father want to come and make Their home with you! Is that the relationship that you have with Him?
And again He says that “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” John 14:21. Have you ever thought that Jesus wants to manifest (reveal) Himself to you? That promise is given to those who love Him and keep His commandments, so it is clear that such a revelation of Jesus is to occur throughout your life as a Christian, and not only at the beginning of your Christian life.
Fellowship on a daily basis
If you choose to fulfill these conditions (obey Jesus’ Word in your life), Jesus will become a beloved friend, whom you can havewith on a daily basis. He will not be far away for you, but rather lives and speaks in your heart and mind through the Holy Spirit. (Did He not say: “The kingdom of heaven is within you?”) There will be an ongoing dialogue with Him whom you love and follow after. He is not only your friend, but one who understands what it's like to be tempted, and can therefore help you in the time of need. He is a source of wisdom and encouragement, and therefore a source of strength in the time of temptation. He is your Savior, not only from the penalty of sin but also from its power in your life on a daily basis. As it is written: “…a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1. That is how you will experience Jesus! He is able to have compassion on the weak, because He has experienced human weakness Himself. (Hebrews 4:15)
Your relationship with Jesus exists in your heart, mind, and spirit. When He is the center of your affection, then He also sits on the throne of your heart. Thoughts that come into your mind begin to be brought before Him, with the attitude of heart: “Dear Lord Jesus, is this thought pleasing in Your sight?” With such an attitude, your heart begins to understand what the mind of Jesus is, which is the mind of the Spirit: life and peace! You learn that some thoughts bring you life and peace, while others bring only unrest and emptiness. In this way you learn to discern between good and evil in the daily situations of life, between what is and what is not well-pleasing in His sight. Jesus becomes your instructor and guide to a deeper life in the Spirit.
The relationship that you have with Jesus is also in your human spirit, where you learn to turn to Him in times of stress, struggle, and temptation, away from your own thoughts and feelings. There you meet the Spirit of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10) The prophetic spirit of Jesus speaks edification, exhortation, and comfort right to your human spirit, and you will sense that you are powerfully strengthened.
As you draw closer to Jesus, the Bible words you have read and heard and spoken so many times before will suddenly become alive for you. Dry verses that had little meaning before will become full of power to live the life that Jesus lived. You will sense that a spirit of revelation speaks in your, and you will understand the Word of God and your own life very differently as a result. Faith will be born in your heart at a deeper level with each revelation over the Word. And as your faith grows, so does the power of the Spirit in your life, so that you can follow in Jesus' footsteps even more.
An increasingly deep relationship with Christ
Relationships with people are dynamic, in that they often change with time and can grow deeper. So it is also with your relationship with Jesus. Just as God's mercies are new every morning, your relationship with Jesus can also be new and alive every morning! The relationship becomes deeper as your love for Him increases, and as your love for your own life (i.e., your own will) decreases.
Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20.
He says “anyone.” Doesn’t that include you?
Maybe you became a Christian long ago, but have never really experienced an intimate relationship with Jesus. Do you sense Him knocking at the door of your heart today? Invite Him in to your heart, not just as a sacrifice for your sins, but as a dear and beloved Friend, as Lord and Master, as One whom you desire to rule and reign in your heart and life.
Blessed are you if you believe Jesus’ words; open the door of your heart and invite Him in as Lord and Master! If you do this, if you obey His Word in your life, you will experience what it is to have Jesus alive and dwelling in your heart. You will experience an intimate relationship with the King of kings, and Lord of lords!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.