This is a phrase I have hated for years. I hate it for a couple of reasons. First, it is not found anywhere in the Bible. I think we should call Bible things by Bible names and this does not fit that description. Second, I really dislike the word relationship to describe how I follow Jesus. Again it is not Biblical and the Biblical words are follow and obey. Having a relationship sounds very feminine and I think can lead to men rejecting Jesus (But that is another blog for a different day).
With all that said, the older I get in my walk with Christ the more I starting to embrace the concept. The main reason is because relationships have dynamics that are hard to explain. If you asked me to describe my relationship with my wife or my parents or my children, it would be hard for me to explain how I think and feel about those people. I could give you some facts about how many times we have said this or done that, but that still falls short of what my exact relationship with those people is like.
I am starting to think this is also true in my following of Jesus. If you wanted to know about my relationship with Jesus I could tell you about how many times I have been to Church or how many books of the Bible I have read or even how many times. But is that a relationship with Jesus? A relationship is an ever evolving thing that changes in dynamic with each new experience. How can I explain to you the comfort of my faith when my best friend died? How can I make you feel the depth of forgiveness I felt after I sinned in a major way? What words would describe that quiet joy I felt with the birth of each of my children? Is there any way to explain how I felt when the money that came in unexpectedly when I had a bill that was about to go unpaid?
Through the years I have had numerous personal experiences with Jesus in my life of faith that you will never fully understand. In the same way that I cannot fully explain the relationship I have with my parents or the love I feel for my wife or the joy and heartache my children bring into my life, I cannot fully tell you what it is like to spend a life with Jesus. I want people to know what it is like. I want you to know what it is like. But to fully understand what it is like to follow Jesus you need to experience for yourself – or said in another way – you need to have your own personal relationship with Jesus.
I few months ago my wife and I asked one of my boys about girls. He explained how he didn’t have time for them. He had no interest in any type of relationship with any girl. Now, six months later he can’t go more that a few hours without texting one of them. He is head over heals for a girl. You know, one of those creatures he didn’t have time for? We asked him what changed in his mind and he had no answer. Something happened that flipped his life upside down and he had no idea what happened or how to explain it. I think the same thing can be true between us and Jesus.
What is a like to follow Jesus? That is hard to explain, but I can promise you that it will change your life.