Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Our Personal Relationship with Christ

Continuing with the three ideas that I read in Sarah Young’s, Jesus Calling devotional yesterday, one of the ways that we will know that Our Lord will get us through our trials and tests is by sustaining a personal relationship with Him.

Well, let me start by saying that up until my early thirties, I did not know what that concept meant. I grew up in the church, but I was completely ignorant of this aspect of being a Christian. It would take years for me to begin to understand what a personal relationship with Jesus meant.

It was back when I moved to the United States for good, twenty years ago that the Lord began to slowly reveal Himself to me in a personal way, and the journey began at what would become my home church. I had visited New Bedford Church several times before while dating my, then, boyfriend Dan. So I was familiar with the surroundings. I also thought I was a good church girl and that I had the whole religion thing figured out. Any misunderstandings I might have had back then, I attributed to the language barrier. But later, when we got married, settled in the area, and began attending regularly, I discovered that my lack of understanding had little to do with English not being my first language, and everything to do with Christianity not being my true religion.

Whatever I had practiced up until then was but a veiled image of what Christ calls us to be. Christianity had been something I did on Sunday mornings, but I had not realized it should be something that permeates my entire being. In other words, I didn’t know Christianity should not be something I did. It should be who I am. And that the only way to answer God’s call into His family is to be intentional about cultivating a personal relationship with Christ in my everyday life. The problem was that I didn’t have a clue what to do with that truth!

Back then, twenty years ago, a new Pastor came to our Church. His sermons began to challenge everything I believed in. And the theme of a personal relationship with Christ revolved around his every word. For years I puzzled over the whole thing, still not sure how to go about the seemingly impossible task of establishing a relationship with Jesus. But the constancy of our Pastor’s teaching and his sound, Biblical foundation were the tools that God used to reach out to me.

Little by little, while sitting on our pew Sunday after Sunday, actively listening in Sunday School, participating in Bible Studies every time they were offered, attending women’s small groups and circles, serving in the church every time I could, having fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, God lifted the veil that had blurred my vision and I began to discover that a relationship with Jesus is not something I do, it is something I seek.

He creates the path for me to follow, He calls me, and I go. What the path looks like and the way one walks on it is entirely up to Him who planned it. It is tailor-made for each pedestrian on the road. And often times, like the men walking to Emmaus, we walk ignorantly missing the fact that He is there, alongside us all the way. But eventually, when the time is right, He reveals Himself to us, usually while in communion, within the gathering of believers, while He sits in our midst.

Seeking a personal relationship with Christ is a crucial part of knowing that He is always there, in the good times as well as in the trials. Thanks to this relationship, we are empowered to get through the fires without getting burned. I pray our veils finally get torn and we can see His glory as He leads the way on the path of our lives.

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