Many people struggle with the idea of an intimate, transforming friendship with Jesus. We wander into Christianity thinking it is simply about “believing”— giving intellectual assent to a set of propositions. Or about joining a church to tidy up our lives. Some struggle with intimate relationships because of personality, upbringing, or past hurts. After all, our ability to emotionally connect with Jesus mirrors our capacity to relate to others. This is critical to understand if we feel stuck. We will work through this in the coming weeks.
What does it mean to believe? Among a recent wave of cultural influencers who have renounced their faith, a relationship with Jesus was based on: a belief system, apologetics, logic, reason, fitting in, or Christian upbringing. What’s missing is a personal encounter with Jesus. All those who renounced their faith had an outwardprofession of faith without a transforming friendship with Jesus. This kind of faith is like a porch without a house.
A personal encounter with Jesus involves a radical undoing—a deep awareness of sin and brokenness— and a profound experience of love. Jesus invites us to a life-altering, personal encounter, not a belief system.
I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. . . You know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!
If you have a relationship with Jesus, why is that? Deeply consider what is involved here.
John 2:23, “Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people.”
John 14:15-17, Message Translation.