A Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ

At my Facebook atheist/theist group, one of the atheists posted a question of sorts, asking Christians to describe their personal relationship with Jesus Christ, because, he said, if the thing is not demonstrable, then there’s some question it even exists.

I’ve thought about the question a bit. The thing is, I don’t think an atheist can understand my answer. How does a believer explain the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Or the peace that passes understanding?

As I thought about my answer this morning, I left out the “demonstrable” part, as in, what I assume he was asking for—something other people can observe.

I can say that because of my relationship with Jesus, I read the Bible and pray. The Atheist Guy (AG) would likely answer that I was reading myths and saying words to the air. Because he can’t see Jesus.

My Christian friends, those in real life and on the web all know that reading God’s word is reading words of life and praying is the greatest expression of our thoughts and needs, or potentially can be so, to Him who loves us most. But how can those outside the faith knows this?

Another thing that is “demonstrable” is my going to church, but then people without a relationship with God through Christ might also attend some place of worship. That’s just a religious thing if you aren’t hearing the truth and if you aren’t meeting with God and with His people.

I could list service things or career things, but the atheist can once again point to people of other faiths or no faith who do good and some who even alter their career to serve others. So what does knowing Jesus do that nothing else does?

It’s not really something anyone else can witness. The first thing that came to my mind as I pondered the question is a tag line from a friend’s Christian fantasy: “Never alone.” Because the Spirit of the Living God dwells in my heart, I literally am never alone. He’s with me when I see the snow-capped mountains or a rosebush bursting with blossoms. He’s with me when my friend needs prayer because of a surprise medical condition or a death in her church family.

God is with me when I read His word or listen to the preaching of it. He nudges my heart into realization that the Bible is living and active. It’s not distant and irrelevant or old-fashioned and culturally flawed. It’s vibrant and powerful, and the Holy Spirit, who is with me, brings the truth of Scripture to bear in my life and my circumstances.

I know the AG won’t get any of that.

He won’t get how important it is for me to sit at the Lord’s table or how God gives me living water, how His presence comforts me in times of sorrow and grief. How He quiets my fears, and certainly not how I can turn to Him any time of any day and know He hears my cry.

The AG can’t know how God answers my cries for help, sometimes by sending godless strangers to bail me out of a pickle, sometimes by giving a friend words of wisdom, sometimes by directing my reading to a certain article or book, sometimes by speaking to me in my spirit.

Are these things that an atheist will be able to see and understand as God working in my life because we have a relationship? I doubt it. Most often I’ve heard, “coincidence” or “imagined” in conjunction to God’s answered prayer.

The thing is, whenever I think of living without God, I can’t imagine going on. I don’t mean that to sound moribund. But I don’t understand what an atheist does when they hear a loved one is sick or has been in an accident or if he loses his job. Who do you turn to for help, I wonder. How do you get through the death of a loved one, if you have no hope and no comfort? I can’t imagine going on.

I can’t imagine life without worship. What do atheists do during the proverbial “minute of silence” in a public gathering? Who do they thank for a glorious sunset? Who do they turn to when disaster devastates a community?

The old adage is, There are no atheists in foxholes, which is kind of true if we look at the response of Americans immediately following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The problem is, as quickly as people turn to God for rescue in crisis, they turn from Him in times of security.

A real relationship with God means we aren’t foul-weather friends—we don’t just care about Him when times are tough.

I can hardly talk about a relationship with God through His Son Jesus without mentioning joy. But how can I explain that sense of well-being and contentment and satisfaction and an awareness of being completely loved, even at the most desperate times?

How can I explain how freeing it feels to be completely forgiven? How can I show AG how different Jesus Christ has made me and is making me as the years go by? How can I explain that my relationship with Him colors my whole worldview, and influences what I write, what I do, how I vote, what I watch on TV—all of it.

I guess what I’m really asking is, how can I make “demonstrable” new life in Christ?

I’m a new creature, I want to shout. Old things just aren’t appealing any more. I don’t have a certain set of ethics because I have to but because I want to. I serve God in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter of the Law.

None of this is “demonstrable,” but all of it marks me as God’s child, His heir, because I’ve been adopted into the beloved. It certainly is enough for me to be sure about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, even though others may not see it.

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26 Comments

  1. It’s a fair question becky, assuming the questioner is sincere. But after your essay, I have to disagree, albeit mildly.

    Your walk IS demonstrable. It is testable, provable, and verifiable. It fulfills the query of WHERE and WHAT is the proof of such Christianity. If the Spirit of God dwells in you (me, we) there most certainly is a demonstration of truth and power.

    And it is precisely this that irks atheists. The word of God works. Of course it does, He is the God of the living, and His life in us is plenty of proof.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’re absolutely right, CS, but sadly the things that we know are of God, the atheist will slough off as a result of some other thing—our “brainwashing” or the fact that we are “nice,’ or even that we are deluded and out of touch with reality. The longer I have interaction with those so set against God, the more I see the truth in Romans 8: “because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God for it does not subject itself to the Law of God, for it is not even able to do so.” Unless the Spirit of God pulls away the blinders, nothing I say will make sense. So I pray, because that’s the only thing that will have impact to change hard hearts. That and proclamation of the gospel, which the Spirit can use in unforeseen ways and with unknown people in unimagined places.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is lovely, Becky. That really is a tough question and how could you even find the words?! Great symphonies have been written and the Sistine chapel painted, all attempts to portray God in our lives.

    I’ve always loved that word, “demonstrable.” I used to think it had something to do with monsters. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ha! I like that, IB. It is a pretty monstrous thing, if you ask me, to judge the invisible only by the visible. The onus, of course, moves to believers, of course, because Jesus said, Others will know Him by how we love one another. Then there is the fruit thing. So, in truth, there are tangible things that set us apart, just not things those blind to spiritual things can see.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi again Becky, I just had to put you right on these statements.

    “The thing is, whenever I think of living without God, I can’t imagine going on. I don’t mean that to sound moribund. But I don’t understand what an atheist does when they hear a loved one is sick or has been in an accident or if he loses his job. Who do you turn to for help, I wonder. How do you get through the death of a loved one, if you have no hope and no comfort? I can’t imagine going on.”

    Atheists are not from another planet, they handle life’s disasters without needing the comfort or crutch of a God. This is precisely the difference in this respect. Atheists depend on humans to lean on and most atheists are arguably emotionally stronger than theists.

    “I can’t imagine life without worship. What do atheists do during the proverbial “minute of silence” in a public gathering? Who do they thank for a glorious sunset? Who do they turn to when disaster devastates a community?”

    You need to get out more Becky, atheists think, and do exactly as you do, just without a god. Atheists do not thank anybody who does not exist, most are just happy to be living each day as it comes. When disasters come they act like anybody else, but simply without the worshipping and praying.

    “The old adage is, There are no atheists in foxholes, which is kind of true if we look at the response of Americans immediately following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. The problem is, as quickly as people turn to God for rescue in crisis, they turn from Him in times of security.”

    The aphorism is an invention believed to have originated from the first world war, but the origin of the quotation is uncertain. Of course, Americans are mostly Christian theists so of course they will need God for support.

    Atheists can see that theists on average are not any better off. Praying as hard as theists do, it appears they are not any happier or joyful, not fitter, not healthier, not richer, not more moralistic, not friendlier or luckier. If anything, some of them are less free because they choose to spend a great amount of time worshipping, also many of them are generally less analytical and less logical and often anti-scientific and that cannot be anything more than a disadvantage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Steve. While I’m glad, as always, that you commented, I have to wonder about you “putting me right” on “statements” that were personal or weren’t statements at all, but were questions.

      All you’ve said is, we don’t do what you do. But what do you do since you basically see humans as alone?

      I think it’s funny that you think atheists are stronger emotionally than Christians who face the possibility, of death, imprisonment, or other forms of persecution.

      It’s particularly funny because we know we aren’t strong, that we have weaknesses, that we need God’s strength, not more than anyone else, but just the same as everyone else. It’s people who deny their weaknesses that are really in need of help—sort of like the alcoholic who first must admit he’s got a drinking problem before he can get on the road to recovery.

      The problem with atheists comparing themselves to theists is that there are false gods and people who worship them. So if you look at them along with new Christians or back-slidden Christians, you will certainly see a mixed bag. Plus, Christians get cancer, just like everyone else, and have car crashes and lose their homes in fires or tornadoes or mudslides or hurricanes. In other words, being a Christian does not wall us off from the human experience. But we have this promise: “When you pass through the fire, I will be with you.” It’s that “never alone” fact that no one but Christians can experience.

      But you’re right that being a Christian is probably harder than not being one, if for no other reason than that we now see the ways God wants us to conform to His Son, Jesus. Before we might have thought that doing a good turn now and then made us good people. Now we know God wants us to love our neighbor, and “neighbor” is not limited to those living on the same street. We know that “do not murder” starts in the heart with, “do not hate.” And so much more. The thing is, as some have said, living the Christian life isn’t hard; it’s impossible. Which is why we have to rely on God’s Spirit.

      I think it’s pretty funny, too, that you think being a Christian has anything to do with how analytical or logical you are. Or how “anti-scientific” you might be. Let’s demonstrate that with one question: what scientific evidence do you have for making that assertion?

      In truth, Steve, because all truth is God’s truth, Christians embrace all kinds of scientific and philosophical and historical truth. We aren’t limited as naturalists are by what they can physically detect. I think we probably do a better job of the arts than someone so limited can ever do. And of course, theology is something to which atheists simply cannot make any meaningful contribution. So who is really at a disadvantage?

      Becky

      Liked by 3 people

  4. As impossible as it is to describe, I think you did a good job trying.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Wally. I really appreciate your encouragement.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I always enjoy your writings. I think your experience as a fiction writer gives you a special narrative gift when talking about these things.

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  5. I get an overwhelming sense of peace that reaffirms my slightly agnostic deism every time I remind myself that I will choose to walk into Hell if it turns out that Westboro Baptist Church’s ideology is correct. Rather than worry about an afterlife, I’m comforted by the fact that if I’m wrong about what god does or doesn’t exist it doesn’t matter because if God really is the self-centered, controlling, prejudiced being that the Bible describes, as an empathetic human, I don’t want to worship that, even if it means I burn in Hell for it.

    If given the choice between hurting myself and hurting others, I’ll choose self sacrifice any day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can assure you, Catherine, the Westboro Baptist garbage is nothing but false teaching. It in no way reflects what the Bible teaches, and I can show that with the verse in I John I recently posted in a comment (I’ll add the verse that follows, too): ‘If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.’ (1 John 4:20-21, if you want to look it up.)

      Which brings up the next point: who gave you the idea that God is remotely like you stated? Not the Bible, that’s for sure. And that’s where God reveals Himself, so someone must have put those false ideas out there.

      Funny you should elevate self-sacrifice so much. God Himself has kind of put a patent on that. After all, His sacrifice changes things now AND in the life after this one. In other words, what He did has everlasting effects for any and all why trust Him. It’s quite comprehensive, what He offers: for all people, for all times, genders, ethnicities, locations, economic status, and moral standing. He just wants people who admit they can’t save themselves.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is for You: Jesus Loves You
      Psalm 14:1
      The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. hahah!! God was write about people 2000 yrs back.
      Psalm 52:1

      Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day.

      hahahah!!! YOU Believe it or NOT…
      Everything has an opposite side
      Like DARK AND LIGHT
      Yes and No
      Wrong and Right

      Btw Light reminds me of :
      Ahem Ahem !! MY JESUS SAYS:
      John 8:12
      When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the LIGHT of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

      Thank God You Believe in ______ Hell______ At lest
      That Shows My GOD IS ALIVE IN YOUR HEART
      Bcoz if you Believe in Hell You Believe in Heaven

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I think Catherine is sweepingly suggesting that Westboro is a Christian outfit, albeit a repulsive one, because they do claim they know God and the Bible better than anyone else, just as you and many other denominations do Becky.

    When everything is considered it is the interpretation of the Bible that is what they use to support their ideology, just as every other Christian does to support their ideology.

    The Islamic State uses their interpretation of the Quran to justify their murderous rampage that are far from most Islamic Muslims mainstream ideologies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Steve. I actually understood exactly what she’s saying. Perhaps you missed what I am saying: regardless of whatever claims they make, this cult is in no way right or representative of Christianity.

      The “interpretation” of the Bible is not at issue. What is at issue is the fact that the small group of Westboro people ignore the parts of the Bible that disagree with their beliefs, including the verse I quoted to Catherine yesterday—a verse that is very clear in its intent and meaning and agrees with what God has revealed elsewhere in Scripture.

      The problem with the pretenders is that they camp, like so many atheists do, on one particular verse and then they interpret all of the Bible in light of that belief.

      But the opposite should be true: if a verse seems to contradict the teaching of other verses, we need to go back to the context and see what the author was saying to those people in those circumstances. Otherwise, I can “prove” from the Bible that there is no God. It says so in a couple places. Except, the context reveals exactly the opposite meaning.

      This is no different than understanding other documentation, Steve. You should know this. Laws, constitutions, contracts, all need to be carefully understood and interpreted.

      The thing that should matter most is truth: does the Bible reveal truth? And of course those of us who put our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ say that yes, the Bible, not the Koran or the writings of the Hindus or the Buddhists or any other religion accurately reveals the truth about God and our spiritual lives and how we are to live in a godly way in this world.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  7. well put Rebecca I really enjoyed this. I am a born again Christian as well. Im at adventuresonmykeyboard.com

    Liked by 3 people

  8. […] My Christian friends, those in real life and on the web all know that reading God’s word is reading words of life and praying is the greatest expression of our thoughts and needs, or potentially can be so, to Him who loves us most. But how can those outside the faith know this?……..Read the rest of the post here: A Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ […]

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  9. Wally sent me here and I’m so glad he did! Excellent post! God bless you greatly!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Lynn. Wally’s a good one! I’m glad you stopped by, too.

      Becky

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  10. Hi Rebecca,
    I enjoyed your post! What is a demonstrable personal relationship with Jesus? It’s a man putting the bottle down. It’s a man who quits chasing tail and becomes transformed to a faithful husband. It’s a man whose co-workers are perplexed to witness how and why he wouldn’t do what they’re doing. I’m still on my journey with the Lord, but I would not want to be on it without Him. Thank you.

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  11. Such a wonderful & beautiful way to describe our relationship with Christ! You are right, it is impossible to describe to someone who doesn’t know, and doesn’t want to know!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi, Rebecca! Loved your post. As a teenager, I am always asked a lot of similar questions by my peers. I think you are doing a great job. I have two blogs. My Christian blog is at https://amorningcoffeewithjesus.wordpress.com/ Here, I try to share my Christian walk and also tell the world why I believe what I believe. God bless! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Stefan. Blessings on your writing. I’m glad you are addressing these important issues, and I also appreciate your encouragement.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Becky. We need to do this. In a world that is heading away from God, it is important we show that what we belieev is true and absolutely logical. God bless! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for sharing Becky! Love your website. Keep up the great work. 🙂

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  14. […] via A Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ — A Christian Worldview of Fiction […]

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