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What Does a Relationship with Jesus Christ Look and Feel Like?
Rest for the Weary
This morning a friend of mine replied to an email I sent her and asked the following question: what does a relationship with Jesus Christ look and feel like? Although it may not be complete, this hub sets forth my answer to her question. In summary, a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ is results in a sense of rest that goes beyond understanding. It is a rest that is grounded in the faith and knowledge that God and Jesus Christ are real and leads to selfless loving action towards others. Moreover, the Christian life is life edifying and life building based on principles of love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness that lead to holy and righteous actions towards God, self and others, rather than judgement and condemnation.
My actual answer to my friend's question: "What does a relationship with Jesus Christ look and feel like?" is presented below.
The Christian Life is Inner Rest and Peace Coupled with Loving Action
A relationship with Jesus Christ is rest.
The Christian life is a complete rest which is the result of completely abiding in Jesus the vine and leads to an inner satisfaction that defies human words of explanation which in turn leads to sacrificial love towards others.
Naked and Unashamed
Perhaps, it is best characterized in the Bible in the description of Adam and Eve before the fall "naked and unashamed." A completely pure and unadulterated openness and vulnerability with no fear of violation and a knowledge that God is present to provide the fulfillment of all real spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical needs.
Appropriated by Faith that God Exists and Cares about You Personally
It is best appropriated when we truly believe that God truly exists (is real and tangible) and that he cares for me (for you) as an individual, uniquely fashioned by his loving hand. The most important verse in the Bible besides Genesis 1:1 is Hebrews 11:6. "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
This verse has two essential points - 1. God is real and 2. God is real to me personally as an individual i.e. he cares for me personally and wants to give me the very best of life and existence.
Not a Guarantee of Protection from Sin and Suffering
That does not mean we will not be affected by the problems of the world around us. The consequences of past sins and the sins of others do affect innocent people and like the proverbial pebble cast into the pond poor choices have a ripple effect that impact folks in far off lands as well as future generations. Like your ex's accident. You had nothing to do with how that situation played out. It did not happen because of what you did or didn't do. Just like a Christian friend of mine's baby did not die in a car crash because of my sinful actions committed eight hours earlier, 1000 miles away. I am not the center of the universe; nor am I omnipresent or omnipotent to control all that goes on throughout the planet. I used to think so. Until the New York Giants won the Super Bowl on the same day that baby died.
Rest is Found in the Uniquely Christian Principle of Forgiveness
The question is how do we find peace and rest in the midst of the day to day struggle of this world. I am not talking about a manufactured feeling, but true rest that goes beyond explanation. Well, it begins with forgiveness. Forgiveness of ourselves and then also towards others. The simple elogance of the Christian message is tied to the uniquely Christian principle of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is only Tangible if Jesus is Real
However, forgiveness will never be real to us if God is merely a force and Christ merely a consciousness. If Jesus is not real; if he is not truly the Savior of the whole world then the forgiveness he offers cannot be complete and I am left to fend for myself. I simply cannot do it; I do not have it in me. But, if Jesus can and does provide the basis of true forgiveness of all past wrongs and sins, then oh what a truly indescribable gift indeed that leads to a deep and satisfying rest indeed.
Embracing God's Grace and Forgiveness Leads to Rest and Loving Action towards Others
This deep and satisfyng rest is not an escape from the world, but a deep, indescribable satisfaction by which the Christian feels complete and whole, lacking nothing. From this state of personal completeness he or she ceases to think of his own personal needs and is able to display sacrificial loving action towards others.
What does a relationship with Jesus Christ look and feel like? It is a complete rest in Jesus Christ that leads to an inner satisfaction that is so perfect, it defies human words of explanation and leads to sacrificial love towards others.
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