riˈlā SHən Ship

Relationship – noun – the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected. Merriam-Webster

That’s a good church word. Relationship. We’re encouraged to have a relationship with Jesus. We’re told it’s the most important relationship we’ll ever have.

The problem is the definition isn’t always clear. What does it mean to have a relationship with Jesus? Are all relationships with Jesus good ones? Can we have a bad relationship with Him? Is a relationship with Him instantaneous? Or does it have to grow?

Relationship begins with a connection. Let’s say I meet a guy named Bob who attends my church, and, because it’s a big church, I never see him again. Do Bob and I have a relationship? No. The connection is our church, but that’s not the sole determining factor in establishing a relationship.

Let’s say the following week I see Bob again, and we have a conversation beyond just saying hello. Do we have a relationship? Not yet.

Let’s say the following Saturday, Bob and I show up to do a work project at church. While working on the project Bob tells me he’s looking for employment, but he doesn’t know how to create a winning resume’. I have a friend that helps people create a winning resume’. Bob gives me his email. Later that day I email Bob with my friend’s contact information.

Do Bob and I have a relationship? That depends on what happens next. If I have only casual infrequent contact with Bob, I don’t think we have a relationship. If we stay in touch on a frequent basis, then, yes, we have a relationship.

What about my relationship with Jesus? It follows the same pattern with one difference. Jesus enters my life intending to have a relationship with me.

He’s in it for the long haul. He’s after more than just a quick hello. He expects more than surface conversation. He wants me to stay in touch on a frequent basis.

But like all relationships, I have to do my part. Imagine if I sent Bob a weekly email asking how his job search was going, and he never responded. What if every time I saw him at church, I quickly walked the other way? That’s not a relationship.

If I don’t intentionally keep in contact with Jesus beyond the weekly worship services, I should question my relationship with Him.

This isn’t a salvation issue. It’s a discipleship issue.

Frequent, ideally daily, Bible reading, prayer, and following His commands to serve others are all necessary to grow and maintain a healthy relationship with Jesus.

It’s what He wants of me. It should be what I want of me.

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