“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12).
What does it mean to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? What does that relationship look like, especially in our prayer life? I don’t plan on offering a definitive answer in this post, but what I will do is share encounters from my own relationship and maybe sneak in a little speculation. Relationships are highly personal in nature, especially with God; these kinds of conversation require the utmost reverence and respect; pride has no place here.
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15), and then just a chapter later, Jesus said “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:10). So, let’s dive right into the heart of the matter, a personal relationship with Christ should bear the fruits of obedience. I don’t mean to imply perfection, but we should see sanctification at work; we should see a working out of one’s salvation (Philippians 2:12). I think that’s fair.
Sometimes it feels like we too often approach God how I imagine a courtier might have fearfully approached King Henry VIII. I would need another post to dive into the meaning of the fear of God, but I will propose the fear of God is not Anne Boleyn approaching the King in fear of losing her head, at least not for the believer. Indeed, there should be reverence, and unimaginable awe, humility and most of all agape love. The Night I Met Jesus, I fell to my knees facing downward to the floor, and Jesus directed me to stand up, because sons do not kneel before their fathers. Romans 8:17 came alive for me in that moment, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” There just aren’t the words, or at least I don’t have them yet, to do the encounter justice.
Maybe we should reassess how we pray and engage God, and maybe, just maybe, we will discover that we’re praying more in the flesh, and less in the Spirit, than we realize. “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12). Are we coming before our Father as a son or daughter ought, confident, or are we crawling, fearfully before a maniacal king? I know that must anguish the Father; Jesus paid a high price, so that would not have to be the case
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