What does a "personal relationship with Jesus" mean?

A lot of Protestants say they have a personal relationship with the Lord but just what does that look like? They also claim Catholics don’t have that relationship.

When I started dating my hubby he would say that but didn’t explain it. I went to his non-denominational church with him and I didn’t see the people there having a “personal relationship with the Lord” so I am confused. He said that is what attracted him to that church, they had a “personal relationship with the Lord.”:confused:

When we married my hubby came back to the Church and said he just did not understand what he was taught as a kid. He is now very Catholic and has stopped going to the other church.

Is it just something Protestants say or can they explain what it is?

I think it is an excuse to not belong to any specific religious following and sort of make up your own religion with it its own rules as you go along; falsely assuming that Jesus always loves you and will agree with you no matter how you live your life.

Just my opinion. :shrug:

I would personally interpret it is a strong personal prayer life, and maybe a well-lived outward life too, although the latter conflicts with OSAS and faith-alone…

This was a term that was tossed around at least a bit at the AoG I went to before converting. Personally, its not something I could understand. About the only thing I noticed was people raising their hands will sining (one or both), or screaming/yelling/wailing during worship.

Catholics, like any Christian, can have a personal relationship with Jesus. That can come through Prayer, “just” sitting and thinking about God, Adoration, thoughts, actions, anything really.
I think the idea that “Catholics don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus” stems from the idea that we’re “not Christians,” and don’t read the Bible or do anything remotely Biblical… To me, it comes across as a cop-out for lack of better apologetics!

This was my experience:

When I was a teenager, and a protestant, a friend told me that I could have a personal relationship with Jesus if I asked Him to come into my heart. I did that and my life was totally changed. To me, it means that the Holy Spirit is present in your life. Anyone in any denomination can have that relationship with Jesus. It’s not a magical “formula”, as some protestants would lead you to believe. Anyone who is following after Jesus, obeys Him, and abides in Him, the Spirit of God abides in them.

Whenever I am asked if I have a personal relationship with Jesus I always reply " yes, just other day I held him lovingly in my hands and then followed his admonition to eat his body and drink his blood , it just cannot get more personal than that".

I believe the genuine Christian understands this as a relationship with the Lord that has personal conviction, prayer, devotion, etc.

And maybe the disingenuous Christian uses that concept as a copout for devotion to certain duties and adherence to orthodox beliefs.

I saw or heard a quote, don’t remember which, the other day that went something like, “Don’t make Jesus a part of your life. Make your life a part of Jesus.”

It just seems to me that to express one’s faith as a ‘personal relationship with Jesus’ is overly simplifying. Same as when someone refers to Jesus as ‘my personal Lord and Savior.’ My reaction is ‘Jesus is the whole world’s Lord and Savior, not just mine.’

Right, but we do EACH need to personally believe AND take up our cross.

I enjoy Catholicism for the realization of being born INTO one body with one faith, one leadership who all receive from the one loaf.

Their must be personal faith, conviction, prayer and self examination to recognize our crosses and carry them. But we don’t do it alone either.

This is what I was going to say. In my mind, you can’t get more of a relationship than in the Eucharist.

I would compare my relationship with Christ, as my relationship that I have with my family, or even my close friends, my wife.

This means that it would not be Christ alone, it would include His mother, His Father, and all of Christ friends, who He hung out with.

It is not possible to have a personal relationship with my wife, if I do not know her parents, her bothers and sisters,her close high school friends, how else can I know someone personally.

Even with my neighbors, to have a personal relationship with them, I need to know their children and family, their likes and dislikes, otherwise would it not be just an acquaintance?

I can’t speak for people who claim to have such a relationship, but to me, it seems shallow and insufficient.

After four (4) teen drivers, I have a “personal relationship” with Tony down at Bruno’s Body Shop.

Just yesterday I took some tomatoes out of my garden to my neighbor Brian, whom I talk to about a dozen times per year. I have a personal relationship with him.

My partner is a horse’s a** but I work with him regularly and have a personal relationship with him too.

I think our Lord is calling us to have something much much more than just that kind of “personal relationship” with Him.

He is calling us to have an “intimate relationship” with Him, which we experience when we open ourselves to the Truth revealed by Him to us and receive Him, body, blood, soul and divinity into our own person, and for a brief time share a very deep connection that most of those who claim to have merely a “personal relationship” with our Lord can neither experience nor comprehend.

Receiving His Eucharist is no more a guarantee of doing so worthily, than a personal relationship with Jesus being a good relationship.

Judas had a personal relationship with Christ. He also took His Eucharist. :shrug:

We don’t need to demonize the expression “personal relationship with Jesus”. It’s a good concept, if understood rightly.

We all need to PERSONALLY examine our own conscience to receive with a right heart.

A personal relationship means intimacy. That means getting to know Jesus through prayer.

The Jesuits do it well - speaking to Jesus as friends would speak with each other if they were sitting next to each other.

The Eucharist is not prayer. The Eucharist in and of itself, apart from prayer, is not a personal relationship.


These are relationships.

Who said it was???

No one, specifically, that I’m aware of.


They believe that the Church stands between us and God, administering grace through the sacraments. But the sacraments, in their respective roles, are personal avenues of grace, of contact with God, only meant to initiate and strengthen a relationship between ourselves and Him. The more common Catholic term is communion, and this connection between man and God with the Trinity dwelling within us, is the essential aspect of the New Covenant. And never is it taught that a continous communication of love between ourselves and Him doesn’t exist outside of the Church’s auspices. She simply teaches us about, initiates us into, and helps us grow and sustain this relationship, but it’s strictly personal in nature.

It is a term of art. It is Protestant lingo. I’ve heard the phrase a lot but I’m not sure I could easily define it. Upon quick reflection I think it means both living the Christian Faith and having a more intimate relationship with Jesus.

The first meaning is a way to distinguish those who claim to be Christian from those who actually do the works of faith. The second I can’t really expound upon. In that sense it was never a phrase I really liked as a Protestant. If I encountered someone using that phrase again I’d personally want it explained to me. And if a Protestant claimed Catholics don’t have that I’d definitely make him explain exactly what he means. I’d also ask him how he knows that. Lots of Protestants seem to be experts in Catholicims!

I find that you sometimes get this from within the Catholic Church as well. You can get some who are of a charismatic inclination talking like this, almost as if this is something that those of us who are of a more traditional nature do not have.

Personally I feel closer to Christ during silent adoration or during a reverent Mass where there is solemn silence. I do not feel the need for clapping, hugging, waving hands in the air, and noisy worship.

I think that many Protestants and charismatic Catholics can place too much emphasis on human emotion and feelings and assume that this is a direct measure of the Holy Spirit in one’s life.

Whatever phrase is used, or not used, praise God that people turn to Jesus Christ.

In times of a disaster, we witness people of all walks of life come together. Its is a powerful sight and touches our soul. How I wish we could all retain that level of kindness.

“personal relationship with Jesus” is a term used by some. Others may use different terminology. Some enjoy silence, some want to jump up and praise.

Who am I to determine that your way to speak to God is right or wrong.
I am not the master. I am only a servant.

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