What exactly does a "personal relationship with Jesus" mean?


#1

I know this is more of a term that Evangelical Christians use more than Catholics, but what exactly does a “personal relationship with Jesus” mean? (… I’m pretty sure I’ve never had one…)

When I think of a “personal relationship,” I think of conversation, dialogue, actually seeing someone face-to-face, etc. As far as I know, most people aren’t regularly conversing with a Booming Voice Of God in their heads, right? (For lack of better way to describe it … ) What do people mean when they say “God’s voice told me XYZ” or “Jesus is my best friend”? :confused:
I hope my descriptions don’t come off as disrespectful (though I’m kind of socially inept so they inevitably will offend someone).

I’ve always envied people of faith, especially how it seems to come so natural to many. I really wish I had that (and it saddens me that the view of most religions is that my lack-of or struggle with faith is my own fault, and I’m eternally damned as a result.)

Basically where I stand now is that I believe God exists, and I believe that all I’ve encountered of Catholic moral philosophy is dead-on 100% right. To put this in perspective, about a year ago, I still considered myself agnostic, and pro-“choice,”… pro- all sorts of other things. :frowning: But I don’t really think I can’t get past the point I’m at now. Just as one example, there are all sorts of things in the Bible that disturb me. Don’t even get me started on all the things people are supposed to be stoned to death according to the OT. (I kind of think stoning people to death is really poor behavior, but what do I know?)

I feel my main issues are with revelation in general. I understand the argument that really very little history we know has not been told to us from other people, and in that way we accept it “on faith.” But over a billion people believe in the teachings of Islam and the Koran, and there are over a billion Christians too. So, sheer numbers can’t determine what major religion is correct (if any), and we certainly don’t have a consensus.

How does one get from a belief in objective moral truth and God’s existence to Christianity?

So much for a cohesive first post. :blush:
Thanks for your help, and apologies for all the rambling…


#2

Hello and welcome…
I think that the most important thing we can do in this life is to always strive to be our best with what we are given. (Christ gave us this perfect example to follow.)

You are taking a big step in your spiritual journey.
As you learn about the Catholic faith, you will find that it makes so much sense. The more you learn, the thirstier towards the faith you become.

Without rambling, a thought to consider…
How do you know what is good and what is evil? Your spiritual journey will lead you to that very basic answer that should guide you throughout your life.

In this ever changing world, how does a person know what to believe from others? As you make decisions in this life, always get back to the basics on what is good and what is evil when you make them.

The Catholic Church has the blueprint to follow on knowing what is good and what is evil.


#3

Hello and welcome

To answer the question in your title, I think only a miniscule number of people have actually seen Jesus with their own eyes. You have the disciples and those few others who actually met Jesus when He was alive but, after that, you are talking about a very small number of saints and mystics such as St Faustina. This is consistent with Jesus’s saying to Thomas in John 20:29 that: "“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”

Well that accounts for just about every single believer that has been alive since.

So, if you can’t see Jesus, touch him, hear him, how do you have a personal relationship with him?

I believe it is through prayer to Him, receiving Him in the eucharist, following His teachings and commandments, and listening to one’s heart that we come closest to Jesus. You can also ask and invite Him to come into your life and change it; asking Him to use you as His instrument for love and conversion in the world. Others speak of adoration of the blessed sacrement when they “feel” His real presence and are stirred in the spirit. We can also be faithful to the the teaching of His established church on earth, the Catholic Church.

I hope this helps


#4

I think of it in terms of trying to ponder the face of Christ, currently through the Rosary and soon through Eucharistic adoration. For me, at least these contemplative prayers offer me the quite I need in my heart to step out of the noise of the world and just ponder God (Trium) and Christs love and Passion for us. In the past I’ve always found this through Mary, perhaps because when I was a child my mother put a picture of Mary in my brother and I’s room. It may sound silly, but I never went to my parents as a child, scared that any “monster” would “get” me even once. The reason was that picture (brilliant on their part for sleeping through the night lol). I felt that I had a Mother (specifically of the Church) with me always protecting me from whatever “monster” or “daemon” might be under the bed. I figured if worst came to worst she’d ask her son to drive them out for my protection.

Anyway I’ve gone on way too much of a tangent lol. Just find whatever connects you to God and Jesus most personally. I think while Evangelicals like to think of this in a clear certain way, to me at least it should be different for each of us.


#5

Excellent question (and welcome to CAF!).

In my response I will quote from Jerome Gilmartin, author of The 7-Step Reason to Be Catholic, a book that walks you through logical, science-and-history-based steps, beginning with, why do we believe in God at all? Then, why do we believe in Jesus? Then, once we believe in Jesus, why should we belong to the Catholic Church?

With the exception of Jews (and Christians) who speak of I AM of the Old Testament – the Messianic prophecies of which Jesus fulfilled – no authoritative spokesperson for any non-Christian religion claims that its founder or reformer is comparable to Jesus in the way he manifested the authority of the Creator – including his power over death.

Other than I AM, of all founders of a religion Jesus Christ alone manifested the authority of the Creator; only Jesus did all of the following: (a) fulfilled the many Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament; (b) proved by his works that he had the authority of the Creator; © acknowledged that he was God (Jn 20:28-29); (d) died on the cross to redeem us and make possible our salvation; (e) rose from death on the third day, appeared to many, and ascended into heaven; (f) said he would judge us after death (Jn 5:22-23); and (g) said no one comes to the Father except through him (Jn 14:6).

Gilmartin goes on to demonstrate the historical accuracy of the Bible, how Jesus founded ONE Church, and that there is no “Biblical escape clause” to reject the one Church founded by Jesus.

Check out the website 7step.catholic.org . A PDF summary is available at stthomasmoresociety.org/7-step/summary/Summary-English.pdf .


#6

Hi, I think that having a relationship with Jesus is all about knowing Him as a Person, not just an idea or a concept in your mind that you think about, but KNOWING Him… but I’d say this really comes with prayer, time, and experience :slight_smile: I’m still new to this myself. It’s really beautiful to know Him though, you just start to understand so much more His love for you. I think the best thing to do is to just pray, and be completely honest with God in prayer… also having a relationship with Jesus includes also knowing our Blessed Mother and the Saints, we are all one in Christ, and it includes loving others too :slight_smile:

for most people knowing God doesn’t mean seeking Him in this life though… but that’s alright, because Christ said that blessed are those who have believed but not seen. There is more merit in such faith. Someday we will see :slight_smile: we shouldn’t seek this right not, out of humility. We show our love for God the most when we try to do His will and to please Him, even if it involves some sacrifice (small or big). Prayer and the Sacraments help us here. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, He unites Himself with us and it’s the closest we can come to Him on earth - He is literally physically inside us. If we were to feel and see this reality as it is, I don’t know if we would be able to live through it, lol, because we’re not ready yet. But He still gives us a lot of peace through this Sacrament, and most of all it shows His love for us. Christ is so humble that He is willing to not only die for us, but to also become our food - take on the appearance of bread and wine - just because He doesn’t want to be parted from us. God is everywhere spiritually, but physically Jesus is only present in the Eucharist and in Heaven. (that’s where His Body is). He’s present in the Eucharist in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. We can pray to Him in the Eucharist and worship Him. For many people that is very personal, especially “Adoration”, which is prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

I wanted to also comment on what you said about the Old Testament, I think there, God was trying to discipline His “chosen people” (Israel - chosen because the Messiah was born there) - and to show them what morality and justice is… and in the NT, it’s all about God’s mercy. God hasn’t changed, but His relationship (covenant) with the world has changed… back then it was based on the Law, and now it’s based on Grace. So sometimes there are parts in the OT that are difficult to understand but they are trying to show the human condition of the time.

God bless :slight_smile:


#7

As to how we hear God, for most people it’s not through actually hearing His voice, but He communicates to us in other ways, like through our conscience but also …this is kind of difficult to describe, but sometimes people can just feel what He is telling them, and they recognize the voice as His. However we should be careful cause there’s a lot of deception out there as well. I’d say that a relationship with Christ isn’t based on anything like this. It’s possible to have a very close relationship with Him without it. It’s mostly just based on love and prayer :slight_smile: with time, He makes His presence felt to the soul, and it becomes very real, not less real than anything we can see. Then a Christian can say, I know God is real not just because His existence makes sense to me, but also because I’ve met Him. But again, this comes with time and prayer. During that time, God prepares the soul and the person needs to be open to Him, and trusting. The more we trust, the more we believe, the more graces we receive.

God bless


#8

Hi, this is a very good question and a very important one.

God is in you. God is in everyone on the earth of all religions and denominations. Through what God has made everyone knows God.

You feel God in your heart. It is a joy and it is love. This is God. When you obey this voice in your heart you are having a personal relationship with God. He is telling you what to do and you are respecting His wishes and obeying Him.

In time as you love God more and more you want to do things for God as God is love for mankind. You want to do things to and for God as you love Him.

Here there is a problem. People without Jesus have this problem. Although their motive is for God, they can only do things to people or tasks. They cannot do things straight for God in their physical actions, even if their hearts and motives are for God.

Thus here to solve this you believe that Jesus is God and accept Him as your God. With this belief you follow God as you were before however now you do things to Jesus as you now have a personal relationship with Him.

Where is Jesus? He is in every person on the earth as God is everywhere. Now you meet and serve Jesus literally in everyone, as Jesus is God and God is the love for all people.

This is sometimes hard to see, but it becomes really clear when you really open your heart and love people. You want your action to be for the love of people and not for the praise or acceptance of people. The love of people is God so you want to do it for Him. God is Jesus so you do your work and actions for Jesus.

This is a personal relationship with Jesus. It is a relationship that is meant for everyone. In it you become your true self.

He who does what is true comes to the light that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. John 3:21


#9

The Eucharist!

How much more personal can you get than consuming our Lord Savior Jesus Christ body and blood, soul & divinity? Short of a mystical union, it is the most perfect way to have a relationship with Him. He lives and dwells within you & you within Him. Your whole life becomes an offering and sacrifice to Him.


#10

As for a personal relationship … it’s a sort of a two way thing.

You can get a good idea of the way Jesus thinks and feels by reading the Gospels… from time to time… and really think about about what you have read. We can relate to his human side by for example; the fear and anxiety he felt when in the garden of Gethsemane when contemplating his last hours on earth, when he actually cried over Lazarus’ death, Jesus special love for individuals and so on. You can form an idea of his personality from reading the Gospels carefully.

You can get to form a friendship with Jesus by thinking to him instead of thinking to yourself about the things that concern you. Like we all have our own internal dialogue going on most of the time… address them to Jesus instead. This is a major form of prayer and you’ll find, over time, that Jesus does listen to your concerns.

You sound as though you are on the right track despite your own doubts. Try and let your self doubts go… nag Jesus about them if you can’t let them go.


#11

hi there…

It means to take time to learn about Jesus. For example when you want a personal relationship with a potential friend, you take the time to know the likes and dislikes, and the mannerisms of such person. John 17:3 says that by taking in knowledge of God and Jesus we can have a personal relationship. Meaning that can get to know Jesus better and see what he likes and dislikes and his mannerisms. And always have Him in our minds to have a personal relationship with Jesus.


#12

My dear friend

To have a personal relationship with Jesus you must get to know him very well. The best way is to read the gospels. You cannot have a relatioship with someone you don’t know. The next step is to spend time in prayer talking to him each day. It may be boring at first because its like a one way conversation. But gradually you’ll know Jesus is listening to you and you may hear his voice if you stay quiet. He may say a few very quiet words that’ll have a profound influence on you. But he’ll speak to you through the ordinary events of each day and he people you meet and even nature etc. The more you go along this path the more faith you will recive. The stronger your faith the less doubts you’ll have. If you devote yourself to much prayer Jesus may speak to you through mystical experience. This can really cement your faith. Our goal s mystical union with Christ. But its a long road for us all. With the other religions you only need to study a little to find the only one even claiming to be founded by God himself is the catholic church. There is much good in all though. Faith comes from prayer and good works. Pray a lot for more faith. You might like my blogs about where the bible came from and why we had a protestant reformation Check it in my signature.
To take the leap to christianity faith is needed and you can only go so far before you need the gift of faith from God. Pray for faith and persevere. I’ll pray for you.

God bless you dear friend:thumbsup::slight_smile:


#13

[size=5]Pope Encourages Personal Relationship With Christ[/size]

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Dear brothers and sisters,

Today I would like to speak about St. Bernard of Clairvaux, called “the last father” of the Church, because in the 12th century he renewed once again and rendered present the great theology of the Fathers. We do not know details about the years of his boyhood. We know, nevertheless, that he was born in 1090 in Fontaines, France, in a numerous, moderately comfortable family. As a youth, he spent himself in the study of the so-called liberal arts – especially grammar, rhetoric and dialectics – at the school of the canons of the church of St. Vorles, in Chatillon-sur-Seine, and he slowly matured his decision to enter the religious life.

These reflections, characteristic of one in love with Jesus and Mary as St. Bernard was, rightly inflame again today not only theologians but all believers. At times an attempt is made to resolve the fundamental questions on God, on man and on the world with the sole force of reason. Instead, St. Bernard, solidly based on the Bible and on the Fathers of the Church, reminds us that without a profound faith in God, nourished by prayer and contemplation, by a profound relationship with the Lord, our reflections on the divine mysteries risk becoming a futile intellectual exercise, and lose their credibility. Theology takes us back to the “science of the saints,” to their intuitions of the mysteries of the living God, to their wisdom, gift of the Holy Spirit, which become the point of reference for theological thought.

Together with Bernard of Clairvaux, we too must recognize that man seeks God better and finds him more easily “with prayer than with discussion.” In the end, the truest figure of the theologian and of every evangelizer is that of the Apostle John, who leaned his head on the heart of the Master.

[/LEFT]

#14

Hello Genevieve, Your question is one asked by many christians of all faith, including myself.

I hope to give you some insight that will help you make up your mind.
You acknowledge that there is a God but you are wondering if you and him have a relationship.
Well the question you ask tells me that you do. But, You are not comfortable with how it feels. What this means is, you pray to God but don’t see replies. This is quite normal. In the real world, spiritual answers don’t always manifest themselves the way we would like them too.

I have a question for you.

Have you ever wanted something and you planned it out? You crossed your Ts and dotted your I’s. But when the planned event was to happen, it didn’t turn out the way you thought it should have? Instead something that you didn’t plan for happened in it’s place. (Blessing in disguise).

Example, I’m currently dealing with my ex-wife on child support issues. I live at one end of the city she at the other end.
On this particular night, I was attempting to serve her with court papers, I waited 1 and half hours for to return home so I could serve her with the documents. It didn’t happen.

You know why?
Well, I believe now and recognized the moment it happened, My daughter had a car accident 2 blocks away. Seeing that I was there and not at home I was summoned not only by my daughter but God to be there for her as she was in a paniced state where she couldn’t call on the ones she normally would call. I was there which helped her deal with the situation with a calm head. I never did serve my ex-wife that night.

If you have experienced similar situations like that on different occassions then I say you have a personal relationship with God.
Remember one thing, God is to everyone in different ways, Don’t be so hard on yourself with this issue.
By asking the question, you are aware of God.

Ask him anything and he will answer you. Just don’t be surprised by his answers.


#15

Part 2,

How do you know, you haven’t had a conversation with God?
God talks to us in many ways, he also works through us even when we are unaware he is doing it. But when you realize what is going on, sometimes the event has concluded with the results desired. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? well, God and I are going through our challenges as we speak.

I have my ideas and my wants and believe me he is kicking my butt for it. He has a plan for me which for some reason he won’t reveal because I’m not ready for it.
I have experienced some major challenges in the last 5 years that I can only attribute to God.

Here’s a sample, (now realize that these are everyday things that will happen to anyone at anytime but have happened to me).

I have been sued 3 times for a total of $3.1 million. al have been resolved with positive results.
I lost a business. ( not for lack of effort) All my clients up and left me with in a week and left me holding the bag
I lost my marriage which included my home, my kids, my life. As a result of the failed business.
I had to file bankruptcy, Which I’ve cleared. But I have a very poor credit rating.
My job has taken a downturn which has put a financial burden on me.

And to top it off. after settling my last lawsuit, I turned to the lord and said thank you but “What’s next” you know I have to stop saying that, because no sooner did I ask and I received a phone call fron Revenue Canada informing me that I owed them for a past oustanding amount. And it is no small amount.

I hung up the phone threw my hands in the air and said thanks. Can it get any worst than this?
The answer will be known after I deal with the government. I know what the answer is and there is more coming my way.

God and I are doing battle and it may look like he’s winning but he isn’t even trying yet! And I haven’t given in yet either. He is testing me. And I haven’t passed the test yet.

But I will win…

with his approval.


#16

Y’know, in all the years I was a Protestant (15 years growing up, another 29 between my Christian conversion and my Catholic conversion), nobody ever defined that for us.

DaveBj


#17

If you would like to read about one person’s personal relationship with Jesus and God that can be had by all(and yes the author grew up Catholic)-check out
stores.lulu.com/GodsGallery

and ((live63))-God is not doing doing battle with you-to the contrary- He is carrying you through it–hang onto your faith tightly-you will get through this… the best definition of Faith that I’ve ever found… when you come to the edge of everything you know to be true and step off- you KNOW one of two things is going to happen…either you will find something solid to stand on…or- you will be taught how to FLY…:thumbsup::wink: God Bless


#18

Or hit the ground with a thud…


#19

((((Live63)))))- I’m starting my life over for the fourth time after losing everything…I’m a senior ciizen…my words to you were sincere-… been there done that- never thudded yet- perhaps because I keep looking up instead of down-when my arms get a little tired- then I just look for angels to lift me up higher… trust God- battle the attitude


#20

Jcnme I never doubted your sincerity. I merely am making a joke for the situation. If we take life too seriously then we will become overwhelmed by all of its negativity.

I hope you realize that acknoledging our challenges and dealing with them the best way we can. Allowing God to work through us and with us, we can conquer all that is sent our way.

I wake up every morning with an optimistic outlook on the day ahead and believe me, although I sometimes get down because of my situation, I never give up. I know that there is something big instore for me in the near future and I look forward to it with anticipation.


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