A few days ago I saw one of the clearest examples of those who are getting their wish to be forever separated from any and all presence of God, not being able to understand what the Bible is saying - 1st Corinthians 2:14. On this atheist blog some goof said that there is no indication, anywhere in the Bible that we can have a personal relationship with Jesus, who is Creator God or that we can have continuous communication with Him. Specifically, the writer said, “[Rick] Warren’s carrying on a continual conversation with Jesus seems ridiculous in light of scripture. The Bible does not even say anything remotely like what Warren claims, yet he sums up Christian worship as having this very relationship (which is notably absent from the Bible)!”
What then, I would ask, does this ignorant atheist think prayer is? One reason, among several, that we are told to talk to our Lord and Saviour is because upon salvation, we in fact do have a personal relationship with Jesus. In fact, in 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18, we are told that we should “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” Who does this foolish atheist think that we are praying to if not Jesus? What are we giving thanks for if not the constant, personal presence of Jesus in all things that take place in our lives? In the same book 2:13, Paul says, “We also thank God continually . . .” In 1:2,3 - “We always thank God for all of you mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember [you] before our God and Father.” Romans 1:9,10 - “God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times.” Ephesians 6:18 - “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Colossians 1:3 - “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ when we pray for you.” 2nd Timothy 1:3 - “I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.” There is no need to quote further to make the point that Jesus expects from us continuous interaction precisely because we are in an intimate, personal relationship with Him. To not do so would be like spending the entire day with a husband or wife that we claim to love and either through neglect or otherwise not say one word to that person all day.
Reality is, Jesus spent a great deal of time teaching his followers exactly how to have a personal relationship with Him after he finished His time on earth and returned to heaven. Among His “earthy” examples, Jesus admonished His followers to not just ask for what they needed, but to be persistent in asking, to be continuous in prayer. The type of prayer in which we are instructed is communicating with Jesus with the expectation that a good friend, a personal friend will deliver to us good and not evil.
Having said that, how can we call our relationship with Him who came to earth to save us from eternal damnation a personal relationship? Well, first of all John 6:44 tells us that this salvation, this relationship, this adoption into the family of God is by personal invitation only. Romans 8:29 tells us that “those God foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the character of His Son Jesus the Christ.” Jesus said to Peter as He says to every Christian since then, “Come, follow Me,” - Matthew 4:19. Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5 that the kingdom of heaven, His kingdom would only be given to certain individuals, again those of His choosing. For example the kingdom of heaven is open to the humble, the meek, and the lowly. The kingdom of heaven is available to those who possess characteristics that are totally the opposite to the writer of this atheist blog. Jesus said that those who mourn will be comforted, not by just anyone but by Jesus himself. Jesus will show mercy to His own people. God will show Himself to those who have come into His presence to learn purity of heart. God will adopt into his own family and Jesus will recognise as His own brothers and sisters those who seek peace for His glory. Again, this is only for those in a personal relationship with Jesus. For those who are not in this relationship, even if they specialise in religious activities, Jesus will say to them, “Get away from Me - I never knew you,” Matthew 7:21-23.
As a born again Christian, Creator God says that He is my heavenly Father. This is a personal relationship even closer than the one that I’ve had with my earthly father. My relationship with Jesus is so intimate and so personal the He has given me detailed information on how to have the best life possible. Not only that but He personally strengthens me, guides me, counsels me, and corrects me. He has personally promised me that He will never leave me or give up on me. Of course He has sealed that promise with the most secure seal possible, His very own blood. Imagine! This relationship is so close, so personal that this Jesus, the best friend that I’ll ever have gave His life for me, and has ensured that He is with me every second of every day by indwelling me with His Spirit. Jesus, who is a Christian’s personal friend, has assured us that if we put our relationship with Him first, if we put it before any other personal relationship that we may have here on earth, if we make our relationship with Him the most important thing in our lives, then never again will we have to worry about our basic needs. That is not a promise that’s made to just anyone. It’s made to those who are in a personal, saving, intimate, healed, forgiven relationship with Jesus the Christ - Matthew 6:25-34.
Even though I used to treat Jesus shamefully, He has forgiven my sins and then He said, “Come to Me anytime that you’re tired, drained, worn down with cares and I will bring rest to your soul - Matthew 11:28-29. This is not something that He says to just anyone. This is an invitation to those of His personal choice. In fact, Jesus says to those who have a personal relationship with Him, “I will personally introduce you to heaven in the presence of the Creator of the universe, Matthew 10:32
We as Christians have such a close and personal relationship with Jesus, that He says that when someone welcomes a Christian because they are a Christian, it’s the same as if that person was welcoming Jesus Himself - Matthew 10:40.
These are the kind of things that Jesus is glad to reveal to those who have a personal relationship with Him and He’s just as pleased to hide this information from those who don’t have a personal relationship with Him -Matthew 11:25.
Now some would say that the word “relationship” only applies to kin or to a family relationship. That may be. That is why, when Jesus was told that His mother and siblings had come to see Him, He pointed to all His followers who were in the house listening to Him teach and replied, "Every single one of you are my mother and brothers and sisters" - Matthew 12:40. When Jesus taught, He used parables. In fact He never taught without using parables. The parables were in many cases difficult to understand, as our 21st century atheist blogger has shown. Jesus was questioned as to why He didn’t use an easier form of teaching. He said, and again this applies to our arrogant atheist blogger, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; otherwise they might see and hear and understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your [my personally chosen followers] eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear [and you do understand] - Matthew 13:14-16.
At one point Jesus compared those who are invited into His kingdom to someone who sells everything that he has so that he can purchase something of great value. Upon completing the purchase, the valuable object is now owned. It’s his. It’s something that this person possesses. Jesus is the kingdom. He is the thing of great value. When we give up everything else in order to have a personal relationship with Him, He becomes ours and we become His. We have obtained a personal relationship with the Creator of the cosmos.
The relationship that we can have with Jesus is so personal, that He promises to reward any and every effort that we make to become closer to Him - Matthew 19:28,29. Jesus explained that the whole reason that He came to earth in the first place was so that He could serve us and to give His very life for us - Matthew 20:28. Jesus came to earth to ensure that our relationship with the Creator of the universe could be close and personal. Jesus emphasised over and over that a relationship with Him could be built on nothing less than a personal, open, humble, honest give and take interaction. Unlike the world in which we live and the surface relationships that are built on looks, and money and what can you do for me, Jesus said that our relationship with Him would be based on Jesus and us serving and caring about each other. That is why He was able to say that prostitutes and thieves who had thrown in their lot with Him were entering heaven before those who were trying to get in based on looking good to the outside world.
The greatest commandment, according to Jesus is for us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. On nothing less can a truly personal and close relationship be built - Matthew 22:37. This command of course did not originate with Jesus’ earthly ministry. In fact, the origins of a personal God go back to before time itself. We live in a Trinitarian universe. This reality is THE reality from which all other realities find their source. Three Beings in perfect unity, harmony, and relationship; personal relationship.
Colossians 1:16-18 tells us “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Some people, at this point in history are trying to figure out if our universe is held together with supersymmetrical vibrating strings or loops of gravitation force. Whether or not these theories prove viable or if even smaller particles are discovered at some point in the future, no thesis of who we are and what we are here for will make sense or prove accurate until we accept that a personal God created our universe and created our world in order to have a personal relationship with us. This was not because of who we are but because of who He is. From the very beginning, Creator God desired to dwell with His people.
Genesis 3:8 tells us, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” God had a personal relationship with Adam and Eve.
Exodus 29:44-46 tells us that God chose to dwell in a tent in order to be with His people in the desert. God had a personal relationship with the people of the Exodus.
In the New Testament we are told in detail about God coming to earth in the person of Jesus who took on human form, in part, to understand perfectly what it was like to be us. No greater personal relationship has ever been formed.
And finally, after Jesus’ resurrection, Christians themselves have become the dwelling place for the very Spirit of Creator God, Ephesians 2:19-22.
To suggest that we do not nor cannot have a personal relationship with Jesus, to suggest that we do not nor cannot have personal intimate continuous communication with Jesus, to suggest that “carrying on a continual conversation with Jesus seems ridiculous in light of scripture” and that “The Bible does not even say anything remotely like that,” is beyond the pale stupidity. Creator God is, among other things omnipresent. All of His traits, powers and characteristics are everywhere in full force. When I talk to God, I am the only person that He is listening to. Just as my wife, or Christian friends or you are the only person that He is listening to when you pray. I am the only person upon whom God is lavishing His care and attention. Just as my wife or Christian friends or you are the only person upon whom God is lavishing His full care and attention. Our God is an awesome God, a personal God, a loving God who desires personal relationship with His creation.
This of course could turn into an unbearably long Post, but that Jesus is a personal friend to those who have committed their lives to Him, that we as Christians can and do have immediate, intimate communication with Him is beyond dispute.
What I encountered a few days ago was just more atheist nonsense.