Quality Time With Jesus

What does it mean to “Spend time with Jesus”? You may have heard that phrase before, and wondered the same thing. After all, Jesus is up in Heaven, seated at the right hand of God the Father, according to Colossians 3:1, and many other verses.

Of-course we also know that God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). How does this inform us regarding our time with Him?
Many times, I have heard people say that spending time with Jesus is engaging in religious activity, such as attending church services, or Christian conferences; completing reading plans, or any of the other things that we generally consider to be religious behaviors.

In this study today, I would like to share with you a different perspective… one that may be a bit uncomfortable at first, and may require you to take a step back from the common idea of what spending time with Jesus is, and see it in a different light – a light not based on a religious checklist, but instead based on relationship, with a God who gave everything to restore you.

Your Union With Christ

In many Christian circles there is talk about the relationship with Christ, we hear about that quite often in-fact, and I have mentioned it many times in these studies as well. However it has come to my attention that there is actually some misunderstanding regarding what this phrase means. In some ways we have turned this simple phrase into something mystical, magical or difficult to comprehend, when in-fact it is so simple.

As a result of this confusion, what actually is very simple and straightforward, now seems out of reach to many people. I have spoken with many Christians who are chasing after this unicorn of “relationship with Christ”, when it actually has already been given. And as such, believers are left dazed, confused and wondering when it will be completed, never realizing that the work was completed long ago.

This is what I want to share with you today – the truth about your union with Christ.

Psalms 91, in the Light of Jesus Christ (part 3)

Psalms 91 is one of the greatest Psalms for those who believe on Jesus Christ, because it is a detailed list showing us all of the many ways in which God demonstrates His love for us – and what the finished work of Christ has given to us, even in this life.

In Part 1 of our study, we looked at the foundation: our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our connection to Him, our oneness with Him – as mentioned in verse 1.
In Part 2 last week, we looked at the many gifts and blessings that are included in that relationship in verses 2 through 14.

Now today, in this third and final part of our study on Psalms 91, we conclude by completing the circle, as this all returns once again to our relationship with Jesus Christ, our personal connection with Him, as we see the final blessings and marvelous promises for us, found in the final verses of the chapter, verses 15 and 16.

Psalms 91, in the Light of Jesus Christ (part 1)

Psalms 91 is one of the more well-known Psalms in the Bible… or I should say it has a well-known reputation. It is often thought of as a “Messianic” psalm, meaning that it applies to Jesus Christ Himself, and there is certainly that aspect to it. However, I believe that there is another layer to this Psalm; a layer that is in the text that has largely been forgotten in Christian circles today.

This layer, as you may have guessed from the title of today’s study, has to do with our position in Christ Jesus today, and the many blessing that come with that. There is an entire treasure-trove of blessings here that have for the most part, been left unclaimed, for no other reason than no-one is being told about them! An issue that I am going to solve today in this study.

Enjoying the Relationship With God

When you hear the phrase “relationship with God”, what comes to your mind? Modern Christianity has latched onto this phrase as the cool thing to say, the trending topic if you will… but what does it mean exactly? How does a person go about having a relationship with God? What does that look like and how does that work?
I have encountered people who use that term “relationship with God”, and I have asked them, “so tell me about that relationship…” and they typically adopt a blank expression on their faces, like a deer in headlights, because they had honestly never thought about what it means themselves. Others have reverted to the typical “well, I read my Bible every day and attend church regularly.”

It’s not surprising really, because Christianity today has largely replaced a genuine relationship with God, for little more than typically Christian duties. Going to church, regular Bible reading, giving some percentage of income. And as long we check-off those boxes every week, we feel as though we have done something worthwhile… we are a “good Christian”. And let me tell you, I am not pointing any fingers here, because I was the exact same way, with the very same mentality. Until one day, when I realized that even though I was checking every single one of those boxes, I was still dead inside – there was no relationship with God at all. I had substituted a real relationship with a real and personal God, for a pseudo relationship fabricated by works and services. I didn’t know any better because no-one ever told me any different. But inside, God was calling…

What I want to share with you today, is how to have and enjoy a real and genuine relationship with a real and personal God. It is possible to have, and it’s what He actually wants. It’s what Jesus actually came to restore, but most people have been shoehorned onto the treadmill of mere Christian religion instead of true relationship… and they feel the same emptiness that I did, but because of fear, and peer-pressure from those around them, and the burden of all the things that we feel we must do each week, all these things combine to make it very difficult to pull out of the trap of “religious life” and the autopilot of the day, and take a step back to honestly ask the question: do I even really know who God is? Have we even spoken recently? I had to ask myself those questions… and I had to honestly answer “no” to both of them before I woke up and decided that what I was doing wasn’t worth my time anymore. I wanted a genuine relationship with God, and all of the other religious stuff, was just getting in the way. So today, if what I am describing sounds familiar to you, this study will set you free from that today.

The Essence of the Gospel and Love

At first, the title of today’s study might seem a bit disjointed, the essence of the Gospel and love. You might wonder if it wouldn’t be better to split these into two separate studies. Well, I thought about it, but the more that I explored each, I came to realize that the two cannot truly be separated; they are integral to one another. Without Love, there is no Gospel, and without the Gospel there is no Love. A surprising number of people today do not understand the basic foundation, the basic central core and essence of the Gospel message… all they really know, is that this guy Jesus, at some place and some time, died by crucifixion, and that for some reason He did it for them. (They may also include that He died for their sins).

What I have found is that for most people, these have become empty statements, lacking substance, lacking the essence of God’s Love and their personal identity in Christ. It’s one thing to say with your mouth that Jesus died for your sins – but it’s quite another to apply that reality to your life and to live from that place every single day. To take the fact that Christ has made you a completely new creation, and to apply it personally, and to make that identity completely yours, is the true essence of the Gospel. A fact that has been largely watered-down and even lost in many Christian circles today.

Eternal Life, A Relationship With Jesus

When we hear the words “eternal life” many images and ideas come to mind. For most, it conjures a moment in time when one prayed a payer to go to heaven, that is what is generally believed because that is the idea that is most often taught in churches all across the world. They say “if you are unsure of your destination when you die, simply pray this prayer and you can go to heaven.” Simply pray the sinners prayer, or invite Jesus into your heart, are all common Christian lingo, for what amounts to basically nothing more than spiritual fire-insurance.

It’s no surprise then that people see God as distant and impersonal – just a being up in heaven, with no real interest in their day-to-day lives. They don’t know Him, because honestly, they have never been introduced! The finished work of Christ has been reduced to a cold, emotionless contract.

The scriptures however paint a very different view of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus for you; as well as eternal life. In truth they are much more than the way in which they have been presented. And this is what we will be studying today.

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

One of the mot famous children’s songs sung in churches and Christian households is “Jesus Loves Me”. It was one of the first (if not the first) songs I ever learned, and even the melody is instantly recognizable to most people. The lyrics of the song are simple, yet profound… they are as follows:

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

Of course there are additional verses, and some modifications to the main song in certain regions, but even so, this song had “gone around the world”, with millions upon millions of people singing it. Today, I would like us to examine this song, as the Holy Spirit reveals the truths of Jesus, hidden in what appears to be a simple children’s song.

Understanding Your Relationship

I used to think that being a believer meant regular church attendance, remembering and reciting Bible verses, and obedience to the Law. I tried my best to do all of those things, and indeed I felt “religious”, I felt like I was part of “the club”, but inside I was still just as empty, just as hurting and just as dead as I was before… only now there was a layer of religiosity covering the vacuum on the inside of me like a bandage.

Since then, there has been a Christian slogan going around that has become rather popular: Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship. You may have heard that slogan before – it is catchy, and it is absolutely true; no question about it. But do we really understand it? I know that I didn’t when I first heard it. Sure, I acknowledged that Christianity was a relationship; it was a clever thing to say, but deep down nothing really changed – I was still completely dominated by traditions, still bound by rules and religion and letting those be a poor substitute for a genuine relationship with God… and I was still just as empty, just as hurt and just as dead as before.

Living Through the Relationship

Most of us have heard the phrase before that “Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship”. It has become a somewhat cliché catch-phrase, or something clever and witty to say. Many people say it, many people hear it, and nod in agreement,, but their relationship is really empty on the inside of them; and I am speaking of believers when I say that. And please understand that I am not saying that in a judgmental way and certainly not in a condemning way. I am going to be completely open and honest right up-front that my intention today in this study is to encourage you in your personal relationship with Jesus and how to live every day through that relationship, because really that’s the only way to live.

I have encountered a vast number of people in my time, who will readily claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus because it is expected of them to say that. It’s the “proper Christian response” but inside they are desperately hurting and empty and their spirit is starving because they honestly don’t know how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. So, these people walk around empty, but too afraid of the ridicule of those around them to actually admit that they don’t understand, and suffer in ignorance. In many churches today, Jesus has been reduced to nothing more than a Fire Net that saves you from going to hell when you die and that is it. Yet He is so very much more, and He came to give you much more as well. He’s didn’t come to just be merely a Fire Net, He came to give you Himself, and to enable you to live through Him, and this personal relationship is what we will be studying today.