Personal Relationship?

This term never appears in the bible – in fact – it’s not even a term in antiquity…yet it is used widely in Evangelical circles about one’s relations to God.

I’ll be the first to admit there are personal aspects to faith in God. It’s something that only we can truly know how it effects us and persuades us in our choices. Prayer is quite personal (IMO). Faith does have an aspect of it being something quite personal that another person cannot truly connect with. 

However, I do not think what is happening in our Christian walk is actually a personal relationship.  I am not saying we don’t relate to God in some abstract way – we do – but do we even understand it?  It’s not like God is speaking to us directly, shaking our hands when we leave prayer, or coming over for a slice of pie that we made. There is no real relationship going on in some ways. Yet in other ways, there is (sometimes this thinking on God reveals something deep to us). But these relationships are nothing quite like those we have with our family or children. Maybe it’s not meant to be?

I actually don’t think there is a good term to explain what happens between someone and God – it’s unique. I do know that labelling it ‘personal relationship’ makes it sound a lot more intimate than what is really going on. Most people pray, read their bible incessantly, attend church, and give to God’s house to maybe hear from God 1 to 2 times in their entire lives. It’s not as intimate as we would like to think. There’s still something great about it – just not as close as is made seem.

I think Abraham was called the ‘friend of God’…that’s more along the lines of how I would explain it.

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6 thoughts on “Personal Relationship?

  1. In such a state the God of both religious and theological language disappears. But something remains, namely, the seriousness of that doubt in which meaning within meaninglessness is affirmed. The source of this affirmation of meaning within meaninglessness, of certitude within doubt, is not the God of traditional theism but the “God above God,” the power of being, which works through those who have no name for it, not even the name God.
    – Tillich , Systematic Theology Vol. 2 , p.12

    I be concurring in part. The term “personal relationship” does fall way short of what we talk about when we talk about the God revealed in and through Jesus Christ. We can personally relate to God yet God is more than just us. I be spy’n Luke’s point about Christus Victor when he states that he does not like the hymns that feature “Jesus saving ME.” God in Jesus didn’t have you in mind when he died on the cross, he had US in mind, the whole wide world. God is bigger than what we can understand. Yar!

  2. “I actually don’t think there is a good term to explain what happens between someone and God – it’s unique.”

    I think that this is accurate as we can get.

  3. We know when people pray (Hindus, Muslims, Christians and all) that the fMRI show the brain acting just like when we talk. (albeit to ourselves). So that is why it feels personal.
    I think you are right — there is no personal relationship in any normal sense of the word. But that people perceive such and cont. to talk like that shows much of the illusory nature of the religious experience.

    My daughter talks to her imaginary friend and dolls. She has a very personal relationship with them. It is unique. It is beyond words ! It is imaginary.

  4. “But these relationships are nothing quite like those we have with our family or children. Maybe it’s not meant to be?”

    There are big differences. I consider myself a “child of God”. Now, I think of my “Father in Heaven” in a much different way than I think of my real Dad (dear old Dad died a couple of years ago, but you can see the idea). But I do consider it a personal relationship with God. In the most personal ways possible, except I guess an actual hug (actually there are a couple times I could have swore I felt His arms around me, hehe). But there is, or at least can be, so much to a relationship with God (IMO).

    God’s relationship can make all the other relationships better, though. It is not like our “real family” takes a drop in value. I think rather, they are lifted up.

  5. “It is not like our “real family” takes a drop in value. I think rather, they are lifted up.” (Ken)

    Good to see you around, you just disappeared for a while there.

    I agree, I think the relationship w/God should make one’s ‘whole’ life better – which includes immediate family.

    However, I would still contend my personal relationships w/people around me are closer than the one I have with God. My wife for example is there all the time – and even gives hugs. I can call and and talk with my friends or family and get the straight scoop on something happening. I am not sure a relationship with God functions on that strata.

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