E28: Pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus
PODCAST: Do you want an intimate, deep, personal relationship with Jesus?
Take a moment to think about what kind of relationship you have with Jesus. Now think about what kind of relationship you want to have with Jesus. Is it possible that this relationship can deepen? Join Milenko and Eunice this week as they explore what it means to have an ever-deepening personal relationship with Jesus.
Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 28: Pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus
This is ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we explore different aspects of the gospel according to the Bible, and how we can put this into practice in daily life.
Eunice: Welcome to episode 28 of “Living the Gospel”; I’m Eunice and I’m sitting here with Milenko.
Milenko: Hi Eunice and hi everyone! Thanks for listening.
Eunice: So, Milenko, you’ve been a Christian probably all your life …
Milenko: Basically, yeah.
Eunice: I have a question for you. What do you think is the most exciting part of being a Christian?
Milenko: For me, it’s always been, I do get this excitement when I’m reading the word and you see that the whole word fits together like a jigsaw puzzle, everything, whoever has written it, it fits in. If it’s Paul, or if it’s Peter, or if it’s an Old Testament prophet, the gospel is a whole and every bit of it makes sense for me. You can always use it in your daily life and it really works. I think that’s really exciting because that’s for me a real … I get this feeling that God is near and He’s interested in me, He’s actually planned my life, He’s given me His word, and it works for me, it works for everyone else, and it works in every situation, anywhere, anytime for anyone. I think that’s really exciting.
Eunice: And it’s also something that is dynamic, it’s always progressing, changing. Your relationship with Jesus for example.
Milenko: Yeah, and that’s the whole thing too, that when you read in God’s word, you can read about Jesus and it’s just … He is so familiar! It’s not something that’s distant or … it’s really something that matches my life, that I can feel, and that’s really how I have it, that I have a relationship with Him.
Eunice: So, we thought today that we’ll do an episode on pursuing a deeper relationship with Jesus. I think all of us have that desire in our hearts to think, as Christians, that we want to get to know Jesus better, and this episode is for all of us who want that relationship. Maybe we feel that we don’t have that, or we might have had this relationship for a while with Jesus, but what’s important is that it’s dynamic, like what we said. That it can grow.
Milenko: That’s actually what Christianity is all about, isn’t it? It is a relationship to Jesus, our Lord and Master, our friend, our brother; it’s a practical life with Jesus – That’s what Christianity is – a relationship with Jesus.
Eunice: So, today we have an article by Vern Nicolette: “How can I have a deeper relationship with Jesus?” And we’ll hear that now, first.
(Click to read:)
How can I have a deeper relationship with Jesus?
Eunice: There’s so much in this article about what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus. It was really inspiring to listen to, actually.
Milenko: I think it was a really clear and good article.
Eunice: So, how did it actually begin for you, Milenko? How did you begin this personal relationship with Jesus?
Milenko: Well, there’s different stages, but definitely when I was a little boy, I was three years old maybe, and I remember my parents telling me Bible stories, telling me about David, King David, and how He loved God. Then I remember my mum telling me about Jesus, and that I could go to Jesus anytime. You know, I was afraid of the dark, and I’d call my mum and she’d say, “Well, you can talk to Jesus, He’ll help you; He’s your friend, He’s here with you!” And that for me … I felt this huge comfort. That stayed with me all my life, really, that relationship as a friend, One who cares for me. And of course, as you get older, that relationship becomes different. You begin to see firstly what He’s done for you, and then what that means for me and what I can … how I can follow Him, and so on. It started off as this child-like relationship, full trust and so on and then it developed into something much, much deeper.
Eunice: I think sometimes, you know, we have that relationship, like you said, this child-like relationship with Jesus when we’re children, but as we grow older, especially in the teenage years, we start, you know, being awake to, for example, our lusts. And we sometimes feel like Jesus is against us when we are in that stage when you feel the lusts raging, and you feel like you’ve done and given in to so many temptations. Is Jesus still there at that point?
Milenko: Yeah, you can feel He’s against you, and you can also feel in this way, that I’ve really disappointed Him. I had it like that, I felt like He was always there, He’d never changed, but I was the one who was letting Him down. And then you feel, “OK, well, maybe I’m not worthy of this,” or, “Maybe He’s not interested anymore.” You sort of get that feeling that there is a distance. And then for me, it was a real eye-opener – something we’ve always heard, something we’ve always known as Christians, but to get this as an understanding – the reason Jesus came to earth was because of me, because I was suffering, because I was unable to come free from sin. That’s the reason He came! He came to set me free from sin, and there wasn’t a sin that He didn’t die for. So, He loves me through all of this! That’s the purpose of me being a Christian, is that because I have this nature and because I’ve given in, I need to be set free, and He’s the one who did it. So for me, that was actually an eye-opener as time went by, that, OK … yes, OK, I’ve done things that probably did disappoint Him, but that’s why He was there and He was willing to help me; He wanted to help me. And that, for me … Then I had to humble myself and go ask for help. And then I got help.
Eunice: Despite all feelings, despite the guilt we may feel, we have to first believe that Jesus isn’t angry with us and He wants to help us.
Eunice: And we have to have faith that He will also forgive us when we come to Him with our sins, exactly how we are, right?
Milenko: Absolutely. That’s the whole point. That’s what He wants too! He wants to have that relationship with us. Jesus wants a relationship with us! It’s not one way, either way; it’s really the two of us having a relationship.
Eunice: Would you say that’s the beginning and that’s how I could start my relationship with Him, by first going to Him exactly how I am?
Eunice: And then as time goes on, He starts to show us more. It says in the article that Jesus wants to reveal Himself to me. What is it actually that He’s wanting to reveal? Is He revealing revelations in the word?
Milenko: That was one thing, that I got that revelation personally – I’m talking about my personal life now – how He actually died for me. He did this for my sake; He did this for the whole world. But then, there is something more: He didn’t only die; He lived the life. And why did He live that life? And then you begin to realize, He left me footsteps. That what’s Peter writes about, that He left us an example that we may follow Him. Then he says, “Who did no sin,” and so on. So, it’s really… You begin to see that Jesus is our Master, He’s our leader, He’s …
Eunice: Forerunner …
Milenko: Our forerunner. That’s part of that relationship is that I’ve got someone to look up to that I can follow, and He’s there and He’s helping me, saying, “Come on! Come on! I’ll show you the way!” Which He does, of course, by giving me His Holy Spirit, and then He can speak to me and show me in my situations how He would have taken it.
Eunice: I think for me, the first time I really actually started to understand that I could communicate with Jesus where I also can hear from Him, I think I was in my teens and I remember just deciding that everyday I’m going to wake up, and I’m going to pray and say, “Here I am to do Your will,” like we hear Jesus did in His days on earth. I remember I prayed every day – I still do today: “Don’t let me do my will; I want to do Your will.” And then as time went by, I actually started to … I started to hear His voice, I started to hear, like you said, the Holy Spirit speaking to me, and then I started to understand what His will is. Because, I think often when we read the Bible, we understand the words but it’s not always we understand how that applies to my life, but the Holy Spirit can show us.
Milenko: Right, and that’s the point, that the Holy Spirit can show us because Jesus did it and that’s what He can show me. And I think we heard from the article that it’s … we can come to Jesus as a friend, but more than that, He’s not just you know, a buddy you can say, He’s not just, you know, someone who pats me on the back and says, “It’s alright!” But He’s someone whom I can go to, who understands, who’s actually gone through these things and came out victorious, came out a conqueror, came out with an unblemished spirit and He can show me what to do. So, He can comfort me as well. Yes, this is hard; you will have these hard feelings, you will have these situations, it’s not always easy, but it’s possible. Then I get shown the way. I think then, you come into this deeper relationship, and He tells you what to do and then He says, “If you love me, you keep my commandments.” And then – what did it say? “Then I will come to dwell with you; My Father will come to dwell with you.” They come and become part of our life.
Eunice: Make their home with us.
Milenko: They make their home with us. We begin to get that deeper, more intimate relationship when we keep His commandments, because that’s His will, then we come into His whole way of thinking and it becomes His life.
Eunice: So, making their home with us is kind of like They are there to stay, in a way.
Milenko: They’re there to stay. Isn’t that amazing? It’s not just, I pray to Him in the evenings and then He opens the window and says, “Yes, what do you want now?” But it’s all day, every day, He’s there.
Eunice: And He is there in our spirit, would you say? Speaking to us in our spirit?
Milenko: Yes, we heard that from the article that He is there in our hearts, in our affections and how we want to serve Him. And then it comes into our mind, that we get … we think about it consciously, it comes to mind, He reminds us. But then also in our spirit, and being in the spirit, our relationship in the spirit, that’s really, really deep. Then you have contact with Him. The innermost longings that you have, your needs that you may not even be able to express with words, you can have contact with Him there. He comes to you and He comforts you, and He speaks to you and encourages you in your spirit even if your feelings are down, even if the situation can seem really dark, in your spirit, you’re feeling this closeness to Jesus.
Eunice: You’re strengthened.
Milenko: That strength, that deep relationship to Jesus that we can come to.
I was also thinking that there’s actually different levels of relationship. When you read this, and read in the Bible, you see that there is the one of Him being a friend; that’s what I experienced right from childhood and feel to this day. There is also more like a working relationship, you can call it – Him as Master, me as disciple.
Milenko: Learning! And He’s my forerunner and so on; He’s someone that I look up to, who shows me, gives me things to do. I have to obey His commandments and then it goes well with me. And then comes the most, what I think … When you were talking about what’s exciting about Christianity, I think this one verse Hebrews 2, it’s probably one of the most exciting verses … Let’s have a look at it. It says here in Hebrews 2:11, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one …” That means they come from the one Father, both Jesus and us. “… for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” And I think that’s a really exciting verse. That Jesus is not ashamed to call us brethren. In fact, He is proud of it. He is our brother! Then you come to that really deep, intimate relationship with Him. That we become, as it’s written, fellow heirs with Christ. He wants to share things with us; He wants to share everything with us. He wants to give us eternal life. And you’ve come through all that, you come to that relationship when you go the same way as Him and you show through your deeds this is what I want. Then He comes to dwell with us. That make sense, right? When we’re brothers, that we live together under the same roof. When we keep His commandments then He comes to us, and we become family.
Eunice: And it doesn’t mean, also, that I have to be perfect like Jesus for Him to be my brother, right?
Milenko: No, absolutely not! And that’s the point. He’s my big brother, He’s my forerunner, He’s the one who goes ahead, He shows me what to do and He also helps me when I make mistakes and He can forgive me. And that’s also part of that relationship. But the more that happens, the more I get this longing not to hurt Him and to be worthy of that relationship, that He really isn’t ashamed to call me His brother. Then I do what I can and I obey Him, and He gives me the strength and it becomes better and better, and deeper and deeper. And it’s written in 1 John there, that we shall … we don’t know yet what we shall be, but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him and we shall see Him as He is. That’s the goal, that we really come to the point that we can be like Him, and that we shall see Him as He is. I’m looking forward to that day.
Eunice: That really lifts daily life up to, in a way, a higher plane, that you think about that, “I am called to be an heir with Jesus.” Like, on the same level, in a way, as Him. And it also says, doesn’t it also say in Hebrews 2 that “I will declare my brethren to you?” He will declare us to God, and that He will be proud of it.
Milenko: Exactly! Yeah, think of that! So, that’s something quite different from what we were talking about in the beginning, that you feel like, “Oh, I’m not worthy of Jesus,” or, “Oh, He’s turned His back on me because I’m too bad,” and so on. It’s the opposite! That’s what He wants; He wants to come to that where He can show me to God, “This is My brother; I’m proud of him!” And it starts with that forgiveness, it starts that He died for me to get that. He died to get brothers! Now, it’s my job to really be worthy of that.
Eunice: It’s possible for everybody! So, I think we’ll end there, hope that this has given, me at least, a lot to think about in daily life, that Jesus is my brother and that I want to live worthy of being Jesus’ brother – or sister.
Milenko: Right, exactly, that’s the thing. It’s for everybody who wants to.
But if this episode has been inspiring and helpful, which we really hope it has, you can help us to share it with more people who will benefit from it.
Eunice: There are a few ways you can share. You can talk about our podcast; you can maybe show some of your friends how to find the podcast. You can even share a link on Spotify to your friend groups, and help us to spread the word!
Milenko: So, thanks to all of our thousands of listeners. We really appreciate that you join us every week. We hope you continue to do so, and as we said, spread the word!
Eunice: Have an awesome week! See you!
Milenko: Bye everyone!