In Part 1 of “In a Relationship with Jesus” we discussed how our relationship with Our Lord begins. It begins with faith, humility, repentance and trust in God’s love and power. In this reflection let’s look more deeply at the instructions of Jesus as we consider are we truly living in an intimate relationship with Jesus.
Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He gave His apostles these instructions:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Baptism marks the official beginning of our relationship with Jesus. We receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism and become followers of Christ. When we are Baptized as children our parents promise to teach us how to follow Jesus as loving children of God.
Jesus commands us to LOVE ONE ANOTHER:
Jesus says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13: 34-35
Jesus’ commandment to love encompasses all people, not just those we ‘like’.
Jesus says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” Luke 6:32
Jesus commands us to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Now the instructions ‘be perfect’ sound impossible for human beings and Jesus reminds us of this:
“What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27
THIS IS KEY!
A relationship with Jesus involves us walking with Jesus moment by moment, heart-to-heart, so that His love and His grace can enable us to discern and act in accordance to the Will of God, thereby living in perfect harmony with God and man.
The type of perfection Jesus is calling us to is a ‘quest’ or a ‘journey’ such that we are continuously communing with God, discerning ‘what would Jesus want me to do in this circumstance’.
This is the life of grace, living with Our Lord Jesus persistently day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute.
Recall Jesus said,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:5-7
The vine and the branch must remain CONNECTED for the branch to succeed in bearing fruit.
The Words of Jesus as spoken in The Bible must be OUR GUIDING FORCE!
PRAYER IS OUR CONNECTION! LOVE IS OUR CONNECTION!
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
JESUS DESIRES WORSHIP AND PRAISE
We must receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist with reverence and understanding that He is truly present to us. Recall the words of St. Paul “For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” 1 Corinthians 11:29
JESUS WANTS TO HELP US BE SUCCESSFUL
There is no human being in the world that does not want to prosper and be successful.
God has plans for each and every one of us: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
The reason there is so much turmoil in our world is that too few people are truly living in an intimate relationship with Jesus.
The world teaches people to trust in themselves but God desires that our trust be in Him. People put too much trust in the power of money but Jesus teaches us “You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13
The success of any relationship is dependent on trust. If we want to be in an intimate relationship with Jesus then we must put all our trust in Him!
Fidelity or obedience to God is the successful outcome of a relationship with Jesus.
There will be times when we may feel tempted to take a decision that is contrary to the Holy Will of God and it is in those times when we must ask ourselves ‘how much do we love Jesus’.
What I have discovered over the course of the last nineteen years journeying with Jesus is this:
TEMPTATION IS CONQUERED BY HOLY DESIRE!
The more I get to know Jesus, the more I love Him and the more I love Him the more I want to be faithful to Him. I know I cannot be ‘holy on my own’ but by drawing continuously close to Jesus, His holiness can silence the voice of temptation and keep me from falling and sinning.
An intimate, faithful relationship with Jesus is marked by an ongoing commitment to three things: LOVE, MERCY AND JUSTICE.
Love is manifested as we strive to love one another and help Jesus to save souls.
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
God’s love conquers evil. As we pray for the enemies of God we are praying for those in Satan’s grip – murders and criminals of all sorts.
Do you recall when the apostles were trying to drive out a demon and they could not succeed?
“The disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” “Because you have so little faith.” He answered. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:19-21
Here again we see the importance of our faith in God. To succeed in fulfilling the plans God has for us, we must believe that for God all things are possible. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23
If we want to silence the power of the evil one (Satan) over us and over so many people then we must commit to both prayer and sacrifice.
Jesus sacrificed everything for us and when we ‘fast’ or ‘make sacrifices’ for God by renouncing certain things or experiences, we communicate our love to God in a tangible way.
When we ‘fast’ or ‘deny ourselves’ God rewards us and indulges us with His grace, answering our prayers if they are in accordance with His Holy Will.
The power of the evil one (Satan) in our world grows when people turn away from God, but evil can be silenced when we choose to devote our lives to the glory of God. That’s what an intimate relationship with Jesus is all about, giving glory to God, honouring Him, serving Him as we strive to love and serve one another.
CHARITY, COMPASSION, MERCY they are the way we prove to Jesus that we are truly His disciples.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
Everyone that wants to belong to God must seek forgiveness.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
Jesus says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37
Jesus wants to forgive us and He wants us to forgive one another.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7
Jesus also desires that we stand up for JUSTICE IN OUR WORLD.
Those that do not want to protect the life of the unborn child fail to understand God’s will.
Jesus calls out hypocrites. There are people in our world who are ‘false religious leaders’.
Jesus says, “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.'” Matthew 15:8-9
Jesus treated men and women as equals. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
In Jesus there is NO room for any form of discrimination be it gender discrimination or discrimination based on race, religion, ethnicity etc.
We prove that we are children of God and disciples of Jesus as we love and forgive one another, as we stand for justice and an end to discrimination and violence.
An intimate relationship with Jesus requires PURITY.
Love and lust are not the same thing. Love is born of God and it is selfless but lust is born of the flesh (or the devil) and it is selfish.
Pornography, promiscuity and casual sexual encounters are all the work of the devil tempting human beings to sin.
Jesus desires purity but Satan desires impurity.
Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
Let’s pray to Jesus for His grace to conquer our lust, our selfishness, our pride and all forms of sinfulness.
Jesus is God!
Jesus is OMNIPOTENT – ALL POWERFUL!
Jesus is OMNISCIENT – ALL KNOWING!
Jesus is OMNIPRESENT – ALWAYS WITH US!
JESUS IS THE GATEWAY TO HEAVEN!
Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR US IN PARADISE!
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:2-3
Jesus wants an intimate, faithful relationship with YOU!
I have discovered the great love of Jesus by meditating every day on the Passion of Christ. Every day at the Time Our Lord Jesus died for us, 3pm, I take a walk to Calvary to remember how much Jesus suffered to save us and reconcile us to God The Father. As I witness in my contemplation the brutality of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus, I feel my heart transformed as I grieve my sins and rejoice in Jesus’ infinite love. The memory of the Passion of Christ places a ‘wound’ upon my heart that keeps me faithful and close to Jesus as I live my life with Him and through Him.
I invite you to join A Peaceful Revolution in the Name of Jesus Christ that is uniting the Body of Christ in a historic, unprecedented global peace movement that is bringing followers of Christ to Calvary to remember the Passion of Christ every day, at the Time Jesus died for us, 3pm as we pray for the salvation of all souls and for the power of God’s love to silence the power of the evil one in our world today! Learn more here