What is a personal relationship with Jesus?

“I credit Relevant Radio® for not only understanding and deepening my relationship with Jesus, but also leading me … to get spiritual direction,” says Morning Air® host John Harper. “And with my spiritual director, you have heard me use the word that he put in my vocabulary: a romance with Jesus. The more you think about a romance with someone, and especially with Jesus, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do for Him. And sometimes it gets uncomfortable.”

“Exactly,” responded Marcel LeJeune, regular contributor to Morning Air. “I think that first of all, we have language to overcome. Because this is very Catholic language … Pope Benedict has talked about it; Pope Francis and JPII have talked about it; it’s in Vatican II. We’ve got it in the writing of the saints and the Church documents. This is actually ancient language that we’re supposed to have this relationship with Jesus.”

The idea of a ‘romance with Jesus’ might sound odd, but it’s been around for centuries. “Even in the Old Testament, one of the prevailing images that’s used is that Israel, the chosen people, are supposed to be the bride of Yahweh and that God is a lover who is pursuing His people. There’s an intimacy there that had never been in any other religion ever before,” says LeJeune.

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What is a personal relationship with Jesus? “You could replace the words ‘personal relationship with Jesus’ to say, an intimate and intentional faith in Jesus. And what I mean by that is, first of all with the ‘intentional’ part, you can’t accidentally have faith in Jesus, in God. You have to choose this; it’s your choice; it’s in the will,” explains LeJeune. “And that means, if you choose anything and it’s in the will, it has to be in the intellect. That means you have to know about Jesus and you need to know things about Jesus. And that’s, unfortunately, where a lot of people stop. They stop because they know about Him but they don’t necessarily know Him personally.”

Having a personal relationship with Jesus is a choice. We have to intentionally choose to say: I want to follow Jesus. I want to make Him the Lord of my life and the center of my life, and I want this right now. In fact … right now you can stop and say a prayer and say, ‘Jesus, I want you at the center of my life. I choose you today.’ And this isn’t a one and done thing that we do this once and we’re saved. No, we do this every day!”

This relationship is intimate and personal. “You and I alone can do this for ourselves. Now when we were children at baptism, most of us who were baptized as kids had our parents who chose this for us because we couldn’t do so personally. And that’s the faith of the community – the faith of the community takes the place of the person before they can make that choice themselves. But at some point, each one of us has to do it personally.”

Lord, I desire a personal relationship with you. Help me to know and love you.

Young woman deep in prayer
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Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.