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Christianity Is Not Just About a Personal Relationship With Jesus

We talk about having personal things. We employ a personal trainer to help us shed pounds and get that coveted beachbody. We open a personal bank account to manage our finances. And, please, keep your hands off our personal property and your eyes out of our personal diary. But what about our personal relationship with Jesus?

Christians, especially Evangelicals, import this language into their faith as well. We talk about having a personal relationship with Jesus. Or working on our personal relationship with him. Or desiring that relationship to grow, to deepen, to become more intimate.

Here’s the thing: Christianity is not about a personal relationship with Jesus. The phrase is never found in the Bible. And the whole biblical witness runs contrary to it.

Our life with Christ is communal, not personal or private or individual. When the Scriptures speak of believers, they are part of a community, a fellowship of other believers.

Christianity is about a church relationship — not a personal relationship with Jesus.

I know this runs contrary to what many modern believers think. And even desire. In an age when we are more isolated than ever, when our worlds often shrink to the size of a phone screen, talk of community sounds like a radical departure from the norm. It is. But the norm of the Christian faith is not isolated believers, little islands of spirituality, but a continent of Christians banded together by the Spirit.

We are baptized into one body, the body of Jesus. Our so-called personal relationship with Jesus is indeed with his person—his body of which all other believers are a part. Fingers don’t have a relationship with Jesus apart from the hand, the hand from the arm, the arm from the shoulder, and so on.

Chad Bird
Chad Birdhttp://chadbird.com
If you will, please include something like this in my bio: Chad Bird is the author of Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul. His other writings are at chadbird.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Beyond ‘Sorry for Your Loss’: 14 Meaningful Ways to Express Condolences

Explore heartfelt and unique ways to say 'sorry for your loss' with our guide. Learn how to offer condolences that truly resonate, including personalized expressions of sympathy and thoughtful gestures to support those grieving.

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Step into your newly single life with confidence and joy. Our guide on how to be single offers fresh perspectives on rediscovering yourself and thriving post-long-term relationship, with tips on how to navigate this new chapter with grace and a sense of adventure.

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Discover how to break up with someone while minimizing pain and respecting both parties' emotions. Our guide provides clear, empathetic steps for initiating, conducting, and healing from a breakup with dignity and care.