John Shore Christian Blog and Commentary

Let's Be Real: No One "Walks" and "Talks" with Jesus

This is a post for Christians who are secretly distressed because they don't feel like their relationship with Christ is as intense or constant as it should be. If you are a Christian who feels that you are always joyfully walking hand-in-hand with the ever-present Christ, congratulations! But there's nothing for you here. Move on, Blisso.

So for the rest of us: We all have it wrong about Jesus. Which is to say we've got wrong the language we use about Jesus. In speaking about Christ we naturally use the only language available to us---but that language is absurdly inadequate. It's like trying to use numbered children's blocks to teach quantum physics.

We use the only language we have to talk about God and Christ---and we use it over and over again, in the same way, for thousands of years. And what naturally happens is that we end up giving way more credence than we should to the actual, physical reality described by that language. What the words actually do express ends up being at least as important to us as the ineffable, inexpressible reality to which they're only meant to refer. We end up fuzzing the difference between what the words denote with what they connote. And this results in stress for a lot of Christians.

That stress is born of the fact that the language we employ to describe our relationship with Christ in precisely the same language we employ to talk about our actual, human relationships. We say that we "walk" with Jesus; we "talk" with Jesus; we "spend time" with Jesus; Jesus is "beside" us; Jesus "hears" our prayers, Jesus "holds our hand," and so on. We all know that language. We use it all the time. Pastors especially do.

The problem is that all that kind of language means something very clear and specific every single time we use it to describe relationships we have with actual, real people. That can only mean that when we use the same words to describe our relationship to Christ that we use to describe our relationships with Actual Humans, we're being what amounts to a little crazy. It's like we're putting shoes on our hands and calling them gloves. There's a manifest disconnect there.

The short of what I'm saying is: Don't worry that you don't really see, speak, talk, walk, and/or go to the beach with Jesus. No one else does, either. People think they have to act like the relationship they have with Jesus is every bit as "real" as the relationship they have with any other human they love, but that's just a language dysfunction that's naturally grown into a conceptual misapprehension. The reason any given Christians is so prone to feeling like his relationship with Jesus is less than it should be is because all the Christians around him are forever describing their relationship with Jesus in loving human terms, which leads him to feel as if that must be the reality of Jesus he's also supposed to experience. And then, when he doesn't experience Jesus with anything like that kind of corporeal immediacy, he feels inferior or ashamed. He can't help but think that the relationship others seem to have with Christ is better or richer---that it's more real---than the only one he's ever known.

Trust me: It isn't. No one ever gets feedback from Christ any more real, specific, or pointed than you do. God became an actual, living human being once. And he'll do it again. But he hasn't done it yet. And that means nobody on earth is holding hands with Christ. Nobody sane is having a conversation with Christ. Nobody's helping Christ buckle the safety belt on his co-pilot's seat.

Until the time comes when you actually can communicate with Jesus in the same way you now communicate with, say, your mailman, you have within you the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the entirety of God and Christ. And the Holy Spirit communicates to you in a language that you, and only you, can understand. That's the reality of your relationship with Christ. The rest is just talk.

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