“There was a point in time,” Stan began, “when the person who was my spiritual mentor asked me a very pointed question.”
“Which was what?” I asked.
“He asked me,” Stan replied,” whether or not I was comfortable with the idea that the essence of Christianity is a personal relationship with God, and that it is not a religion of do’s and don’t’s through which I can gain God’s favor?”
“How did you respond?”
“That I was and am fully comfortable with that,” Stan said. “And I might add that I am very thankful for those who brought me to that truth!”
Continuing, he said, “But there is another point about this that I think is very easy to let get in the way.”
“What’s that? I asked.
“The difference between having a personal relationship with God and having a private relationship with Him.”
“Personal verses private,” I repeated. “Care to elaborate on that?”
“I think,” Stan replied, “that the apostle Paul in his first letter to the church in Corinth addressed this when he wrote that he was passing on to the Corinthians the truth he had received.”
“What truth?” I asked.
“The truth of Jesus Christ. Paul was not holding it back for himself in a way that precluded others so that it was private, just between him and God.”
“On the contrary,” Stan continued, “Paul, as a first order of business, shared the truth so that others would know. Just like with me when my neighbors went out of their way to share the truth. Can you just imagine where the church would be if all believers kept their beliefs to themselves because they considered it a private matter between them and God?”
“I suppose the church would have disappeared a long time ago,” I responded.
“It’s more than just a supposition, my friend,” Stan replied. “I think it is a fact. And I also think it is a fact that God wants my relationship with Him, as personal as it is, to not be private, but to be public so that others will know that such a possibility exists for them as well.”
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have provided the way for me to have a personal relationship with you through the finished work of Christ on the cross. Thank you that you provide that relationship as a free gift. I confess that too often I have failed to share with others the fact of my relationship with you, hiding behind the notion that it is private between you and me. Please forgive me. And please, Father, lead me in not being private about our relationship, but in being open to sharing and demonstrating the fact of our relationship. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.