A Personal vs. Private Relationship with Christ

Privatizing Jesus

I think what we have seen in the church over the last several decades—maybe the last few generations—is a prioritization of our faith being personal. This is good and right. We must have that moment where we personally surrender to the Lord and personally receive his free and sweet gift of salvation. However, as we’ve prioritized that personal relationship, we’ve also privatized it.

We’ve said, “Your relationship with the Lord is yours. It’s private. There’s nothing corporate about it. ‘You do you,’ even in your relationship with Jesus.” What this has led to is that you have your personal, private quiet time, during which you get your nugget from the word, that God has meant for only you that day.

Self-Serving

We’ve turned Scripture into this book full of sayings for me and what the Bible has for me to today; and then we’ve turned the church into a place we go as a consumer of what we want instead of asking the Lord, “God, how can I serve you?”

Instead, we say, “God, how can you serve me? How is the church going to serve me? How is the Bible going to serve me? How is my women’s Bible study going to serve me? What can I get out of my relationship with the Lord?”

For Him

That’s not how Scripture is written, and that’s not how the church is meant to function. We are by him and for him. All things are by him and for him.

And so when we come to the word of God and to our Bible studies looking for how they might serve us, we miss the point.

While the church’s prioritization on us having a personal faith is good, it has gone awry. It’s become counterfeit over time and we’ve made what should be personal into something private. It was never meant to be private.

Content adapted from Enough about Me by Jen Oshman. This article first appeared on Crossway.org used with permission. 

Photo of Jen Oshman

Jen Oshman

Jen Oshman is a wife, mom, and writer, and has served as a missionary and pastor’s wife for over two decades on three continents. She currently resides in Colorado, where her family planted Redemption Parker, an Acts29 church.

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