Saturday, February 25, 2012

Define the Relationship

"DTR" is a phrase one of my younger relatives explained to me. It means "define the relationship," and my relative used it when talking about a male-female relationship: There comes a time when you have to define it (are we just friends? something more??)

Have you ever been asked the question, "Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?" I'm sure a lot of people have. Well, it is a loaded question, partially because a lot of people feel like it is nobody's business but their own what they think about Jesus. That issue aside, my problem with the question is this-what does the person asking the question mean when he says "relationship with Jesus?" Initially, I think the question refers to the fact that all people, because of sin, need to be reconciled to God, through the death of the sinless Son of God, Jesus. However, many people get the relationship off on the wrong foot by thinking that it is dependent on their decision. Jesus initiates and does everything, because He lived the perfect life, paid the price for the sins of the world, and offers His Word of forgiveness. We are dead in our sins, and a corpse can not initiate any kind of relationship. (Ephesians 2:1-10)

Another problem that can arise is that once a person receives the forgiveness of sins, he can think that the maintenance of the relationship depends on his obedience and growing in faith. Not so. The relationship is still dependent on Christ's forgiveness, and maintained by Christ's forgiveness. The Bible speaks of Jesus as the Christian's teacher, brother, and friend. We do not have to have a subjective, emotional encounter with Jesus to validate our Christianity. Many new Christian songs have lyrics that eerily remind me of romance, which points to the prevalence of this way of "defining the relationship." No. We do not measure our relationship with Jesus by comparing it to our concept of a satisfying relationship. We measure it by His forgiveness, given to us in His Word, given through the mouth of our pastor, given to us in our baptism, and given to us in communion. And yes, I meant to repeat the word "given." For with Jesus, what He has "given" is what "defines the relationship."


  1. I learned something: I didn't know what DTR meant! Guess I'm old...! I also agree about the 'Jesus is my boyfriend' songs. They drive me crazy! By the way, we'll be in IN in July for our denom.'s international conference. Marion, I think? Also, we plan to head north to the Creation Museum. Have you guys been to that? Hope we get to see you sometime that month!

    1. We would love to see you in July! Let us know when you will be coming this way and we will make every effort to see you. Yes, we have been to the Creation Museum and really enjoyed it. Here are a few picture of it: