If we use anything other than Jesus to gauge our relationship with Jesus, that relationship will suffer.
Let me explain…
Many times we will measure where we are with Christ based on our feelings. We either feel close to Jesus, or far from Jesus based on our affections for Jesus. Sometimes Christians measure their relationship based on performance. Other times we use how others perceive us and our walk with Jesus to determine how we are doing.
The problem is, in all of these situations our relationship will be found wanting.
The problem is, in all of these situations, instead of looking at Christ we are looking at ourselves. As long as we are gauging our relationship with Jesus based on how we are doing, our relationship with Jesus will suffer. This is simply because we can’t perform well enough, love Jesus enough, or do enough to make ourselves feel worthy of Christ.
If you think you can, or if you think you have, or if you think you are…then chances are you don’t understand faith. Chances are, you are yet to truly grasp the Gospel.
The essence of the Gospel is that IN CHRIST you are accepted. The essence of faith is that IN CHRIST you are loved unconditionally by the God of the Universe. These things are true in spite of ourselves. In spite of our daily failures, God still loves you, Jesus still wants to know you and fellowship with you. IN CHRIST you belong to God. You are loved and treasured by God…But this isn’t because of you, or how wonderful you are, or how much you love Jesus…It is simply because of Christ and what He has done on your behalf in this beautiful and unfathomable story that we call the Gospel.
We gauge our relationship with Jesus based on one thing(or better to say one person).
As we look to Jesus we see that He has done enough. He is affectionate enough. He has loved us enough. We don’t need to worry about falling away, because He has us safely in his arms. Christ has placed us in the Father’s hand, and no one or nothing can remove us(John 10:29)…not even ourselves.
I’m reminded of Mark 14:26-31. In this passage, we see the disciples and especially Peter telling Jesus that they will stand by him no matter what. Peter says that he will fight to the death if he needs to. Jesus of course informed the disciples that they would indeed fall away. Not only would they fall away, but Peter himself would deny Jesus three times.
Peter and the disciples are basing their relationship on two things. Their affections for Jesus, and their performance.
We know what happens…The disciples scatter. Peter does indeed deny Jesus three times.
But of course, it doesn’t end there.
Peter and the rest of the disciples are later shown that in spite of their lack of faith and failures they belong to Christ and he will use them mightily in the building of his Church. Peter is shown specifically that Christ and Christ alone is to be his focus.(John 21:22)
This is no less true for us.
Jesus is the measure of our relationship with Jesus.