Personal Conversation with Christ
By Virginia Brandt Berg
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Greetings, and the Lord bless you and make you a blessing. I want to talk with you about our conversation and fellowship with Jesus Christ.
If I were asked what the world, the flesh, and the Devil want most to prevent us from doing, I would say, “Having personal conversation with Christ, really talking to the Lord Jesus!” I know this from my own experience, and also that of other people. A quiet, unhurried fellowship with Jesus Christ alone and then waiting to hear what He has to say is what every Christian needs every day. But this is something that some of us only get once a month or less often or even never. I wonder, when was the last time you talked to the Lord Jesus Christ, when you had a real personal conversation with Him?
It’s so easy to go to church, and to listen to others pray, and to join in with them. It’s easy to sing to the Lord, to pray with others, but what if we were mistaken to think that we were conversing personally with Him at those times, but instead, we really were only talking or singing to be heard by ourselves and other people?!
Some people only pray when they’re in church or at prayer meetings or when others are present. The danger is that if you don’t converse with Him alone each day, you can suddenly wake up to the fact that you and your Savior are strangers to each other. The words in the Bible “without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) are sometimes forgotten. Jesus meant that you should talk with Him continually, about everything you do, and everything you care about. You should always be conscious of His truth and mercy and the working of His Spirit.
He meant for you to have told Him about your anxieties, and He would have given you peace. But when you only consult with friends and co-workers, matters can get worse. He meant for you to ask Him for insight about that doctrine that you could not understand; He can give you wisdom if you go to Him personally.
He meant for you to have confessed that secret sin to Him, and He would have forgiven you and cleansed you. But when you only confess it to a companion, you will never find relief. He meant you to have asked Him personally how much money you were to give away, but you settled that yourself, and perhaps you didn’t settle it right. He wants to be your counselor about the profession you choose, the employees you hire, the books you read, and the fellowship you engage in.
Oh, may God help you to talk to Christ, your personal friend and counselor! Conversation with Him will make all the difference in the world. I want to ask, Is Jesus your personal friend? Do you talk to Him personally about all these things?
Recently a young husband came back to an empty house where he had spent happy days when he was first married. His wife had left him over some petty quarrel. He said that he went back to that emptiness and he pinned little slips of paper in every room, hoping that when she came back for her belongings she would see them. On those slips of paper he wrote the words: “Without you here, it is all emptiness,” because he said it was all emptiness without her presence there. She did come back and her heart was touched.
I could pin a sign on every creed and doctrine and ordinance and church that says: “It’s emptiness without You, dear Lord.” It’s all empty without Christ Himself. For life itself is but one long round of anxiety without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
So I will say over again what I’ve said many times: It’s only as you come into this personal relationship with Jesus that you will have peace for your troubled soul. And also in prayer, it’s this fellowship with Him, this personal conversation with Him, that makes all the difference.
John Oxenham wrote these wonderful words:
Not what, but whom, I do believe
That in my darkest hour of need
Hath comfort that no mortal creed
To mortal man may give.
Not what, but whom,
For Christ is more than all the creeds
And his full life of gentle deeds
Shall all the creeds outlive.
Not what I do believe, but whom
Who walks beside me in the gloom
Who shares the burden wearisome;
Who all the dim way doth illumine
And bids me look beyond the tomb
The larger life to live.
Not what I do believe but whom.
Isn’t that wonderful? And isn’t that true? Not what, but whom! It isn’t what church, it’s whom. The important thing is whether you meet Christ, if He is exalted there.
You say, “I can’t feel His presence, but I really want to. I don’t seem to reach Him, but I want to.” Bishop Simpson once said, “Reach up as far as you can and God will reach down the rest of the way.” Oh, that is true!
He says, “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). He says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). I know this is true, because out of deep darkness I once called to Him, and He answered. He never turns away a seeking soul.
I want to read a poem that’s so precious to my heart. It comes from an old hymn.
In the secret of His presence how my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me, neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me, to the secret place I go.
When my soul is faint and thirsty, ’neath the shadow of His wing,
There is cool and pleasant shelter, and a fresh and crystal spring;
And my Savior rests beside me, as we hold communion sweet
If I tried, I could not utter what He says when thus we meet.
When it says “we hold communion sweet,” that’s the personal conversation with Jesus that I’m talking about. The poem goes on to say:
Only this I know: I tell Him all my doubts, my griefs, and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens! And my drooping soul He cheers.
Do you think He ne’er reproves me? What a false friend He would be,
If He never, never told me of the sins which He must see.
Would you like to know the sweetness of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow: this shall then be your reward;
And whene’er you leave the silence of that happy meeting place,
You will bear the shining image of the Master in your face!1
And so it’s in the secret of His presence that your soul shall delight to hide, and that personal conversation with the living Christ will be the joy of your life.
I want to assure you that He never turns away a seeking soul. Someone listening who has never met Jesus Christ might say, “Well, give me something to lay hold of, something concrete, something I can see, and I’ll believe in Jesus.” He answers that heart cry with these words: “Only believe” (Mark 5:36; Luke 8:50). If you will believe, you will quickly find something to lay hold of, and you’ll see also that He is wonderfully concrete and real.
The Lord Jesus Christ must first be received by faith, then will come the glorious assurance of salvation. But it will be forever hidden to you unless you reach out toward Him and believe that He is what He says He is. “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” it says in Hebrews 11:6. To believe is to see! And I want to tell you, beloved, that He will reveal Himself.
The quickest, surest way to enter into sweet fellowship with God is to confess that you’re a sinner and call upon Him for mercy. Accept His gift of salvation, and then your rebellious, unbelieving nature will be empowered to recognize the claims of Jesus Christ and take God at His Word. God’s Word says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). Also, “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).
You say you want life in abundance? Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Without Jesus, you’re forfeiting the only real and lasting joy there is in this old sin-cursed world. And added to this joy, He gives you eternal life.
Won’t you give Him a chance to show you what He can do? Won’t you commit your all to Him and let Him take all your frustrations and failures and give you a life of victory and satisfaction?
Give God a chance, won’t you? If you will, what a change there will be in your life! God bless you! He’s still on the throne and prayer really does change things.
From a transcript of a Meditation Moments broadcast, adapted. Published on Anchor November 2023. Read by Lenore Welsh.
1 Adapted from “In the Secret of His Presence,” by Ellen L. Goreh, 1883.
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