Speaking to the soul – August 17

Eternal life

Jesus said: “This is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” John 17:3

You can sum up Christianity very easily with the expression: “It’s not what you know but who you know that counts.” Christian faith is all about a personal relationship with God the Father and his son, Jesus. Everything hinges on that. Here in Jesus’ prayer to his Father, he reflects on the relationship they enjoyed. They lived in complete unity and Jesus expresses his desire that everyone else should experience a similar relationship.

It is amazing to think that it is possible to have a personal relationship with the God of all creation and with the Son of God. But it is possible – because God has chosen to enter into such a relationship with us.

In the book of Jeremiah, we learn about the new covenant that God wants to have with his people. God said: “I will be their God, and they will be my people.

And they will not need to teach their neighbours, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already” (Jeremiah 31:33-34). It was a personal relationship with God which made the new covenant so different from the old covenant, which was based on rules and regulations.

Through the centuries, the Church has devoted huge energy to the writing of creeds and statements of faith. Enormous care has been taken to write these documents -which have undoubtedly been a result of careful reflection, sometimes over many years. But reciting creeds and signing statements of faith can never take the place of a personal relationship with God. It is even possible to become deeply involved in the life of a church and yet miss out on this entirely. Anyone can sing hymns, pray prayers, listen to sermons and serve coffee after the service, but it is having a vibrant, continual relationship with God – which starts now and never comes to an end – that really matters.


What does it mean to you to know God personally?


Loving God, thank you that you have invited me to know you. Help me to love you more dearly and follow you more nearly day by day. Amen