Christianity 201

April 5, 2011

When You Have a Conversation With Jesus

Indiana’s Jon Swanson at 300 Words a Day, ran this on his blog over two days on March 26th and March 28th.  I’ve mashed them together here to form a single post…

I was talking with a friend about following Jesus. My friend, like many of us, like me, would find a formula helpful. It would be great to have 3 steps or 5 levels or 12 magic words.

But recipes don’t seem to work with Jesus. My friend reminded me of the opening chapter of Searching for God Knows What, where Donald Miller says,

“To be honest … I don’t know how much I like the idea of my spirituality being relational … the formulas seem much better than God because the formulas offer control; and God, well, he is like a person and people, as we all know, are complicated. The trouble with people is that they do not always do what you tell them to do.”

I thought about this idea of no formulas, and of God as a person. I realized that though I can’t offer formulas, I can offer something else. I can suggest what to expect in conversation with God.

This is what you would do, right, if a friend of yours was wanting to meet another friend of yours who is a person of some authority? You’d offer some character insights?

So, here are Eight Things to Expect in Conversations with Jesus:

1. Jesus often helps you with the conversation. “What do you want?” is what he asked a couple disciples who came to him in a referral from John. Not meanly, but invitingly.

2. Jesus loves you more than you hate yourself. Our self-loathing gets in the way of conversations at times. We assume that people won’t want to talk to us. But Jesus seems pretty willing to talk with people who didn’t have things together.

3. Jesus challenges just about every attempt to routinize religion. Or, better, to routinize a relationship with him into religion.

4. Jesus does make demands. But not the ones that we impose on ourselves. Happens all the time. People say, “I shouldn’t say that in church.” “I couldn’t say that to God.” And I say, “Why not?” We filter ourselves by demanding that we talk the way we think God would want us to talk. But let him decide what he wants us to do.

5. Jesus is more like mystery than a puzzle. (This image is from Gregory Treverton who is an intelligence analyst, not a theologian.) A puzzle just needs the right number of pieces to make sense. The focus is on finding pieces. A mystery can’t be solved, can’t be all put together. People are mysteries. Relationship is a mystery. Not a puzzle.

6. Jesus will take the washcloth out of your hand. I want to clean up my own messes. Every time, I make it worse. Rather than a washcloth, I sometimes need a powerwasher. Or a toothbrush. Or spit. When healing, Jesus once used spit. When serving, he used a towel. Once, he even used blood. So don’t be surprised when he doesn’t take your cleaning recommendation.

7. Jesus keeps promises, but only the ones he makes. Not the ones I make for him. You know how when you are with someone and the two of you decide something and you start doing it and the other person isn’t? And you realized that the two didn’t decide. You did? Like that.

8. Jesus…

Wait. You write this one. What have you learned about talking with Jesus?

~Jon Swanson


  1. I enjoyed your thoughtful list. I would add for #8. Jesus speaks with me when I take time to listen and be with him. I think of when God spoke to Elijah in a “still small voice.” We need regular, quiet time with the Lord to hear his voice.

    Comment by Patti Hanan — April 6, 2011 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

  2. Can you talk to Jesus about anything and everything? God promised me something (I assure you it was Him, as prophecies He gave me that were completely unforseen and VERY specific, nothing a guess could have gotten right), and as I am awaiting it (Parts of the promise have already come true), I’m alone, and very lonely. I know God is here, but… Can I talk to Jesus about anything? Like, as long as I’m being appropriate? I have no friends, no family left to talk to. Can I talk to Him about what I would talk to my friends about? Like, The Beatles, or foreign languages, or bible stories, or the news? Or is that too informal to be talking to the King about? Because some people have told me that…

    Comment by Soonbok — July 16, 2012 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

    • My personal belief is that Jesus wants to be part of everything that matters to you: Your favorite music, the news, a book you’ve just read. He is described in scripture as a friend who stays closer than a brother. Would you talk to a brother (or sister) about what you talk to your friends about? Of course you would!

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 16, 2012 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  3. Before I go too bed, I talk too jesus and just have a conversation with him, but im not sure if im talking too him or im just agreeing with my own thoughts

    Comment by eric — July 12, 2013 @ 12:17 am | Reply

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