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How to Have a Christ Centered Relationship

Updated: May 13

Building Christ Centered Relationships

Whether you’ve been a Christian for a month or your entire life, you’ve probably heard this phrase more times than you count.  “It’s not about religion, it’s about relationship.” And whenever you’re hear it, it’s usually spoken with an intent to either inform or correct someone.

And even though this phrase is actually true, the problem is, the phrase is incomplete.  Well-meaning Christians (including myself) have repeated this statement to anyone who we think will listen or we think is being “overly religious” or “legalistic” when it comes to God and the Bible.

Whenever someone says, “It’s not about religion, it’s about relationship,” rarely do they to add the most crucial piece, which is, “Now let me explain to you and show you the difference.” In other words, HOW do you have a Christ-centered relationship that goes beyond religion?  

what does a christ-centered relationship look like

Applying Biblical Principles To Your Relationship

Allow me to share with you a few thoughts, so the next time you hear another Christian utter that phrase, you will be able to educate them and show them how to either practice what they preach (sort of speak) or get them to stop using the phrase altogether, unless they can teach you HOW and WHAT a Christ centered relationship looks like.

Ironically, it’s actually simpler than you may think.  But the easiest way to show you the difference between religion and relationship, is to show you what’s NOT a Christ-centered relationship.

For instance, if you ask the average Christian man, HOW do you know you have a relationship with Christ, he would probably mention any, if not all, of the following:

“I attend church on a regular basis.”

“I read my Bible almost every day.”

“I’m always praying to God and asking Him to meet my needs.”

“I consistently tell others about Christ and what He means to me.”

“I’m always thanking and praising God for all He’s done for me.”

All of the aforementioned statements sound pretty good and shows a level of commitment and demonstrates spiritual discipline.  However, this is where I offer push back.  All of those statements do not define a relationship, it only describes “religious” activities.

how to have a christ-centered relationship

Following God in Relationships

Think about it, if you’re married like I am, and I told you when it comes to my wife, Tonya, we have a strong “relationship,” and you challenged me by asking, “Well Joe, HOW do you know you have a strong relationship with Tonya?”

And if I told you the following:

“Because I read about her every day.”

“I always ask her for stuff and to help meet my needs.”

“I’m always telling people about Tonya and how great a wife she is.”

“I take every chance I get to thank and praise her for being a good wife.”

“And I go to a place almost every Sunday where others talk about and praise Tonya like I do.” 

Do you see it now?

Would you walk away from that conversation convinced that Tonya and I have a loving and committed relationship?  Better yet, would Tonya be convinced and agree that’s what constitutes a great relationship/marriage.

Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that any of those religious activities are bad, but they don’t define what a true “relationship” is.

So, if you want to have a true, Christ centered relationship, one based on intimacy, not just religious activities, then you must treat your relationship with Christ like a “real relationship.”

What does that mean? 

Allow to me to explain.  And to make it even easier to understand, I’ll use Tonya as a substitute for Christ.

The Key Ingredients in a God Centered Relationship

First of all, a real relationship consists of three (3) main components:

  1. Commitment

  2. Communication

  3. Consistency

the importance of god in a relationship

Christ Centered Relationship Component # 1 - Start with Commitment.  

When Tonya and I got married, we did it in the front of many witnesses.  We had a ceremony, we exchanged vows and rings, and we made a promise in front of God, our family, and friends to commit ourselves to love, honor, and cherish each other.

Yes, those words were meaningful, and they were important, but that wasn’t the relationship – it was a promise (a covenant) we made to God and to each other.  The commitment that constitutes a relationship is actually demonstrated by me making Tonya a priority in my life.  That means, other than God, putting her needs and desires above others, including my own.

Commitment involves self-sacrifice and doing things to demonstrate how important Tonya is in my life. It’s not settling for what just “feels good” to me, but rather pursuing God’s best for us. That commitment means putting our marriage (relationship) and each other even before our children.  

And likewise, when it comes to commitment, if we want to build a real, Christ centered relationship, Jesus tells us how: 

He says in Matthew 22:37-38 - “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”

In Matthew 16:24, he says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” 

And in Luke 14:26, Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”

Jesus wasn’t telling us to hate our parents, spouses, families, and life, but rather, in comparison to our relationship to each, we should be more committed and devoted to our relationship with him than any other relationship.  

And likewise, when it comes to my relationship with Tonya, other than God, there should be no greater commitment. 

let god be the center of your relationship

Christ Centered Relationship Component # 2 - Focus on Communication.  

As a former university communications professor, I taught my college students that basic communication always involves a sender (of a message) and a receiver.  In other words, communication involves two people and a transfer of information.

Religious activities and spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible, praying to God asking Him for things, and singing, praising, and thanking Him for things is one-way communication. And a relationship implies that there are two people involved, and there’s two-way communication between them.  Meaning, there’s a sender (speaker), but there’s also a receiver (listener).

What do you think Tonya would think about our relationship if I only talked about her; told people about her; read stories about her; and only asked for her for what I needed?  Do you think she would be pleased with our relationship? Of course not.

Yes, she wants me to talk to her, but Tonya also wants me to listen to her.  Yes, Tonya wants to know what’s on my heart, and hear about my needs, but she also wants to express her heart to me. She wants to tell me what I do that draws me closer to her and vice versa how much she desires to be close to me.

There’s nothing we shouldn’t be able to share with each other.  There’s no guilt, shame, or condemnation even when I’m at my worst.  Tonya just wants us to continue to communicate, and she wants me to feel like she’s always a same place for me to share my innermost thoughts and feelings.

So why would our relationship with Christ be any different?  Jesus reminds us that communication is a dialogue, not a monologue. 

He says in Matthew 11:28“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus also says in John 14:26 – “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” 

And he said in John 10:27 - “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

So, how can anyone say he has a “relationship” with Christ if he never actually “listens” to him?

god centered relationship

Christ Centered Relationship Component # 3 - It Will Require Consistency.

In his best-selling book, “The Five Love Languages,” author Gary Chapman talks about the 5 love languages as being: time, touch, gift giving, words of affirmation, and acts of service.  These “love languages” are all good in showing and demonstrating your love in a relationship.

However, the ONE thing that makes all of those “languages” the most impactful is consistency.  Think about it, even if I implemented ALL the love languages with Tonya, how strong would our relationship be if I only did them ONE time or infrequently at best?

A true relationship isn’t just about our commitment to and communication with the one(s) we love; it’s staying committed and communicating with them over time.  It’s not even about loving them perfectly, but rather consistently.

A real relationship must be able to endure, what I call, “the seasons of change”: lost, fear, hurt, and prosperity.  Authentic relationships must endure the ups and downs, highs and lows, and twists and turns of life.  

All you have to do is think about your strongest relationships.  What do they all have in common? They’ve endured the test of time.  

When it comes to having a Christ centered relationship, consistency is the key.  Jesus had hundreds of followers, including the disciples, but most of them turned way when he needed them the most.  Many turned away when his teachings got too controversial and the cost to follow him became too great.

Tonya doesn’t want or need a fair-weathered husband, she wants a faithful husband, who will consistently stick, stand, and stay with her no matter how hard or tough the journey gets.  Because that’s what a relationship is all about.

how to put god first in your relationship

Cultivating a Personal Relationship with Jesus Is Just That, A Relationship

So, let’s re-cap, if you want to know how to have Christ centered relationship, you have to first know the difference between a relationship and religion.  

Then you have to treat your relationship with Christ like a real relationship.  

And that relationship must begin with a commitment that goes beyond mere words and promises; it must include genuine two-way communication that involves talking AND listening, as well as an understanding of the other person’s heart.  

And lastly, the relationship should be undergirded and fortified through consistency of effort and be able to stand the test of time, especially when the relationship is threatened or in a crisis.

christian marriage coach

Get My Help

If you would like help, training, and support in building such a relationship, not only with Christ, but also with your spouse, please email us at or set up a FREE Breakthrough Call to chat with me, so I can show you how.

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