In our Christian life, we come to know the Lord, almost, always through a personal experience. That is why we use the phrase “Jesus, my personal Lord and savior.” On the day we come to repent of our sins and receive Jesus into our hearts, we come to have a personal relationship with Him.
That is also mostly where the “personal” in the relationship ends (If we are not intentional). Everything from then on is a growth or service at the corporate, church level. We obey the Lord in water baptism as a witness to the world(public), we go to church(public) on Sundays, we pray at the prayer meetings(public), We learn the bible at the bible study(public), we give to the Lord at the church(public), We serve the Lord in various capacities at the church(public).
Everything above is commanded by the Lord and are good things. If we are not intentional, our personal relationship and intimacy with the Lord suffers at the expense of a growing, thriving church Christianity. Initially this will not be evident, but after some years, we run our Christian life because we belong to a church. At that point, the distinguishing Christian mark on our life will not be that we spend time with Jesus alone and our ears are tuned to hear him, but that we are needed in church and we have a reputation to maintain.
King Saul had such a problem. He was anointed by the Lord to be the first king of Israel. However through disobedience(partial obedience) he lost his calling in his life. God sends prophet Samuel to let King Saul know that God deeply regrets in making Saul, the king and that God was rejecting Saul from being king. At this point, King Saul shows some form of superficial repentance.
“Then he said, “I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.” 1 Samuel 15:30.
When our personal relationship with the Lord becomes an on-the-go; drive thru; meal prayer-only prayer; listening to sermon tapes Christianity, we can very well trade the hard work of obedience with the ease of partial obedience and may be…just maybe…miss out on the plans in our life.