Tag Archives: relationship not religion

The 5 Stages in Relationship to God Jesus Christ for New Believers Who Want to Grow

I sidled up to the crowded counter where my husband was getting ready to pay for gasoline and his drink at the convenience store. I placed my coffee next to his––as I always do. To my surprise, he said, “What are you doing?”

When we got into the car, I asked him, “What was that all about back there? Why did you ask me what I was doing?”

“It was crowded, and I could hardly get my money out of my wallet. You were too close to me.”

Having learned to pick my battles, I let it drop, but my feelers were hurt and as much as I fought taking an offense, I did, until I went for a walk that evening and had a full-out pity party. I complained to the Lord and let it all out.

As I rounded the corner close to the house, I heard the still, small voice of the Lord say you can’t get too close to me.

As I rounded the corner close to the house, I heard the still, small voice of the Lord say you can’t get too close to me. Click to Tweet

5 Stages in Relationship to God + Jesus Christ for New Believers Who Want to Grow as a Christian: Relationship not ReligionThese words stopped me in my tracks, as I knew they were also the Lord’s loving correction to me. I needed to seek His face more than I had been doing. One day of missing to read my Bible had led to another, and now, I had let my spiritual armor down and felt far from God.

When I sought the Lord, I was reminded of what I had recently heard a preacher say, “There are five levels, or stages in the Christian’s life: believer, disciple, bondservant, friend and son/daughter.” That was it, no explanation of these.

My first reaction was to think there was another level beyond son/daughter.  Finally, as I determined to research what the Lord had to say about this, I realized I was wrong, and what He showed me was a pleasant surprise.

Please follow along with me as we discern these five progressive levels of growth in relationship to God Jesus Christ: a relationship not religion.

You may feel like I did, far from God, or you may be a new believer who, like me years ago, did not know what to do with what they got when they asked Jesus into their heart.

You may be a stressed-out mom or dad, or single person feeling unloved and unappreciated, rejected or neglected. You long for someone who would just have your best interests at heart. If so, you must keep reading.

The still, small voice of the Lord is just waiting to speak to you now and give you encouragement and new direction.

BELIEVER: The First Progressive Level in Relationship to God Jesus Christ

The Bible Believer believes these four things:

• Jesus was sent from God and is His Son (John 3:16);
• He was born of a virgin (Luke 1:27,31)
• He died on the cross as the lamb of God; thus, paying the price for sin, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22);
• He was buried and rose again, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Jesus himself gives us a definition of what a true believer is when He prays for His disciples right before He is crucified. “I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me” (John 17:8).

[I will be giving you a few links in this post as examples of the 5 stages in relationship to God Jesus Christ. These stories are from my free eCourse on this Web site to my book GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? Knowing and Experiencing God by His Hebrew Names. These are merely 15-minute segments from the whole book and course.]

HERE Is a link to MY STORY – HOW EL ROI FOUND ME. Just click on it for a pdf file of my story. Mothers and grandmothers have used this simple model to lead their children or grandchildren to the Lord.

DISCIPLE: The Second Progressive Level in Relationship to God Jesus Christ

The disciple encompasses three D’s: Disciple, Discipline and Decision

Disciple: Webster’s dictionary’s very first definition of disciple uses the synonym of ‘follower’ to explain that this disciple is “a follower of Jesus Christ, and one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.”
Discipline: “to train or develop by instruction and exercise in self-control” (Webster’s). To be a disciplined disciple, the believer must make a:
Decision: Jesus said to His disciples, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And what did they do? They immediately left their fishing nets and followed Him. James and John were in the boat with their father mending their nets. When Jesus called them, they immediately left the boat and their father, and followed Him (Matthew 4:22).

It was this very account of Jesus calling His disciples that got my husband’s and my attention when we made the conscious, quality decision to follow Him. Jesus knew his twelve disciples before he called them by name to follow Him.

Jesus is still walking along the seashore calling out believers by name to make Him Number One, LORD of all. He wants followers who are quality-decision making, disciplined disciples.

Click this link for my story of how I learned the hard lesson of what a true disciple meant––with answered prayers>>HOW I LEARNED TO RECEIVE BY FAITH

Click here for our story of how my husband and I learned what it meant to follow our Shepherd, Jesus, and made that quality decision together>>OUR STORY OF LEARNING HOW TO TRUST GOD’S GUIDANCE 

5 Stages in Relationship to God Jesus Christ for New Believers Who Want to Grow as a Christian

BONDSERVANT: The Third Progressive Level in Relationship to God Jesus Christ

Paul, Timothy, James, Peter and Jude all referred to themselves as bondservants of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. This period of servanthood is marked by trials, suffering and circumstances that cannot be understood at the time.

Jesus says that the servant does not know what his master is doing (John 15:15). Do you find this as interesting as I do? During a test, the Teacher is absent.

The bondservant stage is characterized by three things:

Voluntary Service:

The word servants comes from the Greek word doulos, [Strong’s 1401]: from deo, means ‘to bind,’ The word denotes one in bondage to, or subject to another, and is usually translated, ‘slave’ or ‘servant.’ Often the service involved is voluntary, in which a person willingly offers obedience and devotion and loyalty to another, subordinating his will to him.

No longer a men-pleaser:

The disciple finally comes to realize that he/she cannot follow Jesus and worry about what other people think of them, “not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6).

Humble selflessness and learned obedience:

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

If Jesus had to suffer to learn obedience, how do we think we can get by with less? He died literally and says we must take up His cross to follow Him. That comes only by commanding SELF to die daily – knowing that “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).  Self-centeredness is the root of all evil. Every overcomer has learned this lesson.

Every overcomer in the Bible had a period of suffering in their life before they came out on top. Only a few examples are: Joseph who spent time in prison before being exalted to overseer over all the land of Egypt; David was anointed king of Israel, yet ran and hid from Saul for many years before he was able to take the throne. Job lost his health and children, everything he had, except his wife before God restored him double.

Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13: 15-16).

God’s promise to the bondservant: “You prisoners of hope, even today I declare that I will restore double to you” (Zechariah 9:12).

Here is the account of when our family learned the bondservant’s lesson. We were without a job for one year in God’s School of Faith that brought miracles>>OUR STORY OF CROSSING THE DRY RIVER BED OF THE JORDAN

5 Progressive Levels in Relationship to God+Jesus Christ for New Believers Who Want to Grow as a Christian

FRIEND: The Fourth Progressive Level in Relationship to God Jesus Christ

How would you like to be called a “friend of God?” What an honor for someone to call you that. James 2:23 tells us that, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.”

As Jesus was preparing his disciples for His departure at the end of their training period, He said to them,

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give you. These things I command you that you love one another” (John 15: 15-17).

A friend of God is marked by two things:

Love Fruit:

Jesus commanded that, because you are my friend, “Love One Another!” Love is the first fruit of the Spirit detailed in Galatians 5:22, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

When we learn to love, the rest will follow; without the others, there is no love; fruit is singular as one bunch of grapes.

And because we love, we will pray for others as Abraham did.

Intercession for others with the ability to change God’s mind:

Genesis 18 tells the story of Abraham’s intercession for the city of Sodom. As God was about to rain down fire and brimstone upon the evil city of sin, He said to Himself, shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?

When Abraham learned of God’s plan to destroy Sodom, he stood before the Lord and said, “Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord: “Suppose there were five less than the fifty righteous; would You destroy all of the city for lack of five?”

The LORD said, “If I find there forty-five, I will not destroy it.”

Abraham persisted until he influenced the LORD down to 10 people. The only righteous people found in the city were Abraham’s nephew Lot and family. Angels took them by the hand and led them out before fire rained down.

“Come, let us reason together,” says the LORD . . . “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 1:18-20).

SON/DAUGHTER: The Fifth Level of Progression in Relationship with Jesus

As I contemplated this fifth and last stage of relationship—Son/Daughter– my first thoughts were, no, there is a sixth level–the body of Christ as His bride–the Bride of Christ. Slowly, the Lord directed my thoughts to Jesus’ baptism by John and proved me wrong.

The heavens were opened, and Jesus saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him, and suddenly a voice came from heaven saying,

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3: 17)

This must be the highest compliment from the Father possible!

I said to the Lord, “I wish I could hear You say to me that I am your daughter.”

My thoughts immediately ran to the book of Ruth, and I found chapter 3 where Boaz the family redeemer, a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, spoke to Ruth.

Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi both had come through a time of great suffering in the land of Moab (and their false gods) where both their husbands had died. They were now back in Bethlehem after the famine where Naomi’s house and land remained.

Ruth had been gleaning grain from the fields of Boaz to help care for her mother-in-law. Knowing that Boaz was a close relative who could redeem their family name, Naomi prompted Ruth to go to the threshing floor at the midnight hour. Naomi told her, “uncover his feet, lie down, and he will tell you what you should do.”

“Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled and turned himself, and there, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”

Then he said, “Blessed are you of the LORD, my daughter! . . . And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request . . . .” (Ruth 3:10-11).

Ruth was referred to as ‘Ruth the Moabitess’ five times in the book of the Bible named after her, but when she responded to Boaz/Jesus who asked her who she was, she said, “I am Ruth, your maidservant (bondservant).” But, Boaz/Jesus called her His daughter.

It’s like the song titled, “I am a child of God.” From the very foundations of the world, we were created to be a companion for the Son, Jesus Christ, and to live with Him forever as His bride. The question is, “Do we know who we are?”

Is not the bride of the Bridegroom Jesus the daughter-in-love of The Father?

Boaz married Ruth and their son Obed, whose name means “He who worships,” became the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David. Twenty-eight generations after David, Joseph (of the lineage of David) married Mary, mother of Jesus—the promised Messiah.

Oh, and by the way, Ruth, who left her family back in Moab to follow Naomi’s people and their God in Bethlehem, Israel, had a name that means “friend of God—something worth seeing.”

Is not the bride of the Bridegroom, Jesus/Yeshua, the daughter-in-love of The Father?

“And it shall be in that day,” says the LORD, that you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals [idols and false gods], And they shall be remembered by their name no more” (Hosea 2:16-17)”

“You can’t get too close to me.”

MY TESTIMONY––from bondservant to daughter-in-love: YOU ARE MY VALENTINE, LOVE JESUS

All the above levels in relationship to Jesus Christ correspond to the upward spirals in the supernatural event the LORD gave me in 1994. Click here>>THE FORMING, STORMING, NORMING, & PERFORMING STAGES OF TEAMWORK. 

Remember to pick up your 5-stage Summary with Scriptures>> PRINTABLE 5 Progressive Levels in Relationship with Jesus Christ

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[Scripture references in this post are from the New King James Version of the Bible.]


If you prefer a print workbook, consider ordering GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? Knowing and Experiencing God by His Hebrew Names. It takes the new believer through all stages of maturity to the military bride of Christ. Here is the Table of Contents God Who Are You

M3B Trail of Blood: God as Jehovah Tsidkenu

God is Jehovah Tsidkenu: The Lord our Righteousness, continued:

The Answer to Life is in the Trail of Blood

Trail of Blood

Before we can understand the New Covenant (New Testament), we must understand the old one. It is a trail of blood pointing to the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, like a red thread woven throughout the whole Bible. Please follow that red trail with me:

Trail of Blood

Way back in the Garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit, thereby allowing sin and death to enter the human condition, God cursed the ground and then He cursed the serpent. He told him, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen.3:15). The offspring was Jesus-the man child-who would be satan’s rival. But Jesus would have the final victory. He would someday crush the devil’s head by reversing for mankind the choice that Adam and Eve made for themselves and all their descendants. This is the first reference to the hope of a second “Adam” to come who would choose life for mankind, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous” (Rom.5:19).

The Bible says there were two unique trees in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve could have eaten from the Tree of Life (not forbidden) and lived forever in a heavenly state. Instead, they chose to eat of the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. God banished Adam and Eve from the garden in an act of love so they would not eat of the Tree of Life and forever live in their sin. Their eyes were opened to good and evil; therefore, seeing that they were naked, God clothed them in animal skins-shedding blood to cover them.

Trail of Blood

When Adam and Eve’s sons Cain and Abel were born, their parents taught them to worship God. Cain presented some of the fruit of the ground and Abel the first born of his flocks. God was not pleased with Cain’s offering and told him why:

“Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4: 6-7

This passage has much to do with the attitude of the heart in giving to God. Evidently, God saw Cain’s heart and was not pleased and was warning Cain to beware. Cain did not take heed, because he killed his brother in jealousy. Nevertheless, Abel’s offering involved the shedding of blood, possibly a foreshadowing of the only blood (of Jesus) that would remove sin forever.

Trail of Blood

Approximately 1,500 years later, Noah built an altar to worship God. After the flood, when the ark rested on dry land, Noah took some animals and birds, and sacrificed them on an altar- shedding blood. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart, “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done” (Gen.8:20-21).

Trail of BloodApproximately 400 years after Noah’s ark rested on Mount Ararat, Abraham arrived in Canaan, the land God promised him. The Lord asked of Abraham to bring Him a heifer, a goat and a ram, along with a dove and a young pigeon. This was when God promised Abraham an heir that would come from his own body. After Abraham killed the animals-shedding their blood-and worshipped God with his best offerings, God made a covenant with Abraham to bless him with descendants as numerous as the stars. He also revealed that his offspring would be in bondage in a foreign land for 400 years.

Later, God came to Abraham again to solidify the covenant, telling Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, and sealed the Old Covenant by the rite of circumcision-the shedding of blood. Circumcision is defined in Genesis 17:10-11, for “every male among you . . . in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.”

Trail of Blood

Abraham’s grandson Jacob (son of Isaac and Rebecca), whose name was later changed to Israel, had twelve sons who became the “Children of Israel.” These were the descendants (Israelites) who found themselves as slaves in Egypt for four hundred years. About two hundred years after Abraham’s day, Jacob and his sons went to Egypt to escape a famine in Canaan.

Trail of BloodAfter the 400 years, Moses appeared on the scene to bring deliverance to the Israelites. God brought ten plagues upon the Egyptians in order to persuade the Pharaoh to free His peoples. The tenth plague-which convinced Pharaoh to let the people leave Egypt for the Promised Land of Canaan-brought death to the firstborn of the Egyptians. It was blood from an unblemished lamb, a male, one year old, placed on the doorposts of the Israelites homes that spared their firstborns’ lives. The angel of death passed over their homes when he saw the blood, but took the lives of the Egyptian’s firstborn children and animals, because they did not honor the one true God in their homes.

“Because God spared the firstborn of Israel in the last plague that came over Egypt, all firstborn sons and firstborn animals belonged to God. The animals were sacrificed while the men were redeemed. To be redeemed, the family paid a price to the priest instead of giving their firstborn over to the service of the temple.”2 This was a part of the first covenant, the shedding of blood to gain forgiveness of sin; in other words, redemption. The rest of it resided in keeping the law.

God gave the Law, the Ten Commandments, to Moses, thereby laying the foundation for acceptable attitudes and behavior-rather than just sacrifices-of reverence for God and man. In addition to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, King Saul, King David, and Elijah all shed the blood from firstborn animals, without blemish, offering them to God on an altar in worship to the only true God of heaven and earth.
Moses then wrote down the laws and all the words of the Lord in a book:

Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
-Exodus 24:7-8

Thus, “the covenant that pledged to obey the Law was sealed in blood.”3 The people said, “We will obey.”

Did it happen?

Trail of Blood

This brings us to Jeremiah’s day, approximately 598 B.C.,4 when the Israelites burned incense to false gods until God’s message to Jeremiah came true. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon [present day Baghdad], marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. They set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building was burned down. The people were taken into exile. The bronze, gold and silver from the temple were taken.

Following this, the Jews were under Babylonian, Persian, Egyptian, Syrian and Roman domination until 70 A.D., seventy years after the Messiah, Jesus Christ, came to overturn the choices of Adam and Eve. Is it any wonder that the prophet Isaiah would again foretell of the coming of another covenant? “Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live, I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David” (Isaiah 55:3). This everlasting covenant can only be the New Covenant established through the blood of Jesus Christ of King David’s lineage, for “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin” (Heb.9:22).

The blood of the Lamb Jesus was His Father’s firstborn son whom He sacrificed for many.

God “provided Himself a Lamb” who saved His people from their sin.

The blood of the Lamb brings salvation, just as the blood of the lamb brought salvation to the Israelites from Egypt.

And by that one sacrifice “. . . we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb.10:10). Holy means a state of righteousness. In other words, we are accepted, not for animal sacrifices anymore, but just as we are. Plus, all of mankind is redeemed through Jesus’ blood, but available only to those who choose to accept it.

The apostle Paul, from the New Testament, writes:

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. Hebrews 10:15-18

The Old Covenant was a part of the Old Testament whereby God was preparing one family (Abraham’s), to found one nation (Jewish nation of Israel) to bring one man (Jesus) into the world. Jesus’ purpose was to make the final, once and for all, sacrifice for sin–the second Adam who reversed the choice, and curse, of the first.

The Old Covenant provided for a yearly atonement, meaning covering in Hebrew.5 Only the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, which was where God’s presence resided on earth in the Jewish temple. The High Priest confessed the sins of the people on the head of a goat (called a scapegoat). It was then sent into the wilderness, outside the camp, to be destroyed. During the year, the people made blood covenant sacrifices that pertained to their daily life, but this annual sacrifice for sin in the Old Testament, was only “an annual reminder of sins, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away any sins” (Heb.10:3).

This reminder pointed toward a King who would take away sin forever. In the Old Testament, sins were only covered (atoned). In the New Testament, Jesus defeated satan (crushed his head) by taking the punishment for our sin–eternal death and hell–by going to hell for us,6 so we don’t have to endure that punishment. And sin becomes as though it never existed!

When Jesus died on the cross something else happened that had a profound meaning. At the very moment Jesus gave up His spirit, the curtain leading to the Holy of Holies in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.7 No longer would there be a separation between God and man. Jesus took the place of the High Priest, becoming our Intercessor, or Advocate with the Father. He was the scapegoat, taking upon himself the sin of the whole world, through shedding his blood for us.

Because of the obedience of one man, many have been made righteous by Jehovah Tsidkenu. And, the fellowship that Adam and Eve had in the garden with Elohim–the Creator and Triune God-is restored and available to us today–from our heart to His heart. “God does not justify us because we are worthy, but by justifying us makes us worthy.”8

relationship not religion

Marie knew how to go through the motions of worship–the very same as keeping the laws and requirements of the Old Covenant. She grasped that going to church was important (or to the temple to offer sacrificial offerings), but she had no personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

How did she come to grasp the secrets of the New Covenant as written on the heart? What is the New Covenant anyway? The next chapter will reveal.

1. Spiros Zodiates, Th.D., Executive Editor, The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN 1990), p. 1767.
2. Henry Hampton Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 2000), p. 156.
3. Ibid., p. 148.
4. Adam Clark,LL.D., F.S. A., &c., Clark’s Commentary Volume IV-Isaiah-Malachi (Abington Press, New York, Nashville), p. 313.
5. Zodiates, Key Word Study Bible, p. 1736.
6. See Ephesians 4:9, Acts 2:31, I Peter 3:19 and Revelation 1:18.
7. See Matthew 27:51.
8. Thomas Watson, circa 1557-1592.