Saturday, May 04, 2013

Three Stages of a Godly Life


by Rick Blumenberg / @rickblumenberg


The word Israel means "He Struggles with God". It was given to Jacob as a new name that better described his relationship with God and became the name of his descendants.

The stages of a godly life are defined by our struggles, especially those we experi­ence with God. If, in a lifetime we go all the way through, experiencing all three stages, life usually comes to a good ending. If we get stuck in stage one or two—not so much.

Here is my take on the three stages of a Godly life. If you would like a scriptural background for this writing a scripture is given for each stage. 

The Jacob Stage

This stage (Genesis 32:28 and 35:9-11) consists of resisting God, even trying to run from him, and often, after partial surrender, continuing to question God’s call. The norm for this stage is running from God and fighting with God and it continues until we realize it is futile. This stage of Jacob’s life was so consistent God finally changed his name to Israel, meaning “He struggles with God”.

Jacob struggled with God throughout most of his life. We only move out of this stage by genuine conver­sion. But it is possible to be partially converted and remain stuck here for a long, long time. 

The Inner Demon Stage

The inner demon stage of life (Mark 9:14-24) is when there is a desire to know God, but our inner demons continually fight to drag us back to a life without God.

During this stage we struggle to accept God's help, as we overcome inner, innate resistance to God's Lordship. This stage follows genuine conversion as we struggle together with God, trying to learn how to give him genuine Lordship over all of life.

We struggle, but with God's help, perhaps to right past wrongs perpetrated in the days of rebellion, or other challenges from our pre-Christian life in learning to be like Jesus. While trying to serve God faithfully, the struggle here is in learning how to do so. Learning to trust God is not easy and this struggle may be intense.

We move out of this stage through full sanctification, when we totally surrender all of life to God. It is possible to be fully saved, but resist sanctifica­tion and remain stuck here a long time. Serving God this way is hard work as we try to do the Spirit's work instead of depending totally on him to do his work in us. 

The Stephen Stage

Acts 7:54-60 describes the sanctified life of Stephen, the first known martyr among Christ-followers. This is a time of wholeheartedly desiring the Will of God. Stephen had no struggle against God. All his energy worked with God as he struggled to accomplish godly goals and purposes.

In this stage God’s goals are our goals. We work fully with God and all struggles are in the power of God through God’s Holy Spirit. This is when we most experience God's blessing. Serving God this way is pure joy even in difficult times. When we leave this stage the right way, we go to heaven! 

Note these are not really "time", but "sequence" stages. Each stage lasts until we finally understand and are led by God into the next phase. These three stages are normal stages of Christian growth, but the time spent in each can vary greatly from person to person. It is important to understand that salvation through Christ is all that's required for heaven. The purpose of sanctification is to help us live the Christ-like life here on earth. 

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

   

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