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9 Ways to Deepen Your Joy and Relationship with Christ (Metaphors from the Lips of Jesus)

man with arms extended with joy, welcoming a rising sun
Updated December 25, 2023

Nothing brings joy like a close, deep relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus gave us a TREASURE trove of metaphors to help us understand how to grow in our relationship with Him.

Let’s take a look . . .

(cover photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash)

Of all the blog posts I have ever written, this is my favorite.

Check out these stunning, life-transforming statements, directly from the lips of Jesus.

Understanding these requires insight from the Holy Spirit and some quiet time. Ask for guidance in your heart.Jesus walking on sand

What Jesus Said The Relationship He Wants with Us

“I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus wants to be our light. By believing and trusting Him, His light enters us. We begin to see our own darkness.

His teachings help us comprehend truth and apply it in our daily lives. As we obey, we see even more.

Through this relationship, we are blessed with:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Hope that we can emerge from darkness

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven.” (John 6:51)

Jesus is our spiritual food. He feeds our souls.

Jesus’s teachings, love, and grace fill our human, spiritual emptiness.

Through this relationship, we are blessed with:

  • Inner peace and satisfaction, like a healthy nourishing meal for our bodies

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus is the ultimate authority. He is our source of direction, truth, and spiritual life.

Jesus fulfills so many needs in our lives that He chose to bundle several of His provisions together in this very rich statement. He is the only way we can live with God forever.

Through these relationships, we are blessed with:

  • An example to follow
  • A model of godly attributes that He wants to develop within us

“I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.” (John 10:9)

Similar to above, Jesus is the one and only way we can be saved. The door analogy is helpful because it emphasizes a single point of entry.

Through this relationship, we are blessed with:

  • A promise of life with God in eternity
  • Confidence that we need not look elsewhere for guidance or salvation

“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Jesus is our loving and capable protector.

Jesus saves us from the consequences and burden of our own sins by giving His life for us, His sheep.

Jesus leads us to safe places for our nourishment and fends off enemies. He even hunts for us if we wander away from Him, as a devoted shepherd would do.

Through this relationship, we are blessed with:

  • Forgiveness, through His atoning sacrifice
  • Personalized, daily feeding and care
  • The promise that He will seek after us no matter how we have behaved

“I am the vine, ye are the branches . . . without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Jesus is our source of power to do good.

Jesus presented this analogy to His apostles prior to their acting in challenging roles to preach the gospel. Jesus warned that they could not succeed without staying connected to Him.

Through this relationship, we are blessed with:

  • Wisdom and power from Christ, enabling us to effectively serve our families, communities, and the world

“I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25)

Jesus is our source of spiritual life and physical resurrection.

By connecting spiritual and physical life into one statement, Jesus helps us understand His all-encompassing ability to save us—even from death!

Through this relationship, we are blessed with:

  • Assurance that believing in Him with all our hearts leads to eternal life, even after death in this world.

“Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.” (John 13:13)

Jesus is our Master and Lord. It cannot be stated more plainly.

Masters have slaves and, in a very real sense, we are slaves to Him who purchased us. He expects us to strive to obey His commandments. (For more insight, read this important post: A Surprisingly Liberating Truth: Slave of Christ.)

Through this relationship, we are blessed with:

  • Greater humility
  • Accurate understanding of Jesus’s Lordship over us
  • Motivation to “take Him more seriously” and obey

In these eight metaphors, Jesus Christ taught that He is our light, our bread, our path, our door, our shepherd, our vine, the giver of our life after death, and our Master.

Eight? But didn’t the title of this article say there were nine relationships? 

The Ninth Relationship: Our Yoked Partner

Yes, I’ve chosen to feature nine relationships (and there are even more).

In some ways, I like this ninth relationship best because it’s so understandable and practical. Jesus taught:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30, KJV)

In Jesus’s time—and even today—yokes are a necessary and common tool to partner oxen together.

Oxen yoked together with farmer behind
Photo credit: Varun Verma on Unsplash

The yoke metaphor emphasizes that God wants us to be actively doing things and working with Him, not just sitting all day and trying to “feel happy.”

I appreciate this very clear description from Christianity.com.

“Two oxen are chosen to share a yoke. The first is an older seasoned ox. He is trained and hardy from years of routine. The second is a new young ox. He has potential but is inexperienced. By sharing the same yoke with a veteran workhorse, the elder trains the young.

“Not only that, but the experienced one draws harder to bear the majority of the load. Since the older one leads, the younger ox does not have to wonder what to do. He learns from his mentor and gains the knowledge and skill to teach others.

“This very much resembles discipleship. Jesus invites us to ‘learn of Him’ which is another way of stating ‘be my disciple.’ There’s peace in not having to figure life out on our own. There’s assurance as we follow His lead.

“Jesus also declares that His yoke is easy. The word ‘easy’ here doesn’t imply ‘simple’, but ‘good’. If I’m yoked to Jesus, there’s peace in being yoked to someone good, loving, and patient.

“The paraphrase? ‘Get in the yoke with me. Let me disciple You. I’ll bear the weight of your burden. My yoke is good and you will find rest and companionship in our labor together.’” (See What Is Yoke in the Bible? Meaning & Importance of Jesus’ Teaching.)

Isn’t that a lovely way to think of our daily relationship with the Lord? By believing and trusting Him enough to be baptized and commit to a life of discipleship, we put our head into a yoke with Him! It is a pleasing yoke because we are partnered with the perfect, strongest, and kindest partner ox we could ever have. He knows what we are capable of and never expects us to pull more than we can. And He always makes up the difference. Yoked with Jesus, we always get the job done, with grace! 🙂

Nine Ways to Contemplate God’s Love and Gifts

May you feel enriched as you contemplate each of these nine ways that Jesus wants to have a relationship with us:

  • Our Light
  • Our Bread
  • Our Way, Truth, and Life
  • Our Door
  • Our Good Shepherd
  • Our Vine
  • Our Resurrection
  • Our Master and Lord
  • Our Yoked Partner
Seen all together, the list is quite a jaw-dropper.
What man has the right to say, “I am the person you should look to. I’m it. I’m everything to you. Without me, you are nothing”? No man has the right, only God.
I love the Lord Jesus. His gifts to us are so all-encompassing! He is worthy of all praise.

Learn More about Christ

Learn more about the life and teachings of the Master Himself, as if you were there.

Listen to these free, instantly accessible audiobook samples from “Jesus Christ, His Life and Mine: The Story of Jesus and How It Applies to Us in the Twitter Era,” narrated by the author.

Click any of the “Play” buttons in the bars below. (Note: You may have to click the “launch in new window” button that appears at the right when you hover over a bar instead of the Play button; this varies.)

Introduction. Why is this book non-denominational? What can I expect to get out of it?

Chapter 1: Before Christ. What was going on at the time Jesus was born? What happened to His parents to prepare them?

Chapter 14: The Fish, the Coin and the King. This is a little-known but fascinating story about the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the miracle He uses to teach Peter a lesson while bailing him out of a sticky situation.

BONUS Chapter 23: What If Believing Is Hard for Me? This chapter is designed for you if you are reluctant to believe in things that you can’t see and you need more evidence before you believe.

About the Author. Learn some surprising things about the author and narrator of this book. Understand why this book is so important what prompted the author to write it.

Connect with christ like never before

If you would like to dramatically deepen your connection to Jesus Christ, this resource is among the easiest and fastest ways to learn and apply the life and teachings of Jesus to modern contexts. (eBook cover shown below)

What if you could eyewitness the life of Jesus from His birth to resurrection—as if you were there?

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You’ll love how this modern approach to practical faith helps you:

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What readers are saying:

The two reviews below were among the first.

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To see the latest reviews and preview the first few chapters on Amazon, click here.

R Christian Bohlen with bookstore owners at a recent Christian book conference

R Christian Bohlen with bookstore owners at a recent Christian book conference


Estimated Reading Time:
5 – 6 minutes

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