I was having a conversation with a friend several weeks ago, and she made a comment that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. I really can’t recall the exact details of what we were discussing, but I do distinctly remember this statement: “Well, people can say they are a Christian, but the bigger question is this—Is Jesus Lord?” This one statement has genuinely challenged me to think deeply about the Lordship of Jesus Christ in my own life. It’s easy to wear the label “Christian,” but allowing Jesus to be Lord requires yielding our lives—all if it—to Him. In other words, we’re not in charge.
In the New Testament, Peter was writing to the persecuted church. While many were suffering for their faith, he offered these words of encouragement.
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. I Peter 3:15 ESV
In your hearts, honor Christ the Lord as holy. There so much packed into this simple statement. Do you notice where His Lordship begins? In our hearts. When we accept Jesus into our heart, the issue of salvation is settled. He is our Savior (Romans 10:9). Jesus is also Lord (2 Corinthians 4:5). However, it is up to us whether or not we allow Him to be Lord in our lives. S.M. Zwemer makes a sobering statement about the Lordship of Jesus Christ: “Unless Jesus is Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.”
At some point in our Christian walk we have to settle this issue in our hearts, not just our heads. Are we going to bring every area of our lives under the sovereign rule of Jesus Christ, or are we going to hold onto the parts we want to control? Paul’s statement in Thessalonians and his admonishment in Romans reminds us that God wants all of us starting with our hearts—the inner sanctuary that controls our mind, emotions, and will. This is where the battles are fought, and the battles can’t be won if Jesus isn’t Lord.
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. I Thessalonians 5:23
Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Romans 6:13
Submitting to the Lordship of Jesus Christ transpires on a daily basis. It isn’t a one-time event. If you, like me, find yourself getting in the way sometimes, you might want to memorize this verse.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11
There is no question who is Lord. When we allow Jesus to be Lord of our whole lives, we are empowered to be so much more and do so much more than we could possibly imagine.
WHEN JESUS IS LORD, WE CAN BE…
· CONFIDENT. After Peter prioritized the Lordship of Christ, he assured us we would be able to give a defense as to our hope in Jesus (always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you). We don’t have to timid or intimidated. We can heed the words of David in Psalm 118:6, The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? When Jesus is Lord, we can be confident in knowing who we are and whose we are. As a result, we welcome the opportunity to tell others about Jesus!
· HUMBLE. Our confidence paves the way for humility and gentleness (yet do it with gentleness and respect). The great gift of salvation is not meant to be hoarded but shared. Unfortunately, too many Christians have tried to beat people over the head with the Gospel. Their method of sharing is in direct contrast to Paul’s charge in Colossians 3:12. Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. When Jesus is Lord, our approach reflects His holiness as we remember He is in charge, not us.
· SERVANT-MINDED. Humility causes us to see others as more important than ourselves. When Jesus is Lord we strive to emulate His example. He was all about servanthood. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:3-5
Allowing Jesus to be Lord of our lives doesn’t just happen. These words of Jesus make the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins. Luke 6:46-49
Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, “Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.” But I will reply, “I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.” Matthew 7:21-23
Obedience is serious business. Obedience is an expression of our faith. Obedience reflects a heart change. When Jesus is Lord, when we let Him be in charge, His presence changes us.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23.
Who doesn’t want a life filled with these? All it takes is letting go of the reigns and giving God every part of ourselves one decision, one action, one response, one day at a time. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is probably one of the most important truths of the Christian life. When Jesus is truly Lord, priorities, attitudes, and actions change. It doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes or have bad days. We will, but a yielded life to Christ is an abundant life full of confidence, humility, and servanthood. We just have to settle one question.
Who is in charge?