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“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
Luke 6:46 (NASB)
The website religionnews.com recently reported the results of a 2014 Pew Religious Landscape study of where various religious denominations stood on the issues of same-sex marriage and the role of government.
As one might expect given the number of religious affiliations included in the study – 34 by my count – the responses were quite wide-ranging.
What initially piqued my interest in this report was a desire to better understand where specific denominations stood, particularly those which most people might identify as “Christian,” on the aforementioned issues and to what extent, if any, the results might reflect the biblical worldview of the individual respondents.
Our world today is such that surveys like this Pew study can no longer be viewed merely as pulse-checks or snapshots of what people feel or think at a given moment about a certain topic.
Increasingly, inquiries like these are proving to be windows that provide insight into people’s core beliefs and values; deeply held convictions which, for better or worse, end up influencing the broader culture around us.
For the Christian, belief is no small matter.
But is belief where it all ends?
That is, should the faith we possess ultimately result in an application of God’s objective truth to every area of our life or, conversely, are we free to subjectively determine the degree to which His precepts are to guide us in navigating the complex issues confronting us in this present day?
To be sure, the questions I am posing have less to do with free will as a matter of doctrine, and more to do with the extent to which we who profess the name of Christ hold to the conviction that the Word of God is truly authoritative (Luke 6:46.)
In other words, for the Christian anyway, the degree to which the Word of God shapes and regulates (or should) our worldview is really a matter of Christ’s “lordship” over our life, and our willingness (or lack thereof) to submit our own personal opinions, feelings, and perspectives on the matters of this life through the authority of His divine jurisdiction.
“When the lordship of Jesus is a settled issue in the Christian’s life, all other issues are settled.” – Dr. Roger D. Willmore, Pastor at First Baptist Church, Boaz, Alabama
The lordship of Christ is as much a mindset by which all believers should live as it is a doctrine to which we should all subscribe. To that end, I would invite you to consider the words of Reformed theologian, Dr. R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries, who emphasizes that the lordship of Christ,
“…does not depend upon our submission to it or our recognition of it. It is God who has made Him the King of the Kings. It is God who has made Him the Lord of the Lords. And if I don’t submit to His Lordship or if I ignore His Lordship, I don’t thereby demolish His Lordship. It is a fait accompli that God has decreed. God has made Him Lord. And therefore, we are under obligation to submit to His authority.”
One of the most challenging aspects of living the Christian life is yielding our will to God.
What makes our obedience in this area so challenging is our sin (Galatians 5:16-25.)
We may not want to admit it but, if we were honest we would have to confess that all too often we want what we want, not what God wants for us.
In a world filled with uncertainty, it is our desire to be in control of the situations and circumstances of our life that causes us to struggle with trusting God with the outcome of choosing to submit our lives entirely to Him.
But, be encouraged.
You are not alone in that struggle.
Holding fast to the authority of the Word of God against the incessant temptations and allurements of an ungodly world is a battle we all face (1 Peter 5:9).
Willingly yielding ourselves to the will and plan of a sovereign God, despite how the world would have us believe and live (1 John 2:15-16), is what the apostle Peter is speaking of in his exhortation to us to “sanctify” (or “set apart”) Christ as Lord in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15).
These words of Peter should so penetrate our heart that there is no aspect of our life to which the lordship of Christ’s does not apply.
It is one thing to have a cognitive awareness that Christ is “Lord” simply on the basis that we know in our mind that the Bible says that about Him, but it is another thing altogether to be persuaded of His “lordship” in our heart, so that we live out that reality in a manner that exemplifies all that His authority as Lord of our life entails (1 Peter 4:2).
The Lordship of Christ is the essence of what it means to be a Christian.
We tend to get the ‘Savior’ part right about Jesus.
It’s that ‘Lord’ part we often struggle with.
Humbly in Christ,