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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 provide insight into people’s core beliefs and values, those 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 simply believing where it all ends?
Should the faith we possess ultimately result in our applying God’s objective truth to every area of our life or, conversely, are we free to subjectively determine the degree to which His precepts 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 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 Scriptures shape and regulate our worldview is really a matter of the “lordship” of Christ 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. As difficult as it might be for us to admit, the truth is, more often than not we want what we want not what God wants.
Our problem is we want to control the outcomes of the situations and circumstances we face, and it is that uncertainty that causes us to struggle with this matter of the lordship of Jesus.
It is a battle all believers face (1 Peter 5:9).
But, be encouraged.
You are not alone in that struggle.
What we must understand is that 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 in our heart, so that we are motivated to live out that reality in a manner that exemplifies all that His authority as Lord entails (1 Peter 4:2.)
The lordship of Christ is the quintessence of what it means to be a Christian.
We tend to get the ‘Savior’ part right about Jesus.
It’s the ‘Lord’ part that we often struggle with.
Humbly in Christ,