It is inspiring to say “Jesus is Lord,” but it can be disturbing when He acts like it.
I saw a report last week from a firm that profiled some of the worst employees ever.
A Burger King worker stood in the lettuce.
A girl serving the snack counter at a fitness place told customers, “I’m not your slave” with expletive-laced rants.
A Wendy’s employee slurped Frosty mix straight from the machine into his mouth.
A Burger King guy came to work sweaty, so he went to the big industrial sink in the rear of the restaurant, stripped down, and took a bath in it.
Every one of these people had a common denominator (other than being terminated). They thought they weren’t being watched. And since they thought they weren’t being watched, they also thought nobody was in charge. And since nobody was in charge, they did whatever they wanted to do.
The Bible tells us Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). We’re also told, “He is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named” (Eph. 1:21). Those are ultimate authority statements.
Not everybody acknowledges this. Mankind tends to think there’s no authority above this world, so they do whatever they want to do. But whenever legitimate authority exists and when people don’t care who it is or what it has said, then by default, their lives will mostly be lived in rebellion.
Why Christian Obedience Loses Momentum
Christians are different. The first thing we do is confess Jesus Christ is Lord (Rom. 10:9). But past that point, our obedience often glides to a stop. We agree to the concept of Christ as Lord, except when it begins to invade our personal space. This is why Jesus asked his disciples, “Why do you call Me Lord, and not do what I say?” (Lk. 6:46). Some of them weren’t making the logical connection that if Christ is Lord of all, then He’s Lord of me, too. I’m part of that “all.”
If this sounds too rigid for your taste, I could reason with you on a number of different levels, but here’s something that ought to resonate:
The safest place for you, your family, your ministry, your spiritual growth, and your future is your obedience to Christ and His word.
A Safe Place
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:24-27).
The ultimate concern here is safety, but what is the secret of the safety? Storms hit both of the men mentioned, so we can’t say one guy got all the breaks, while the other didn’t.
The fact is one decided to build his life on the words of Jesus. He heard and did. The other heard and decided not to do, thinking he would try to game things and still obtain a positive outcome. It didn’t work and never does. Sooner or later, the latter guy will always suffer a “great fall” meaning, a catastrophic end.
The words of Jesus are the only safe foundation for a human life.
Amateur geologists love to hunt for geodes, rocks that at have beautiful crystals at their core. Geodes are typically tougher than the softer rock and earth around them. When everything else erodes, they remain. They are like the word of Christ, enduring the onslaught of hostile elements and outlasting everything else.
Though hearing and doing the Word of God is the safest thing for us, sometimes we get to a place where that Word makes some incredibly personal demands. In those moments, we want to replace obedience with negotiations, telling ourselves that our situations are special or complicated. Actually, every situation is complicated.
We’ve seen too many sports figures lose their games, too many Christian men and women lose their testimonies, too many leaders lose their ministries, and too many churches lose their overall value because they ignored certain specifics of the Word. Life on the rock isn’t always comfortable, but it is infinitely safer than building your life on the sand and throwing yourself into the hands of the devil.
The Hard Road Will Take You to Better Places
“Safe” means we’re not only safe from something, but safe for something.
Changing metaphors, Jesus said,
“Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
When Jesus used the word “hard” in those verses, He was being honest. There’s often a struggle related to staying under His Lordship, but look where the struggle leads. Life. Contrary to what we might think, remaining on this road does not cause a person to become miserable, but more spiritually alive.
Years back a Christian woman who had read some of my online articles contacted me via email. She was having marital problems. Her situation neither involved adultery nor domestic violence, but she still had a litany of complaints about her husband that included words like, “Plain, irritating, distant, flat, boring.” It began to sound like a wind-up pitch for separation.
Somewhere in the exchange, I asked her if she was committed to Christ as Lord. She said yes. I pressed further, asking if her commitment included what the Lord had said about the very limited grounds for divorce. Again, she said yes.
In other words, based on the authority of Jesus, she was not going to pursue an easy-out.
I told her, “Okay, you are about to become more spiritual than you have ever been in your life. You will get to know Jesus ten times better than you do now.”
I explained that this didn’t mean some kind of magic was going to happen just because she was willing to occupy a stale, loveless marriage. But as she prayed for the filling of the Holy Spirit every day, forgave and sought forgiveness, pursued communication with her husband, and looked for help in the faith community, something wonderful would happen. For one thing, she would be led to life. Her marriage would probably benefit. And all of this would transpire under the Lordship of Jesus.
We live in a world that encourages us to give in and take the wide, easy way. That’s because everybody feels good at the start of that road. Nobody likes to talk about where it leads—destruction.
Odds are you’re probably locked in some type of private controversy with Jesus, even as you read these words. But remember, God does not turn away from those who seek to obey Him. His grace provides us with His Word and His Spirit for power, the blood of His Son for failures, and positive faith companionships for morale.
Don’t give up, because as long as Christ is Lord of your personal space, you’ll be safely on the rock, and you’ll be thriving on the road.
Part 1 of a 4 part series