“The journey by which we discover God is also the journey by which we discover, or uncover, our true self hidden in God. It is also a journey that we all have to make. It is easy to play the world’s game which is the power game, the game which depends on setting myself apart from others, distinguishing myself, seeking the limelight and looking for applause. I find that it is only too easy to become compulsive in my continual need for affirmation, for more and more affirmation, as I anxiously ask who am I? Am I the person that is liked, admired, praised, seen as successful? My whole attitude towards myself becomes determined by the way which others see me. I compare myself with others, and I try to emphasize what is different and distinctive about me. Those three temptations which Christ faced are equally my own temptations; to be relevant, to be spectacular and to be powerful. Am I able like Christ to put them down? Am I prepared to shed all these outer shells, of false ambition, of pride? Am I ready to admit that the mask is a disguise put on to cover up the insecure self? And the Armour a shield to protect the vulnerable self? Am I ready to receive a new self-based not on what I can achieve, but on what I am willing to receive?” -Esther De Waal.
I stumbled upon this very long quote on the web late last year and I remember it stubbed me. It came alive to me because I could relate with the very things Esther De Waal (she has a worldwide reputation as a writer, speaker and retreat leader) was talking about. The above quote is from a book ‘living with contradictions’ she has written. These words prompted a chain of thought reactions in my heart especially how it starts and talks about how Christianity is a journey. I for one remember starting out on salvation. I can’t quite say when I got saved because I was born and raised up in a Christian setting but I can point out and say that the day I fully grasped what salvation is all about was in my high school years. Oh and I remember myself in those early days and I could relate completely with Esther’s words…seeking the limelight, distinguishing myself , looking for applause and a continual need for affirmation, these were the very things I struggled and I still struggle with. As I continued over time to reminisce over my early salvation days I decided to go back to the basics. For one I had never been through any basics, my Christianity was founded upon my Christian upbringing up until the day in high school when I discovered relationship as opposed to religion.
CHRIST AS LORD
But what does it say? The Word (God’s message in Christ) is near you, on your lips and in your heart; that is, the Word (the message, the basis and object) of faith which we preach. Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.–Amplified bible
See also 1st Corinthians 15:1-8
These verses give us the fundamentals of getting saved, that;
1. Confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and,
2. Believe in your heart that God raised Christ from the dead.
We all started from here more or less, by confessing and believing. Now the web explains confess as to acknowledge something, admit and further gives the synonyms as concede and profess. The Greek word for confess is homologeo and it is described as assent, declare and agree with. Now contextually, it would be if you agree, acknowledge and assent that Christ is Lord. This brings out the aspect that confessing is not a one-time event. Confessing ceases to be just that one time that you made a new believers prayer and it becomes a day-to-day experience. At the end of day when we say that Christ is Lord it just can’t be empty words. So the question becomes, what are we confessing? What are we experiencing and encountering? The lordship of Christ.
Lord means ruler. The Hebrew word for Lord is Adonai which translates to master. Christ as Lord means that we uphold Him as overall ruler of our lives. It means that we are admitting that we can’t do it by ourselves, that we are deliberately having Him as the master of our soul and entrusting Him with our life. Unless Jesus is Lord of ALL, He is not Lord at all. This is a challenge to bring every single area of our lives under the sovereign rule of Jesus Christ. There ought to be no rivalry for His throne. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior it involves recognition of His Lordship. Growing up in a Christian family I was not introduced to Christ as Lord. We can’t receive Him as Savior only. We receive Him as Savior and Lord.
SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY
When thinking about Christ as Lord the aspect of total submission always comes up and when thinking about the entire life of a person, we think about the various parts that make up a person.
1st Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.–NKJV
Paul talks about the whole person as being made up of the soul, body and spirit. Everyone has an inner, private and unseen to the natural eye aspect of life and the outer, public aspect with which we come into contact with people in our day-to-day lives. Jesus desires that these two aspects be under His sovereign rule. The inner aspect; the Spirit and the soul contain the mind, emotions and the will. It is in our spirit and soul that we feel, think, decide, choose and dream. Is Jesus Lord over this area of your life? Solomon in proverbs 4:23 says, keep your heart with all diligence for out of it springs the issues of life.
The outward aspect involves our entire body, the ears, eyes, lips. Our public life is expressed by what we see, hear, where we go and what we do. It is important that Jesus be Lord over this area too. Our public life also includes the context of home, school, neighborhood and the workplace. In the light of its relationships with our family, friends, classmates and neighbors. We need to see it in its entire attitude towards possessions, obligations, the use of time and resources and responsibilities. Is Jesus Lord of your thoughts? Is Jesus Lord of your emotions? Is Jesus Lord of your speech? Is Jesus Lord of your possessions? Is Jesus Lord of your every being?
THE ASPECT OF OBEDIENCE
As a growing Christian surrender is an area that God is slowly working on in me because there are times I would desire God to take over but only on my terms and conditions. I put restrictions on what Jesus can be Lord over. We like to give God the possessions of our house but claim authority over a nail on a wall where we are quick to claim control over. As we begin to surrender all areas of our lives, little by little and day by day God will require that we obey His voice. I especially love the response of Elijah to Gods voice in 1st kings 17 and 18. It was immediate and exact.
But why do you call me ‘Lord’,’ Lord’ and do not do the things which I say?
We desire that God becomes master but when He finally tells us move, we are no longer sure. We somewhat want to dictate or have a say. Is your obedience up to date?
The most amazing thing that stills my heart every time is that God has tremendously good plans for us. Plans to prosper us and not to harm us and to top it all up He, the creator of the universe and containment of goodness loves us. There is no need for worry or doubt. God loves you.
Accordant to the above message check out the following songs
surrender- Jeremy Camp, Be Still- Gabriel Wilson, Forevermore- Chris Quilala, Surrender- Beautiful Eulogy and Tug of War- Andy Mineo.