Last week my husband and I were watching the Big Bang Theory. Sheldon, one of the main characters, is the son of a “good baptist woman” from Texas, but as a scientist rejects the existence of God. When he and his friends almost miss the opportunity to buy tickets to see the new Star Wars movie, however, Sheldon dropped to his knees and began praying. He said,
“Lord! This is Sheldon Cooper. You’re good friends with my mom. I know I’ve spent my life denying that you exist [then the guys announce they got through and got the tickets]…and I will continue to do so!”
This near prayer is poignantly accurate on many levels, spiritually. He verbalizes what many of us unknowingly and/or unintentionally do. We know that Jesus is Lord, but we do not submit to Him in our daily lives and we consider Him our cosmic genie who helps us out in our moments of distress and need. Sheldon needed tickets to see Star Wars, so he turned to Jesus to make it happen, but as soon as he got what he wanted he walked away.
Now, I would venture to guess that none of us are so aware of our pettiness and if we call ourselves Christians we would never verbalize (or even realize) that we live most of our lives as though Jesus does not exist. If we honestly look at our day-to-day lives, however, how true would we find it to be? There are a few key points that we need to recognize here:
First of all, Jesus is Lord. When we turn to prayer, or when we start to explain Jesus to someone else, often times the term we use is “Lord”. Unfortunately, lord is an old-english word that we rarely use today, mostly because there is no one who functions in the office of lord in our daily lives. Lord, generically defined, is someone who has power or authority, but the office of lord in the feudal system was one to whom a vassal owed complete sworn allegiance. The lord had authority, as a ruler and influencer, but there was a greater bond than boss/employee, it was overarching all of life. The vassal was dependent upon and loyal to the lord.
This is the implication of Jesus as Lord we must understand. As a Christian, we depend upon Christ for life and sustenance, and we are loyal to Him in our daily activities and lifestyles. He has written the moral law, the expectations and outlines of life, and we submit to and obey them, while depending on Him for the ability to do so. Jesus is both authority and life giver.
Thus, the second point is clear: we do not make Him Lord. My father has a pet peeve in Christian-isms, and that is the exhortation to “Make Jesus your Lord”. The sentiment is right, but the wording is wrong. Jesus is Lord. When He arose from the dead and ascended back to Heaven, He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Mark 16.19). He has been given all authority over Heaven and Earth (Matt 22.18). He holds the keys to Hell (Rev 1.18). He is the judge who will welcome some to eternal life and send others to Hell (Rev 20.11-15). He is Lord. He is in charge. We do not have any authority or power to make Him Lord, we only choose to submit or rebel against Him.
Our salvation depends on our submission, however. Sheldon was right. Jesus is Lord, however he is sadly living as though He does not exist. Paul teaches us clearly about salvation:
“…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…”
– Rom 10.9
Salvation is our recognition of our sin guilt, belief that Jesus paid that debt, and submission to Him as our Lord. We cannot ask Him to forgive us and continue on in life doing our own thing. When we confess our sins, the Holy Spirit begins the work of changing us and enabling us to kill our sinful passions and live a life to the glory and honor of God. He actually changes our passions so that we desire to live holy and righteous lives, and we hate those things that God hates. If you do not hate your sin, chances are that the Holy Spirit is not indwelling you, Jesus is not your Lord, and you are not saved.
In summary, Jesus is the Lord. He has been exalted above all of creation and given all authority and power.
“Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
– Phil 2.9-11
We do not make Him Lord, rather we choose to submit to Him or choose to rebel against Him. And our eternity depends on that critical daily decision.
“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.“
– Heb 10.26-27
The authority and power is not in our hands. We cannot make Jesus our Lord. He already is. So let’s humble ourselves today, confess Him as Lord anew, and walk by the power of the Holy Spirit in submission to Him. Recognize sin as how He defines sin. Hate the things that He hates. Love the things that He loves. Obey the commandments He has given, to love God, love our neighbors, bless our enemies and make disciples of all nations.