Ok, friends…this isn’t the Friday feel-good post…but I feel like you are my people…you are with me in wrestling with truth and challenging ourselves to live it, so here goes...
“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities BELIEVED in him, but for FEAR of the Pharisees they did NOT confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from MAN more than the glory that comes from GOD.” John 12:43-44
Y’all! I’m so afraid this is where many of us are. We’ve gotten to the point of belief, but we are stuck there. The glory of man seductively slips its way into first place in our hearts. We’re not afraid to be put out of the Jewish synagogue, but we have our own “synagogues” we aren’t willing to sacrifice…things we prioritize that are keeping Jesus from His rightful Lordship position in our lives.
As the brother of Jesus reminded us, “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” (James 2:19)
Belief is not the same as declaring Jesus as Lord and Savior. The devil believes and still remains his own lord.
What does it look like to have Jesus as the Lord of our lives? He is the ruler, master, authority, and boss. Of. Everything; All. Of. Us. It is yielding our life to Him. Absolute and total surrender. We are not our own. He is the one we want to impress. He is the voice we want to listen to above all others.
S.M. Zwemer says, “Unless Jesus is Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.” Ouch!
We are quick to say we believe and confess Jesus is Lord and Savior on Sundays or in our quiet time, but do we understand what these words mean; do we live these words? Yes, we believe Jesus is Lord of all things in the macro sense, but is Jesus in a Lordship position over our individual lives? I’m wrestling with this today…for myself and as I am hearing from parents who are slowing losing their believing children to the world. My heart is so burdened over this. We will drift when we aren’t anchored in the Lordship of Jesus.
Earlier in this chapter of John, Jesus gives us a picture of what it looks like to have Jesus as Lord… “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:24-26
In other words, only by the seed “dying” or being buried in the ground, willing to transform, does it grow and bear fruit. Remaining just a seed, it sits alone and unproductive; not fulfilling the purpose of its creation. Unless we are willing to lose our life, we will never keep it for eternity. As long as we cling to ourselves as our own lord, we lose. We are terrible lords. On our own we are just unplanted seeds being carried away by the latest gust of wind. Unfulfilled, stuck in a cycle of striving, comparison, envy, pride, dissatisfaction. The answer to true life is in the dying. Being buried to take root in Jesus. Dying to us as lord of our lives and blooming with Jesus as Lord. It seems terrifying and unknown and counter-cultural, so we cling to what we know, chasing the fake bright lights and bling that are the devil’s crafty distortion of the true light.
I fear we believe in Jesus, but our heart is still in a full-on battle with the world. And we can’t successfully serve two masters. We like the idea of Jesus as Savior, but not so much of Jesus as LORD OF OUR LIFE. We love the identity we try to create, copy and portray more than we love the identity given to us by our Creator. We love the purpose we covet more than the greater purpose we were designed for. We love the glory that comes from peers, status, comfort, control, worldly achievement, human accolades more than the glory that comes from God.
How do we break free? How do we love God more than the world? How do we move from belief to surrender? We can’t just will it to happen. It is impossible without God. I’m especially burdened about this among teens today. How do we help kids get there in their world of cliques, insecurity, seductive ads, snapchat, ungodly role models, Instagram filters, stirring emotions? I fear we brush too many things off as “kids being kids,” but any time we push Jesus off the throne of our will, we create a void the devil is happy to fill.
I would LOVE your thoughts on this. What I do know is to pray. A LOT. To point myself and others to the Word of God and a commitment to quiet time to let the Spirit work in us. Only God can do this. What else do you guys have? I’d love to hear how God is working through you in this space… personally and among teens in your life. I’m so thankful for a patient and loving God who forgives us over and over and over again when we confess our constant attempts at taking the reigns of lordship from Him.
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