Morning talk show hosts are now somehow ‘experts’ on Christians, the Church and Scripture. Bloggers with no means of accountability can create ‘hashtag’ campaigns that take aim at anyone who disagrees with them. Complex, real-life issues with real-life consequences are boiled down to click-bait-style memes, created and shared by people hiding behind keyboards and computer screens. It seems that because something becomes popular, culture deems it also to be true. I think as a Young Adult generation, in amongst all of this ‘noise’ we’ve lost sight of what true biblical Lordship is. We are missing what it is to live the “abundant life” that Jesus came to give us [John 10:10].
Popular opinion tells us to ‘do whatever makes us happy’, to ‘trust our emotions’, and that ‘truth is subjective’: it makes me happy so I don’t need to consider how my actions might affect someone else. At the first sign of things becoming difficult and causing strain on our ‘emotional well-being,’ we pull out. Truth is based on our feelings at any given moment and becomes fluid with what’s popular or convenient, instead of on He who is constant and never changing. Sound familiar?
The issue with making these the standards of how we live is that they place us as the highest authority in our lives. What we want, what we feel and what we decide holds the most weight in our decision making. Living like this is totally absent of the Lordship of Jesus, that says He alone has the ultimate power and authority in our lives that we welcomed in at salvation.
The Lordship of Jesus is unavoidable. His ultimate power and authority over everything, even the living and the dead [Romans 14:9] doesn’t discriminate based on whether we acknowledge or reject Him as Lord. Matthew 6:26-28 elaborates on His provision given to the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. Revelation 22:13 speaks of Him as the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. His Lordship extends from the smallest flower in a hidden field right through to being the very beginning and end of everything, even time itself. This kind of Lordship requires more than a half-hearted commitment to a relationship. It demands a re-arranging of our entire lives.
I am convinced that the entire Christian life only makes sense through the lens of the Lordship of Jesus, which places Him as the ultimate authority in our lives and over everything. But sadly, I think for many Young Adults in the Church, our salvation has been watered down to a consumeristic product; a ‘golden ticket’ that secures our place in eternity, and His Lordship over every area of our lives is an optional extra. It’s as if our faith was like health insurance, for example. We’ve all got the base package that includes eternal security, but somewhere along the way, submitting everything to the Lordship of Jesus became an optional ‘extra’ that only some choose to ‘add-on.’
Beyond our initial salvation moment, we need to remember that when we said ‘yes’ to Jesus, we said ‘yes’ to letting go of our experiences, our emotions and our opinions being the leading forces in our lives. ‘Me, myself and I’ were put to death with Jesus, but only Jesus was supposed to walk out of the tomb. Instead, our generation continues to walk around wearing graveclothes, that reek of the stench of ‘selective’ Lordship. We live as if we can selectively resurrect whatever it is we please, whenever we please. If it suits our current emotional state, what’s popular in the culture at any given moment or aligns itself with our immediate wants, we put the Lordship of Jesus on pause like it’s a song playing in the background of our lives. Then, when a need arises that we can’t meet by our own means, we hit play and the sweet sounds of provision and grace start to play again. By the very nature of the covenant commitment He has made to us, His provision and grace will always be there. But if our experience of His covenant commitment ultimately boils down to benefits-based Christianity, we’ve missed the entire point of Lordship. Relationship with God becomes more about what we can get than what we can give and what He has given for us [Ephesians 2:7-8].
The saddening reality in all of this is that He, God, has given us access to all of Himself. He’s made a covenant commitment to a relationship with us. It’s not simply raising a hand or coming forward when the preacher invites us. He hasn’t asked for a single hand raise or 30-second prayer acknowledging Him once. He’s asked for our entire lives. Everyday. Every moment. It’s only inside the context of a covenant relationship with Jesus, our lives fully surrendered to His Lordship, that we can enter abundant life. Salvation is a moment, but submission is a lifestyle.
He is Lord over our provision, but what about our generosity?
He is Lord over our eternity, but what about our present decisions?
His name is the name above all our needs, but what about our wants?
If all authority in our lives ultimately begins and ends with Jesus, then true freedom and real living aren’t found in the grasp of our own control but in the open hand of acknowledgement that our life isn’t our own! We aren’t the masters of our fate or the captains of our soul. We ultimately aren’t in control. It’s in this posture and lifestyle of surrender that we find the freedom we were seeking through control. Happiness is replaced by joy; our trust can be put in Jesus instead of our emotions and truth becomes objective because it’s founded not in popularity but in a never-changing Person.
It’s important that we lay it all down and live surrendered because we’re tasked with serving a generation who often aren’t thinking beyond the next season of their favourite Netflix series. They’re less concerned with their eternity and more concerned with their present. A covenant that offers them eternal security is beyond the scope of their current focus and is being labelled as ‘outdated’ and ‘irrelevant.’ They just want to know that a covenant relationship with Jesus means something for them now. It’s in our surrender that we’ll show that this covenant isn’t just good news for their eternity but also good news for their present.
Access to this covenant came at the cost of a life, Jesus’s life, and He calls us to lay down our lives to serve His mission: day in and day out, decision after decision, sacrifice after sacrifice. I firmly believe that the future of our generation being part of the Church or being critics of the Church hinges on our daily surrender in each and every moment.
Are you in?