Jesus is Lord


We often think about the Lordship of Christ through a macro lens: the King of the universe, seated on the throne in heaven with earth as his footstool. While this depiction is true, it doesn’t lend itself to an everyday impact. The imagery can cause us to imagine a God who is distant and not Lord over everyday life.

“Jesus is Lord” is a statement of truth in the macro sense, but also one of surrender. It is an oath of allegiance to the rule and reign of Christ. Although his kingdom is not of this world, his rule over us encompasses every realm.

We need to think about Jesus’ lordship not just as reigning above every authority, but in every sphere. His Lordship applies to our homes, families, relationships, occupations etc. Realizing this takes us in a different trajectory than the world. It is easy to slip into the same progressions in life as the world, but the way of Jesus is different. There should be an obvious difference.

The renewing of the mind transforms us from the rule of sin to the rule of Jesus. The world’s motivations pervade all aspects of life. A search for worldly success can be driven by any mix of motivations laid out in Colossians 3. Following any motivation on this list is a clear sign Jesus does not reign over a part of our mind.

“5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,  free; but Christ is all, and in all.” – Colossians 3:5-11

It is easy to get caught up in pursuing success the same way those around us do. For most of us it is the only way we have known. How could we expect to know differently?

When I was in my last year of my BComm majoring in finance, I was given a clear warning from the Holy Spirit. The path I laid out was to pursue corporate law. My immature drive at the time to compete and win would have fed a lust for power and greed. I was granted foresight into how my life would unintentionally turn from the Lord in a pursuit of worldly success if I made that decision.

Instead, I finished my degree and ran off to California to intern at a wonderful church in Fresno, fleeing from the temptation the other road presented for me. This was a moment of submission to the rule of Christ. A fear of the Lord gripped me in the moment of revelation and there was no way I wanted to choose a path that would lead me away from him.

If Jesus is Lord, the rules and patterns of this world are no longer what we follow. That moment in University showed me the patterns of this world were embedded in me despite my desire to follow Jesus. My decision making process and pursuits could not simply be trusted. My motivations needed to be submitted to another kingdom and put through the grid of the second list in Colossians 3:

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:12-17

The maturing of a believer is an awakening of the mind to the many discrepancies between our confession of “Jesus is Lord” and our mental pathways. In time, the Holy Spirit reveals to the willing the discrepancies so our minds may align with our confession.

Our “Jesus is Lord” confession upon conversion is not negated by this discrepancy. Our heart’s desire in that moment is to serve the Lord, and we succeed on a macro level. But sin leaves wreckage in its wake. The continued exposure to a world that celebrates sin reinforces the old paths, making it difficult to live entirely under the reign of Christ.

This begs the question, “Do my actions, decisions, and desires reflect Jesus as Lord?” If a job promotion is offered, or an opportunity arises, this is the question we must ask. If you come into a large sum of money, your decision needs to be put through this grid. If you want to marry or date someone, ask this question. How you discipline an employee or respond to a superior must be put through this grid. Relations with friends, families, strangers, and persecutors must all be subject to the rule of Jesus. This question reveals whether your confession is a binding oath or whimsical.

Over time, this question becomes internalized. Your grid becomes scripture as you consume it. As your mind is further renewed, you find more often your internal motivations reflect the Lordship of Christ. But even the most mature must not move away from testing which king they serve with their decisions, not out of fear of failure but a fear of God, a strong desire to reject the way that leads to destruction.

Does this sound daunting? That is why we rely on the Holy Spirit and ask him to lead us, not just once, but in every task and situation. We trust him to outline our misalignment and to renew our minds.  We are still being redeemed and are not equipped without the Holy Spirit, without the full armour of God, to make true our confession that Jesus is Lord.

The filling of the Holy Spirit is not an added bonus. The Holy Spirit is our passport, marking us as citizens of heaven. He is our guide to life in the kingdom of God, and the power by which we can live under the rule and reign of Christ.

Where do Emotions Lead You?


I was reading my bible the other day and a line from 1 Samuel 13 hit me like a ton of bricks. In this story, King Saul is once again at war with the Philistines. He is waiting for the prophet Samuel to show up to perform the sacrifices before beginning the battle. Saul has waited seven days and his troops are scattering because nothing is happening and they are intimidated by the Philistines. So, knowing he needs the Lord, and wanting to bring him glory, Saul performs the sacrifices himself.

As Saul is finishing up performing the sacrifices, Samuel shows up and scolds him. Saul responds to Samuel saying, “I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.” (1 Samuel 13:12)

I realized Saul is wanting to seek the favor of the Lord (not a bad thing), offering sacrifices (why is that bad?), acknowledging who God is (not a bad thing), and looking to lead his troops well (also a good thing). He even is feeling compelled to do it. Saul feels an emotional leading to do something that doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. So what is wrong with this?

I think we have a tendency to over-spiritualize the emotion we feel when difficulty or something unexpected arises. I’m not saying emotion is a bad thing. A little later in Samuel, David, who is called the man after God’s own heart, is so emotional!!! So where is the emotion leading astray rather than contributing to us being men and women after God’s own heart?

I see a couple of things we can learn from this story. Saul was instructed to wait for Samuel, and Samuel didn’t show up when he was supposed to. But Saul was instructed to wait, and there was no word of the Lord that changed this direction. Circumstances had changed and time had passed but there was no new word.So, we can say that Saul’s compulsion was against the direction of God.

Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19). We might say these things arise from the old self, and those of us in Christ are not that same person anymore. But don’t we still sometimes hand our hearts over to our old self? The heart seems to deceive us at times and direct us towards destruction.

What breaks my heart is that Saul has some blind spots, some insecurities that keep pulling him down. I often write off Saul as having fully turned away from God. But he is still trying to please God and gain his favor. Insecurity and fear of losing troops drive his decision. It is not obedience, it is not holding to the word of God, to what God said which determines his actions. It is out of his fearful heart that disobedience pours out. He sees no alternative. It is what he feels compelled to do, what he must do.

So how do we embrace emotion without being ruled by it? I think the first step is to not ignore or try and suppress emotions. Too often we see emotion as a sign of weakness or irrational thinking. I have noticed recently as I read scripture, how Jesus is often hit with compassion for people and it results in action, or he gets angry and flips some tables. Emotion is very much a part of who Jesus is. I have already mentioned David. Try and get through one of his psalms, or a story about him, without observing intense emotions.

Next, I think we need to check in with God: God is this you? Are these emotions good? What are you saying in the midst of this? What did you say before this happened? We could call this a quick discernment. I often say that emotions feel foreign to me. I have been on a journey of opening myself back up to emotions. There was a moment where I had to repent of saying I don’t feel emotions. I found out emotions area way God can speak and share things with us. How could I close myself off to that? What I have found since is emotions are a great prompter to check in with God. When I feel emotion I ask, “Is this you God? Am I trusting you? Am I picking up on something? Are you trying to tell me something?”

I remember a couple of years ago having an argument with my sister, Lisa, in the car. Things began to get heated. I suddenly realized I did not care about the thing we were arguing about, and said to myself, ”Hold on a minute, why am I mad?” It turned out there was a phrase and an assumption made that had very little to do with the conversation which caused righteous anger in me. Lisa showed so much grace as I told her what I was actually upset about. A great conversation ensued with both of us on the same side, with God, trying to figure out what was good and right. It turned out great, but my jumping on emotion instead of asking God those preliminary questions could have completely derailed us! The good news is God does show grace as we try and figure our emotions out.

I think another thing to ask God at this step in the process is whether to act on this emotion or not. Is it just a feeling that demands no action? I have been learning how pride can derail us. The urgency we feel at times is God-given and at times is our needing to fix everything because we don’t trust God as the hero in the story.

I feel compelled to say our Father in heaven is so gracious with us. As we learn and surrender, he covers our blunders and redeems our failures. As we learn to trust him with emotions, we become more healthy and trustworthy as his agents. Let us be quick to surrender to God, our solid foundation.