Is Jesus the Lord of Your Life?
- Written by Pete Phelan Pete Phelan
“The reason you may not be seeing more of God’s rescue and deliverance in your life is because you may have Jesus positioned as your Savior, but not as your Lord. And you may not have positioned yourself as His servant. The book of Romans opens up with these words, “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ ….” (Romans 1:1). A bondservant is translated from “doulos” which literally means “slave.” The job of a slave is to do whatever the Master says to do. It’s as straight-forward as that.
Unfortunately today, Jesus has too many other masters in most of our lives with whom He has to compete. The important thing to remember is that Jesus is not willing to be one among many. He is not willing to be part of an association or club. Neither is He willing to be relegated to a personal assistant. Jesus as Lord means that Jesus is to be the one and only supreme ruler and master in your life. He calls the shots, and He is to be acknowledged in everything that is done. “Too many people want a Savior, but don’t want a Lord. Because of this, numbers of individuals today are experiencing the result of denying Christ publicly.” – Tony Evans
When we replace the statement "Jesus is Lord," with the statement "Jesus is Savior," it fundamentally changes the way we read, understand and live out the gospel. The call to follow Jesus is one that includes forgiveness of sins, but also transcends it to embrace a much larger scope of kingdom activity. The summons of Jesus’s call to "follow me" and the emphasis laid out in the remainder of the New Testament is a call to answer to the declaration "Jesus is Lord." To make Jesus Lord is to repent of self and our ongoing attempts to "go it alone." Repentance is about turning around and the statement "Jesus is Lord" captures the essence of that reorientation, providing its focus and kingdom-centered direction. When we make Jesus Lord, we get Jesus as Savior thrown in. The order is important. "Jesus is Savior" emphasizes sins forgiven. "Jesus is Lord" emphasizes a reorientation in life, which includes sins forgiven. I’m no longer the king of my domain, He is. This reorientation changes everything. "Jesus is Savior" impacts me. "Jesus is Lord" impacts me and everyone around me. "Jesus is Savior" is often deeply personal and private. "Jesus is Lord" retains the personal dynamic, but spreads out to impact everything and everyone around me. It is mission oriented (as sent ones), and seeks to reflect Jesus to others. "Jesus is Savior" affects only the so-called spiritual aspects in life. "Jesus is Lord" affects all of life; it is holistic and all-encompassing. Everything is affected by it; everyday and in every way. It isn’t limited to Sunday, or a mid-week program, or more generally to the religious side of life, but lies at the center of life and thereby orients, shapes and informs everything else.
Many people have decided to make Jesus their personal Savior, but have yet to truly embrace him as Lord. The first asks people to seek forgiveness of sins, the second summons people to a lifetime of devoted discipleship to Jesus, while inviting others to follow along in the pursuit of the kingdom. The first centers on self, the second on Christ and his kingdom. Discipleship is not optional and is not directed towards the few who choose to take Jesus seriously. With Christ, it is all or nothing. It is a summons with expectations. "Jesus is Lord" demands our everything. "Jesus is Savior" does not. The first focuses on a lifetime. The second on a one-time decision. The second does not always lead to the first because we center the call to follow on "Jesus is Savior" and not "Jesus is Lord." One demands nothing of us. The second demands our everything.
There is a difference between calling Jesus Savior and making him Lord. The title we choose to prioritize deeply affects the way we view and experience the entire gospel. Choose well. (Borrowed from Jeff K. Clarke, Christian Week.)
On the inside,