There are many that call Jesus Saviour who are not willing to submit to his lordship. Their lives are sad evidence that they are still under the bondage of sin.
The lordship of Christ is his rightful rule over his people, as his redeemed subjects. It is a spiritual reign established in the regenerated heart and administered, not by force or external means, but by the Word and Spirit where the believer, out of love and godly fear, submits to the will of God.
There is no half-hearted commitment for those who follow Christ, for Jesus says, if anyone comes after him, he must deny himself, take up the cross daily and follow him (Luke 9:23). We have Caleb’s example in that he wholly followed the Lord (Joshua 14:14).
This does not mean sinless perfection for believers in this life, but it does mean a sincere willingness to repent of our sins and surrender to the will of God.
The lordship of Christ means, practically, to follow and do his will, not ours. A good question to ask ourselves is this: do we seek to know and follow his will when we come to a crucial decision, or do we just decide on our own accord?
Is there reflective, God-centred thinking; reverential worship, and patient waiting upon the Lord? Or do we just give way to selfish ambition?
Do we know and strive to practise the Word of God? And do we do the work God has commanded us with the gifts and talents he has given to us (1 Peter 4:10-11)? Following Christ as king requires self-denial and humble submission. ‘Not my will, but thy will be done’, should be the disciple’s response all the time.
Consider what the disciples of old, when called, gave up to follow Christ — their nets, ships and loved ones, according to Mark 1:16-20. It was total surrender, complete submission to the Master. What have you given up for Jesus since your conversion?
Our Lord summarised the entire Decalogue in three verses: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ (Matthew 22:37-39).
We need to say ‘no’ to selfish ambitions and to desires contrary to God’s will. It may mean giving up our favourite pastime, hobby, social time with friends, or even career, to follow Christ fully. But the kingship of Christ is not dictatorial or coercive. It is full of love, grace, compassion and mercy.
Christ is worthy to be our Lord, because of who he is — almighty God — and all that he has done for us — our loving Redeemer.
What are your priorities this new year? Is it pursuing health, wealth, leisure, promotion, education, friends or family? Or is Christ your preeminent Lord and King? Are you serving God or gold, loving the Word or the world?
Let us use our lips, lives, connections and relationships to glorify God, edify the saints and witness for Christ. Let our demeanour be exemplary to others, acceptable and pleasing to God and bring honour to his holy name.
In all Christians Christ is present; in some Christians Christ is prominent; but only in a few is Christ pre-eminent. May Christ fill our lives this year.