The word lord is little used and not well understood these days, especially among people who prize independence. Here in the United States, we gather every Fourth of July to celebrate national independence in a very big way; and before every professional ball game, we sing of being “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Rightly so, too, for our nation was born in an act of independence that required a lot of bravery, enough, in fact, that men and women had to be willing to die to obtain it, and others since have had to be willing to do the same to maintain the freedom that others purchased with their lives. In this world, freedom does not come without cost. Why? Because of those who decide to misuse their God-given freedom of choice to oppress others.
Freedom is the ability to come and go and do as we please at will, without hindrance. It is what God gave to mankind in Creation.
Contemplate that for a moment: a sovereign, all-knowing, all-wise God chose to let people make up their own minds that are limited in knowledge. Why? Because He who is free of all external restriction made us in His image to be like Him. He made us with a built-in ability to choose to be like God or not; and God, who is completely free to do as He pleases, always chooses to be perfectly right. That means that our having free will to choose freely is itself of God’s perfection.
The problem, as the world so often judges it to be, is that we are sometimes wrong in our understanding. The greater problem, though, lies not in sometimes being wrong, but in choosing to remain that way—refusing to be made right through rightly adjusted thinking that changes our actions as a result of being willing to receive right correction.
Wrong is a word that, along with right, is continuously debated in the world as a whole. It has been ever since Garden of Eden days when the suggestion was first made that even God Himself might not have been quite right about some of the words that He had previously spoken. That one perplexing question mark led Adam and Eve to another: Should they adhere to God’s words that they were no longer sure were quite right?
Imagine the concept that was birthed at that moment: The God who had created everything might have been wrong due to His incomplete understanding of what He had said? Or maybe, if not that, then God had simply lied, being less than completely honest and honorable?
Are the thoughts ludicrous? Yes. Are they unfathomable? Not to those who didn’t know God then or to those who don’t know God now.
If there is one thing that God wants from people everywhere, it is that He might be fully known and freely enjoyed forever by them all, to His glory. But only one way exists to do that, and that is from within an everlastingly up close and personal relationship with God that never falters, never fades and never fails to produce greater intimacy with God in His eternity. For that end, were we each created with the specific need for God that His Presence alone supplies. But additionally, because living in God’s Presence is the result of choice, in order to achieve that end, we must first acknowledge that need. But we can only do that after we are made aware that it exists.
Obtaining that awareness can be costly when it is gained through experiences that come from having chosen to adhere to something or someone other than God. For in so choosing to be like anything less, we choose to live an ungodly life, thereby putting us definitely in the wrong. When we aren’t fully submitted to being continually righted by God, then we declare that at least parts of our lives are outside of His jurisdiction, His domain. Therein we personally deny the Lordship of Christ in some manner.
The word lord in the New Testament is translated from the Greek word kurios. According to HELPS Word-studies (online), the word notes the utilization of the total authority and power that one has as owner over another. A lord is not merely an adviser, nor even a boss, but the owner of said individual. When we each freely choose to accept Jesus as Savior and put our judgement before God in His Hands, we give Jesus our life. It is His possession, for He has bought it with His body and blood. He owns us. We are dead to ourselves; we live only in Him. In deciding to adhere to Jesus, we go His way, doing as He says, not by coercion, nor from fear, but because we have made an informed decision that is based on learned knowledge of what is best for us: God Almighty, and nothing less. And the only way to a totally righteous God is through the permanent right standing of Jesus.
In relinquishing independence then, we stop debating God and gain newfound freedom in Christ. With Holy Spirit access through Jesus to God’s divine knowledge and wisdom, we need never again fear being wrong, for God delights in setting us right. Our decision to lay down our lives and take up our cross to follow Jesus, freely living in obedience to God, sets us apart from worldly pride to serve God’s holy purpose.
In Romans 6 (please take time to read the chapter), Paul says that we are each a slave to something, be it to sin or to righteousness. Jesus said it this way: “No one can serve two masters… You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24) Jesus was referring to the fact that we either choose to worship God, placing our confidence in Him, or we choose to worship something else in life, depending more upon that something else than we do upon God. Jesus depended only upon God and worshipped Him alone.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
And why wouldn’t all bow to Jesus?
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
Jesus is Co-Creator. He owns all Creation. He is Lord. In fact, He is “LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:17)
Whatever we may think that we own in this world, the notion won’t last forever. On a day that is beyond the end of time as we know time to be today, when this world is behind us all, even the twenty-four elders will take the crowns that they receive in the next life and cast them down at the feet of Jesus. (See Revelation 4:10)
Their willingness to do so will be precisely why they will have the opportunity to be in the Presence of Jesus that will allow them to rightly honor Him in such a way. They each made the decision long before then to give their all to Jesus.
And they meant it.