Greeting Troy Christian Chapel!
I’ve been thinking about lordship often lately. Looking back over my life, even in the 33 years of following Jesus—I can see that so much of my life, my decisions, my beliefs and opinions—so many areas of my life were under my own lordship.
This is a constant area of wrestling and reminding for me. When I am not feeling physically well, when I am emotionally and mentally taxed, when I am feeling attacked or disrespected or undervalued—self rises to the front, asserting its lordship. Self tells me, ever-so-convincingly, “you deserve better.” And far, far too often, self finds in me a receptive audience.
Yes, I know who I am. I know what I truly deserve on my own merits. I know I am a former enemy of God, adopted into the family of God, by the grace of God, through the shed blood of Jesus. I know that what I am is simply nothing without Jesus. And yet the lie of self, that I ought to magnify me, still finds its way to my ears, my heart, my mind. And with that lie comes offense, pride, selfishness—sins of the mind, sins of the heart, sins of the tongue. I know what I am. And what do I do with that knowledge? I fight—for me.
Just a side note here. I realize, even I as I write this, that many will have the thoughts “but am I never to defend myself? Am I to be a doormat?” Christian, there is indeed a place for standing for truth, righteousness, and love—in a loving way. But it is ever so easy to claim I am doing so—when in reality, I am standing for me—at least in part. The lordship of self too often remains undiminished in the pursuit of justice.
But what is the example of our Lord?
“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (John 13:1-6).
I, knowing my desperate state, far too often choose to continue to serve my own interests. Jesus, knowing exactly who He was, served. And He calls His own to follow.
Tenth Avenue North has a song entitled “What You Want.” I find its lyrics very fitting. The bridge simply says this:
So many leaders, You ask for followers
So keep on leading, ’cause You’re my Father
Paul, the Apostle, writing to the Corinthians, speaks to this idea of human lordship, in particular, the tendency for us to magnify the leaders we prefer. The leaders that appeal to self. Paul reminds this divided church that he, himself, and his fellow minister Apollos, are simply servants.
“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:5-9).
In Galatians 2:20, Paul writes: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Beloved, our truest joy and greatest freedom—life abundant—comes not from the achievement of self’s desires or the ratification of self’s opinions. Our life abundant is found only in Him who, knowing He is God the Son, rose from the table and took upon himself the humiliation of the lowest job of any household’s servants: washing the grimy, filthy feet of those who would abandon and even betray him. But his humility and humiliation was not complete with the washing of filthy feet. It was completed with the washing and healing of stained, scarred, wounded hearts, minds and lives.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).
“Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6).
Let us not mourn over this continual fight with the flesh. Rather, let us realize that, by His obedience, Christ has already won that battle! Self no longer need have dominion! Life abundant has been won for us, and is freely offered to all those who are in Christ.
“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:9-11).
Let us, then, follow the only one worthy of our allegiance, and it is not self. Let us, by His Spirit, dwell in His presence, learn from Him, live like Him, serve like Him, love like Him.
In Jesus Name,
Pastor Brian TorresMarch 1, 2022