Way back in my AOL days, a lady once emailed me asking if I would be willing to be her mentor as a Christian. I was honored, obviously, but also somewhat unprepared since I’d never been asked that question before. Not knowing what else to do, I answered honestly that I would count it an honor, but the very best advice I could give anyone is to truly accept Jesus as their Savior and LORD – giving Him full control of their life.
Her reply made me sad. She said she wasn’t ready to let anyone else be in control of her life, that she wanted to continue controlling it herself. Looking back, I realize I understand a tiny bit of what Jesus must have felt when talking to the rich young ruler.
We toss the phrase “Lord and Savior” around like it’s nothing, but in fact it is everything – and in my opinion we say the words out of order. First, we accept Jesus as Savior. Until we’ve done that, acknowledging that He has literally purchased us from our slaveholder (sin), we cannot submit to and serve Him as Lord. It’s simply not possible.
But then, to know Him as Lord, we must understand what a Lord is. Modern day life doesn’t help us in this area; we have to look back. In past times your Lord was, quite literally, your ruler. His word was supreme in your life and you owed pretty much everything to him. You owed him all loyalty, all fealty, and a certain percentage of everything you produced on the land he provided for you. Yes, he told you what to do and you did it…or else.
But here is the part most people don’t grasp. He also, if he was a good Lord, took responsibility for you, took care of you. In telling you what to do, he was looking ahead, figuring out what it would take for you to prosper, and setting you up for that prosperity. He understood that for his realm to do well you had to do well, and he did all he could to ensure you did – if he was a good lord, which our Lord obviously is.
My life became EASIER when I moved past merely accepting Jesus as my Savior and into submitting to Him as my Lord. It’s all on Him now. He’s the one responsible for telling me which direction to take; all I have to do is listen and obey. Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of my favorite Scriptures: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” There it is in a nutshell.
I readily admit that I’m a recovering control freak. Those who have fought this battle know what I’m saying when I confess that learning to let God have control was HARD, and I still don’t get it right anywhere near often enough. Even so, it is literally the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and, though I’d not lie and say life has been easy ever since, I can honestly say I have MORE freedom, MORE joy, and MORE peace than I ever had while trying to run things myself.
What about the lady who emailed me on AOL? Well, I did hear from her again a year or so later, and she seemed an entirely different person. She wanted me to know that she had finally accepted Jesus as her Lord… and had discovered the true freedom and peace I’d promised.
Yes, I was shouting.