I come to you as a child of the church. Some of my earliest memories center around Sunday school and the sanctuary. We weren’t always in church over the years, but we were there enough that I accepted Jesus in the summer after sixth grade.
On that day, at summer camp, in a chapel by a lake, I accepted Him as my Savior. It was years before I accepted Him as my Lord.
You hear the question all the time: “Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” And you hear others answer, “Yes.” It seems you especially hear them answer affirmatively if they were raised in church like I was – because that’s the response you’re expected to give.
In actuality, though He was undeniably my Savior and I knew it in the depths of my soul, I had no clue what it even meant to accept Him as Lord. Worse, I didn’t know there was a difference. I guess I figured “Lord and Savior” was all the same thing. But…lordship?
I knew what it meant to follow the guidelines I was taught in church.
I knew what it meant to obey the rules laid down at home.
But Jesus as Lord? I didn’t even know what a lord was, or not until I started studying certain historical time periods.
Throughout history, the lord of the estate or region was the one who ruled – similar to a king, but on a much more personal level. If he were a good lord, he kept his eye on you, saw to it that you had what you needed to get your work done, knew if you were sick… He accepted a certain level, a high level, of responsibility for you.
And you? If you truly accepted him as your lord, you obeyed him and submitted completely to his authority. You made sure you knew what he expected of you and you did it. You learned what pleased him and tried to make him happy. You were his and he was yours, and you considered it an honor to serve him.
It was after gaining this understanding that I began to grow up as a Christian. Jesus’ question in Luke 6:46 is relevant, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and don’t do what I say?” Here is reality; it’s one thing to say He is your Lord. It is another thing entirely to live with Him as your Lord. Honestly, it seems that most Christians today don’t even know what He says. How, then, can they let Him be Lord? So…
Number 1: We learn what He says. The very first thing we have to do, of course, is start listening to Him. Read the Word and truly pay attention to it. Pray and genuinely listen to what He has to say to you. Be in the church He calls you to and let the minister He has set there guide you as you learn.
Number 2: Act on what He says. Always do what He says, and put forth every effort to please Him. Remind yourself continually that He was never supposed to be only your Savior, but also your Lord.
Accepting Jesus as your Savior requires a heart change and a declaration. Accepting Jesus as your Lord requires action – continual, faithful, intentional action.
Salvation is free, but accepting His Lordship requires effort – an investment of time, heart, intentions, and actions.
But oh, the rewards on that investment!