Calling Jesus our “Lord,” and behaving like he truly is our Lord are two very different things. Jesus highlighted the difference with a probing question, “Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say” (Lk. 6:46). He went on to give a comparison which illustrates the difference. The person who refers to Jesus as his “Lord” and follows it up with obedience to the commands and teaching of Jesus, is like a man who builds his house on a good foundation. He digs deeply and builds below the frost line, ensuring stability for many years to come. On the other hand, the man who calls Jesus “Lord” and does not do the things with Jesus says, is like a man who builds his house on an in adequate foundation. The structure is sure to suffer and will not withstand the storms of life.
Many people think of Jesus as their Lord, and even referred to him as such. In the denominational/religiously divided world around us, we are surrounded by people who profess to be Christians. But how many of them actually practice the teaching of Jesus, especially in controversial matters? Consistency requires that we not only call him “Lord,” but that we carefully and respectfully observe each and every aspect of his teaching.
1. Calling him “Lord” requires that we respect him. The word “Lord” is a title of great respect and submission. Much more than the contemporary “Sir,” this suggests superiority, power, influence, and the right to direct our lives. The Lord of my life is the director of my life. He has the right to say how I should think, speak, and act. My recognition of his role requires that I respect him. It requires that I acknowledge that he is the one on the throne, not me. “You alone are the real joy giver and the apple of mine eye.” For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, (1 Tim. 2:5). There is no other Lord, and I must respect that. “And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12). Do we really respect Jesus when we hear what he says, but do not obey him?
2. Calling him “Lord” requires that we listen closely to him. Every word, every action of our Lord Jesus Christ is worthy of our careful attention. We should be paying very close attention to every aspect of his life. For hereunto where ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps, (1 Pet. 2:21). And example or pattern is only valuable if it is closely noticed. A careful study of the life of Christ should be a part of every Christian’s routine. Notice what he says when people doubt, when people fear, when the storms of life are raging. Observe how he reacts with little children, with jealous relatives, with haughty leaders and envious parents. Notice how he tends to the real needs of the sorrowful, the sick, and those in pain. With the benefit of hindsight, you can trace his steps and read his thoughts. You will be amazed as you look more deeply into his loving and tender life. Only by doing so can you be equipped to call him your “Lord.”
3. Calling him “Lord” requires that we scrupulously obey him. What good does it do to stand in respectful awe as we observe his majesty, and then walk away and discard what we have seen? Is there not a most solemn duty to put it into practice? Are we not compelled to actually imitate him? If I have respectfully studied the Master Planner’s design for my life, I must now have the courage to build accordingly. Not upon some shifting foundation, but upon the solid rock of God’s word. Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven,” (Mt. 7:21). Jesus not only told a great story about the good Samaritan, he concluded it by saying, “Go thou and do likewise,” (Lk. 10:25-37). It’s not enough to sit back and watch the show. This one has to be internalized, it has to be practiced, it has to make a difference in our lives! That is, after all, how God is ultimately glorified by other people around us. Not by seeing us “going to church” or noticing that we listened to a sermon, but by observing that we are actually practicing in our own lives what we have seen in Christ. Even so let your light shine before men: that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven, (Mt. 5:16). Setting such an example of faithful obedience to Jesus is how we build our lives on the solid Rock!
-by Robert C. Veil, Jr.