“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 6:46-49
I am continually drawn back by Scripture to this concept of surrendering to Jesus as Lord. I tend to think the church at large has, in recent years, done a poor job of calling us to this kind of submission to Christ. Maybe it’s been our desire to embrace Jesus as our friend and brother—which he is. Or maybe it’s been our obsession with being “seeker sensitive” (even though Jesus himself never seemed overly concerned with this). Whatever the reason, the church has displayed deep interest in Jesus as our Savior, but not much enthusiasm for Jesus as our Lord.
And I think it shows.
The church today is riddled with the undisciplined and uncommitted. Wow, there’s a statement that’s sounds highly judgmental and is bound to convince you that there are a thousand other things you would rather do with the time it takes to finish reading this! But I think if you really consider what I’m saying, you’ll see truth in it.
Jesus’ issue in Luke 6:46-49 is that people are using the language, but their lives just don’t line up with their rhetoric.
So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?
Ouch. Could he hit any closer to home? Probably not for me.
It’s true. We want to speak the language, call on Jesus name, express our trust in him as Lord. But our lives typically look more like an exercise in convenience and doing what we want—within constrained bounds, of course. We want to look the part; we just don’t often surrender to the part. Jesus being Lord means I am the slave and that’s just not our idea of a good time.
I wonder if part of the problem is that we’ve traded hearing the gospel and repenting for hearing the gospel and accepting. What I mean is, maybe we have confused what it means to follow Christ well and faithfully. We hear the gospel and accept that it’s truth, receiving Christ as our Savior, but stop short of truly repenting of our behavior that runs contrary to Jesus. Repenting is a lifelong process as God keeps revealing more in us that is contrary and keeps calling us to turn towards him and away from our own self-worship.
It may be that I’m simply being too cynical, but as I read these words of Jesus I wonder. The issue Jesus is encountering is that people are listening to the gospel, but not responding to it with obedience. Encountering Jesus as our Lord is so much more than just accepting that he is the Son of God and believing he died on the cross. Don’t get me wrong—that’s where we start. That’s critical. We have to accept Christ, his death and resurrection. But Jesus is looking for a lifestyle of obedience here. A lifelong journey that begins at acceptance and continues with ongoing surrender and submission.
He describes our lives as being like the building of a house on a foundation. Obedience is like the work of digging down deep, starting on the rock foundation that is below the surface. Maybe this is what I’m getting at. It’s so easy to be superficial followers of Christ, letting our faith rest on the surface, but not digging deep and finding what’s beneath all the surface junk. Making certain my faith isn’t built on convenience or cultural norms or false idols.
I guess today I am hearing the question of Jesus and wanting desperately to ensure that he’s not directing it at me. If he is, I want to repent, and call him Lord not just with words, but with my whole life. I want it to be clear—I’m calling him Lord, because I’m living as his servant.