[Course 5 Index] [Prayer-School Index] [Prayer Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]
A Spiritual Checkup For Intercessors
The Lordship of Jesus Christ in Our Day to Day Lives
By Teresa Seputis
I'd like to start by sharing a story about when the leadership core decided to get together and go fishing.
The boat left very early in the morning and all of them brought their thermos full of coffee. The boat pulled about 300 feet from shore and anchored so that they could fish. They had a great time fellowshipping and fishing. But as the morning wore on, the coffee began to work it's way through their systems. The captain of the boat came out to announce that the restroom on the boat was out of commission.
After a while, the coffee had worked through Donna Cox's system. So she said, "Excuse me, brethren", put down her fishing pole, climbed over the rail and walked on the water to shore. She went behind a bush, did her business and came out looking very relieved. Then she walked back across the water to the boat, climbed over the rail, picked up her pole and continued fishing.
Teresa Seputis stood there with her mouth hanging open for a few minutes and then turned to Paul Gaskin and said, "Did you see that!! Donna walked on water, just like Jesus did!"
Paul shrugged his shoulders as if that were no big deal and then all of them concentrated on fishing for a while. Pretty soon the coffee worked it's way through Paul's system. He said "Excuse me brethren", laid down his pole, climbed over the rail, walked on the water to the shore, disappeared behind a different bush but came out looking just as relieved. Then he walked back on the water to the boat, climbed over the rail, picked up his pole and resumed fishing.
Teresa's mouth fell open again. She muttered something about Jesus walking on water and Peter walking on water and now Donna and Paul were walking on water. She asked Lucy Deliganis if she'd seen that. "Yes," Lucy replied, as if it was no big deal.
After a while, the coffee had so worked through Teresa's system that she simply could not wait any longer. "Well," she said to himself, "Donna did it and Paul did it. I guess I can do it too."
So she said, "Excuse me, brethren", put down her pole climbed over the rail. Her feet hit the water, but instead of being able to walk on it, she sank rapidly to the bottom.
About then, Paul turned to Donna and said, "Next time, do you suppose we should tell her where the stepping stones are?"
I'm sure we've all identified with Teresa's imaginary experience from time to time -- in that we have noticed a discrepancy between what we see in the Bible and what we see in our own lives. Yet when we try to step out in faith, we seem to sink.
For some of us, that discrepancy comes from lack of victory over besetting sins. We read in the bible about how Jesus overcame sin and death and has given us power and victory. We see how people in the bible are transformed by the indwelling Holy Spirit to be holy and victorious. Yet we struggle with that same besetting sin over and over again. Each time we fall, we feel truly sorry and sincerely repent, promising to never do that sin again. But we seem powerless to keep that promise and keep falling into it over and over again, feeling worse about it each time.
For others of us, the discrepancy between what we see in the Bible and what we see in our own lives comes in the area of the Fruit of the Spirit. We read about how we are to be filled with love, joy, peace. We even see it happening in some other Christian's lives. But this does not seem to happen in our own life. We find ourselves constantly worrying about the various stresses and problems of day-to-day life. Or we find ourselves feeling depressed or struggling with rejection. We see the blatant discrepancy between how the Bible says we should live (full of faith and hope and joy and patience and love) and how our lives are actually turning out. We desire so much to have the fruit of the Spirit manifest in our lives and pray for it and hope for it, but it just does not seem to be happening. Or if it is happening, it is happening much too slowly for us.
Some of us read the scriptures where it says "My sheep hear My voice and they know Me" and they wonder how come they don't know how to recognize the Lord's voice. We see folks in the body operating in prophesy and word of knowledge and such -- clear evidence that it really is possible to hear His voice. Then we wonder why we can't hear it like they do. Is it that God does not care to speak to us, or is it that we're simply no good at hearing Him or is it something else? Surely it must be possible to hear His voice like the scriptures say. How come it is so hard?
And there are many other areas where we may notice a discrepancy between what the Bible says we should be like and what our lives are really like.
Why is this? What is missing?
I believe that the root of the problem comes from the fact that many of us never gave Jesus Christ full and unchallenged Lordship in our lives.
Many Christians learn to accept Jesus as their savior with no clue about His Lordship. They truly believe in Jesus and are grateful that He has redeemed them. But they go about their day to day lives in pretty much the same manner they did before. Oh, they make some adjustments here and there to attempt to honor God. They come to Church faithfully on Sundays and they have a 20 minute or so quiet time each day for bible-study, devotions, prayer. But they continue being the boss of their own lives; they continue to live for themselves.
In many cases its simply because no one told them that Jesus wants to be in control of their life. No one told them that our goals and motivations are to change, and that we are to be doing what the Father is doing instead of doing our own thing.
Jesus is not satisfied to be merely our savior. Yes He gives us eternal life, He saves us from the consequences of sin. But in return, He demands that we give our lives fully and unreservedly to Him. He wants Lordship in our day to day lives. He calls for a radical commitment to Him, including total obedience.
In my own case, I had considered myself a "committed Christian" for 18 years. I did daily devotions and prayer and I even memorized a lot of scriptures. I watched my language and tried to behave in a "Christian manner" including appropriate behavior and strong morals. I shared my faith from time to time and occasionally led people to the Lord. I was doing everything I knew to do to be a "good Christian". But, despite all my efforts, it was a very frustrating time for me. I read about the fruits of the spirit, but did not see them manifesting in my own life. I read about the victory that He has given us over sin and over all the power of the enemy; yet I keep falling over and over in besetting sins and could never seem to gain the victory. I read about the peace that passes all understanding, but rarely experienced it. I read how His sheep know His voice but had no clue what His voice sounded like.
Then one day I found this tiny little verse hidden in one of the gospels. When I grasped what it really meant, that tiny verse revolutionized my entire life. That little verse is tucked away between some incredible promises of victory, power and answered prayers.
Lets look at John 14, starting at verse 12:
12 "Most assuredly I say to you, He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these because I go to My Father.
13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
15 "If you love Me, keep My commandments.
16 "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--
17 "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
18 "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you."
Incredible promises, eh? Yet tucked away in this passage is the key to all of this -- the key to victory and power and abundance in our walk with the Lord. It is stated so simply that it took me 18 years before I realized it was there.
Did you happen to find it as we read the passage? Which verse was it?
If you love Me, keep My commandments.
Another translation puts it this way:
If you love Me, then obey Me.
Well, what does that mean? How could that little verse be the turning point to victory in my Christian walk? I believe that Jesus is saying point-blank that He wants Lordship in our lives if we are to walk in His power and authority and victory.
He puts it another way in Luke 6:46-49:
46 "But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?
47 "Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
48 "He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundations on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
49 "But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."
In other words, if we want a solid foundation in our lives -- if we want a Christianity that stands firm when hardships and trials come our way; we must make Jesus our Lord.
We must start living for Him and stop living for ourselves. We need to be totally committed to obey Him and to honor Him in all we do and say, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Yea, sounds great. But how do I get there? What does it mean in my day to day walk?" I started asking those questions ten years ago. What I found is that it is a process and He continues taking Lordship in more and more areas of my life over time. And as this occurs, I started seeing more victory and more power in my Christian walk.
Ten years ago, I began to ponder what it meant to make Jesus Lord...
What about my relationships with other Christians? Am I really obligated to love them and to try and get along with them -- even the ones who are not giving Jesus Lordship in their own lives? Have I given up my right to complain about someone to my friends or to try to avoid that person who is so unpleasant to be around if Jesus tells me to reach out to him in love? I guess I have.
What if He tells me to do something I don't want to do -- like maybe to share my faith with that grouchy man who always sits next to me on the subway? Did I give up my right to debate this command with Him? Did I give up my right to try and ignore Him when He tells me to do something I don't want to do? I guess I did.
What about those little sins I enjoy? Am I willing to give them up and to invite Him to shine His light and His presence into that part of my life? What about my eating habits -- can the Lord really impact what I eat and drink and the way that I take care of my body -- which is supposed to be the temple of His Holy Spirit? Will I obey Him if He tells me to stop eating sweets because it is unhealthy for my body? Do I really want Him that involved in my day-to-day life?
Well, what about my finances? If He is Lord of my finances, then He gets the right to dictate how my money is spent. Hey, wait a minute! I already tithe. Does that mean that Jesus gets to call the shots on the 90% that I get to keep? I guess it does. If Jesus is really Lord of my finances, He has the right to tell me to give $100.00 cash to someone in need. Hey, wait a minute -- that kind of gift is not even tax deductible. Can Jesus really spend my money any way He wants to? I guess that He is not Lord of my finances until I can answer "yes" to that question.
Well, what about my leisure time? I go to church on Sundays and I do devotions every morning. Does Jesus really have the right to come into my leisure time and tell me how to use it? Does He have the right to say, "forget going to that football game -- I want you to go baby-sit for your next store neighbor so they can see Christian love in action"? Does He have the right to tell me to stop watching shows on TV that are violent or sexually explicit or that teach new age philosophy? What does His Lordship in my leisure time really mean? What about those Science Fiction and Fantasy books I love to read. What if Jesus does not like me reading them? Am I willing to stop and to get rid of my book collection? Gee, this is sorta stepping on my toes. His Lordship can hit pretty close to home.
Giving Jesus Lordship in my day to day life really impacts me and makes it "expensive" to be a Christian. Why on earth would anyone want to pay such a price? Why should we make such a radical commitment to Him?
There are a lot of reasons. One is because Jesus expects to be Lord, not just Savior. He gave His life for us, so it should not be surprising that He wants us to give our lives to Him. That is the main thrust of Gal 2:20, which says, "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."
Then there is John 14:15 -- "If you love Me, obey Me." That little verse is sandwiched between incredible promises of power and victory. If we want to be someone who prays with power and authority, Jesus must be our Lord, not just our savior. Of course, I want to walk in that type of power and authority and to be able to pray effective prayers. Don't you?
And then there was that parable Jesus taught about the wise man building a foundation under his house. That foundation is a firm commitment to allowing Jesus to really be Lord in every area of one's life. If we have sincerely made Jesus Lord, then our faith will not be shaken when the severe trials come. We will be able to stand firm on the foundation of His Lordship in our life. I'd sure like to have a firm foundation -- wouldn't you?
But the best part is the intimacy with God, that close fellowship that comes from giving Him total Lordship. Feeling His presence, seeing the fruit of the spirit in our lives, learning to discern His voice from NOT His voice and being enveloped in His love. It is only after we give Jesus Christ Lordship in our lives that we truly begin to experience that Peace and Joy that is born out of a deep fellowship with God.
Some of you might be thinking, "OK, sounds good. But how do I get started?"
There are probably many ways to get started, and I'd like to share two of them. One comes from the book, "In His Steps," where the pastor of a prestigious church invited the people in his congregation to an experiment in giving Jesus Lordship in their lives. He was talking radical commitment to the Lordship of Jesus in every detail of their lives. How did they do it? They made a commitment that for a one year period they would ask themselves the following question -- "What would Jesus do in this situation?" Then they would do what they believed Jesus would do, no matter how costly it was for them. God turned the lives of the people in this story around drastically as they began walking out the Lordship of Jesus Christ in their lives. Most of them went through some trials at the beginning. A few gave up, but the others pressed on to incredible victory. What was their secret? They asked the Lord to show them what He would do in their situation and then did it. They asked themselves the question "What would Jesus do in this situation?"
My own approach was not so eloquent, but it seems to work... I got started by simply telling Jesus that I wanted to give Him lordship in my life, but had no clue how to walk that out. I invited Him to come and show me how. I also committed that I would obey Him as best as I could and gave Him permission to touch whatever part of my life He wanted to. I also asked Him to help me with my commitment to obey Him, because I figured I was too weak to do it on my own.
Now there are many areas in My life where Jesus has moved in and taken Lordship, and He has done a really good job. There are also some areas that still need to go under His lordship -- I am learning that giving Jesus Lordship is a process rather than a one-time event. We make our initial commitment and He starts to move in, but He takes one or two areas of our life at a time. When they get under His Lordship, then He reaches down and takes another area. We can be successful in this only because He is the one that does the work and transforms us as we cooperate with Him.
I'd like to ask you to close your eyes for a few seconds. Think about your life. What parts of it are already under the Lordship of Jesus Christ? Are there any parts that are not under His Lordship? Are you willing to give Him Lordship in those areas?
What about the areas of your life where you're constantly experiencing defeat? Would you like to have His victory in those areas? You know He can and will give you the victory, but it comes with a price tag -- the cost is that you must give Him lordship in that area of your life?
Maybe you are at that place of just discovering that Jesus wants Lordship in your life. I'd like to encourage you to silently review your life with Him and then to consider offering an area of your life where He does not already have Lordship to Jesus. Realize that this is both the best decision and also the most expensive decision that you can make. Select an area of your life and lay it on the altar as a gift to Jesus. Invite Him to come into that area of your life. In doing so, you will be giving up your rights to control that portion of your life. But Jesus will bring His beauty and His victory and His glory into that area as He actively takes Lordship over it. Realize it is a process and that you may find yourself trying to take back control until He reminds you that you've given Him the driver's license in that area. If you will commit to giving Him Lordship, He will commit to walking it through with you and will continue to bring His presence and His victory into it.
Once you've chosen an area of your life to give Jesus Lordship in, go talk to Him about it. Tell Him that you are giving up all your rights in this area and invite Him to come and take lordship of it. Ask Him to teach you how to walk out His lordship of this area of your life in your day to day walk.
If Jesus has only been your savior up to now, it is time to start making Him your Lord.