by Benjamin Maxson, Director, General Conference Stewardship
Summary: Lordship is the intimate partnership with Christ through His indwelling presence. He produces His obedience in us as we choose to allow Him into each area of our lives.
Obedience! The very word stirs people. Some respond with positive affirmation. Others react with hopeless resignation. Some say it plays a crucial role in one’s salvation, while others try to isolate it totally from the salvation process. Whatever the reaction, one critical point remains. What or how can obedience work in a believer’s life. This is one place the subject of lordship becomes meaningful.
In the past, lordship simply meant obedience to God’s will—doing what God wanted me to do. But I found myself unable to do what I thought God wanted. This led to various attempts to try harder, or justify my disobedience. If sheer effort could not work, then I had to find some excuse to explain my failure. I also discovered that obedience can become a way to satisfy my own pride of accomplishment. If I could only find the right list of activity, and the secret to successful obedience, God would have to accept me.
But something has happened. I have come to understand that lordship is not merely my willingness to obey God. It is not about how good my lifestyle is. Instead, lordship is a personal relationship with an incredibly capable God. It is not just what I do, but rather what Jesus does when I give Him room. Ezekiel 36:26, 27 tells us that God has promised to change our hearts and put His Spirit in our hearts and cause us to walk in His statutes and obey His decrees. Paul tells us that it is God who works in us both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13). This makes lordship the combination of two factors—our willingness to give God control, and our acceptance of the Holy Spirit as His active agent in our lives.
The first step is to accept Jesus as Savior, for without the love relationship, lordship becomes slavery. The second step is to recognize God as Owner and Creator and accept His right to be in control. The third step is to accept the Holy Spirit by faith. Each of these three decisions is a choice of the will. But the exciting dimension to lordship is when we discover the reality of Christ’s presence in our lives. Just prior to His death, Jesus promised that the Father would send the Holy Spirit to us (John 14:16-20). He said, I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you . . . . On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Thus lordship is the intimate partnership with Christ through His indwelling presence. He thus produces His obedience in us as we choose to allow Him into each area of our lives.