I Give Up

I have found an area of agreement with Paul. And it feels, well, ok.  (See this post for why that is more than a little surprising).

I’m a Presbyterian now so I guess that makes me part of the chosen.  But it hasn’t always been that way.  If you grow up unchosen, as I did, at some point you have to “give your life to Christ”.  It’s a public thing.  Basically, you respond to a song at the end of a church service, with everyone staring at you, knowing good and well that attached to every staring eye is an empty stomach.  You’re the only thing between all those people and the buffet line.  It’s a little intimidating.  Suffering for the gospel starts early for the unchosen.

I accepted my invitation one night after dinner at church camp (I’m clever that way; not a hungry person in the crowd).  I was nine years old.  I came forward to strumming guitars and a room full of people singing I Have Decided To Follow Jesus.  When I got to the front, someone asked me if I wanted Jesus to be Lord of my life.  They way I figured it, some grown up was lording over virtually every part of my life anyway.  “Yea, sure,” I said.

Paul talks alot about the Lordship of Christ.  Perhaps Paul and I should have talked before I made my fateful decision that night.  Because this Lordship stuff is tough.  In part because Paul says that Jesus is the Lord of everything.

For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones of powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.  He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.  And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy.

Everything?  Talk about a control freak.  Geesh.

It seems to me like there ought to be some things that are just off limits.  And as to what those things are, I’m open to negotiation.  My church life?  Jesus, take the wheel.  My family life?  I get that.  My free time?  Yea, sure, some of it anyway.  My work life?  We can talk about that.  My finances?  My priorities?  My body?  My speech?  My thoughts?  Everything?

Everything, says Paul.

This Lordship stuff is tough but I think Paul is right on this one.  I think Jesus wants to be Lord of everything.  And I’m not there yet.  In fact, it’s difficult for me to even imagine how life under Lordship would work.  It’s difficult for me to imagine a life in which I completely give up control of decisions involving my finances, my family, my work, even my thoughts.  Maybe I’m the control freak.  But just the thought of that makes me very uncomfortable.  Like most folks, I value my independence and my self sufficiency.  Giving that up makes me nervous.

But whether I knew it or not, the decision I made nearly forty years ago, was to give myself wholly and unconditionally to God.  And that means making him Lord of my life –every part of it.  As Paul says in the fourteenth chapter of Romans:

For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9

So, Paul, I’m with you on this Lordship stuff.  I think you’ve got it about right.  That doesn’t make it any easier.  And I still think you’re wrong about some of the other stuff.  But I’ll save that for later.

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3 thoughts on “I Give Up

  1. Pingback: I Give Up (the Sunday School version) | skepticallydevout

  2. Below are notes from the Sr. High Sunday School Lesson on which the post I Give Up was based:

    The Lordship of Christ (Senior High)

    Q: Can anyone give me a good definition of “Lord”?

    Here’s one: a deferential title for a person or deity who has authority, control or power over others.
    Q: Who are some people (or deities) that have authority, control or power over others?

    Police
    School Teachers
    Coaches
    Parents
    The President
    God
    Judges
    Principals
    School bullies
    Q: What is the source of their authority, control, or power over others?

    Police – Legal, physical, coercive
    Teachers – Grades, detention, suspension, wanting to please them
    Coaches – Playing time, know what they are talking about, desired outcome (winning the game)
    President – Popularity, credibility, the confidence of the American people, the law
    God – Hell, grace, faith, wanting to please, gratitude
    Judge – The law, possibility of a prison sentence
    Principal – Position, detention, suspension
    School bully – Physical, intimidation, manipulation
    Q: When you think of people that you voluntarily submit to and allow to exercise power, control or authority over you, what are some of the qualities of those people?

    Charisma
    Integrity
    Dedication
    Transparency/honesty/candor
    Fairness
    My best interest
    Wisdom
    Demonstrated success
    Good listener
    Q: What title does Jesus claim for Himself?

    John 13:13
    Acts 2:36
    Rev. 19:16
    Q: One of the themes of Paul’s writings is the Lordship of Jesus Christ

    Read: Colossians 1: 15-20
    15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
    Q: According to Paul, what is the scope of the Lordship of Jesus Christ?

    Visible and Invisible
    Living and dead
    Heaven and Earth
    All of creation
    Thrones, powers, rulers or authorities
    EVERYTHING
    Q: Name some of the things that make you, you?

    Family
    Friends
    School
    Work
    Fashion
    Sports
    Possessions
    Faith/Spiritual Life
    Thoughts
    Speech
    Emotions
    Q: In which of these areas are you confident that God is Lord? In which of these areas is God and God alone exerting power and authority and control?

    Q: In which of these areas do you share power and authority and control with God?

    Q: In which of these areas do you alone exercise power and authority and control without God’s input?

    Q: If we allowed God to be Lord of these areas, how might God exercise his authority and control?

    Q: Why is it that we are often times unwilling to allow the Lordship of Christ in to some of these areas?

    Loss of control
    Our own plans for ourselves
    Goals and ambitions
    Wouldn’t be as fun
    Can’t afford it/don’t want to give up certain possessions
    Loss of popularity
    Q: Is it possible that those things become the Lord of our lives and end up exercising authority and power and control over us?

    Q: How can we change these patterns and allow God to be Lord of Everything?

    practice
    prayer
    support of friends/church/parents/etc
    start small
    start with the mundane
    watch what God does when He is in control
    grow in confidence
    Closing Prayer:

    God, help us to make you Lord of our lives. Give us the wisdom to allow you to exercise authority and power and control of all areas of our lives. And help us to grow in confidence that when you are Lord of these areas, all things are possible. Amen.

  3. Pingback: I Know I’m Right, But What About You? | skepticallydevout

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