Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How to Inherit Eternal Life, part 4: Lordship

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE." (Luke 10:25-28 NASB)

The lawyer (expert in Mosaic law) asked Jesus a simple question. "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus asked him what the law said and he responded with two verses that are the essence of the law. "Love God. Love your neighbor." Jesus replied, "Do this and you will live." The love of which the lawyer spoke is the kind of love that will lead us to abundant life in this world and eternal life in the next. This love, however, is a beautiful and all-consuming love, and we will look at the kind of love we should have for the next few days. 

You shall love the Lord Your God

What does it mean to love the Lord Your God? Let's start with the word translated as "Lord." The word here is kyrios and is used to indicate the owner of a thing (or person) or the master. The kyrios has the authority to make all decisions concerning the one owned. The term is used as a title of both respect and reverence. The kyrios is the one in charge and what he says goes. Loving God appropriately begins with understanding who He is and who we are not. Almighty God is the One in charge, not us. We must defer to Him in every decision, trusting His Will for us and our lives. 

Until we understand and submit to God as Master, Owner, Planner, and Decider of every aspect of our lives, we will not love Him as we should. The problem comes when what we want is different from what God wants, doesn't it? If we look at the example of Christ, the Suffering Servant who became the Sin Sacrifice for all mankind, we get a glimpse of the extent to which God went for us. It also gives us a glimpse of the will of God and causes us to fear incredible sacrifice of our own. We dare not hold back from the One who gave everything for us, yet we do, mostly from fear of having to submit our will to His Will. 

I struggle with this, as do we all. This business of submitting to the One who has the authority to make every decision concerning us is difficult. We put our faith in a God we cannot see to direct the circumstances of the life we can see, and how blessed we are when we do this, for it is then that we begin to see the evidence of our Lord at work in our lives. The problem, of course, is that we want to direct our own fate, despite the fact that we do a poor job of it. 

We have a choice to make, right at the start. We can submit to the Master and allow Him to BE our Master, or we can direct our own lives and live in rebellion. We cannot have it both ways. Jeremiah 29:11 promises us that the plans God has for us are good, that they will be for our good and not for evil, and that those plans will give us a future and a hope. When we understand that, when we believe that, it becomes a simple choice to allow the One with good plans to proceed. 

Dear ones, the choice is simple, but it must be made. Will we allow our God to be our Lord, or not? The time to choose is now. Loving God demands it.