"For Those Who Are Passionate About Reaching The Younger Generation"

Five Core Principles Core Principle #1: The Lordship of Christ

Making Jesus Lord (Part 2)

Dr. Barry St. Clair

Every New Year people make resolutions that usually include bad habits they intend to give up and good habits they plan to begin. But those good intentions are usually forgotten by mid-January. Making Jesus Lord of our lives is far beyond resolving to do better.

Jesus calls us to excellence in our walk with Him. But that excellence comes from His power working in us as a result of our obedience. What will that obedience cost us? Let's take an honest look.

PAYING THE PRICE

Jesus explained to His disciples the cost of following Him. "Then Jesus said to his disciples, If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:24-25). Jesus uses very strong statements to describe what it means to follow Him. He asks us to lose our lives for Him. How can we do that?

Losing our lives involves forgetting ourselves. Several translations of this passage use the phrase "deny yourself." That means we must replace our self-centeredness and personal ambition with a desire to please Jesus Christ. The world says to "look out for number one." But Jesus says forget number one because He has taken responsibility for looking out for us. We don't have to worry (or even think) about our own lives! He knows that when we are preoccupied with our self-interests, then those self interests motivate us.

Losing our lives involves carrying our crosses. The Apostle Paul paints a clear picture of a person who carried his cross. We have already memorized Philippians 2:9-11, which explains how God exalted Jesus. But in the verses before that, Philippians 2:5-8, Paul describes what Jesus did before He was exalted. He made himself nothing. He took on the nature of a servant. He humbled himself. He became obedient unto death. Jesus took up His cross as an obedient servant of His Father. We carry our cross the same way. Seeing ourselves as nothing compared to God, becoming a servant, humbling ourselves, and obeying, even in the face of death.

Losing our lives involves following Jesus. Following Jesus means we walk step-by-step with Him as His companion. To do that we need to agree with Jesus' goals for our lives and to be willing to submit to those goals daily. The more we see how incredible He is, the more desire we will have to submit.

RECEIVING THE BENEFITS

Forgetting ourselves, carrying our cross, and following Jesus will be the "price of admission" if we are going to make Jesus Lord of our lives. But we will receive many benefits from making Jesus Lord of our lives.
We will make the best decisions. When Jesus is Lord of our lives, we live in the center of God's will. As a result, when we make decisions, God will give us specific guidance (Proverbs 3:5-6).

We will find satisfaction. Think about how your mouth feels when you are really thirsty. Jesus is our spiritual "thirst quencher" (John 4:10-14). Jesus is a "river of life" flowing out of us that satisfies every need we have.

Our character will change. "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers" (Romans 8:28-29). Being "called according to His purpose" is another way of saying "He is Lord of my life." "Conformed to the likeness of His Son" means Jesus is working in us to express His character through our lives.

Our future will have hope. Many things can make life tough: losing a loved one, being disliked because of your convictions, not having a job, etc. No matter how bad things look right now, we have a bright future! If we remain faithful during our tough times, a time will come when He will fulfill His promises and we will reign with Jesus forever (2 Timothy 2:11-12).

We will be winners. Jesus makes us victorious in life and victorious over death. "Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57). When Jesus is our lord, we share in that ultimate victory!

Focus on Matthew 16:24-25. Whoever loses his life will find it. Jim Elliott, a missionary who was killed by Auca Indians in 1955, wrote this in his journal: "He is not a fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" (Shadow of the Almighty, Elizabeth Elliott, Harper and Row).

Think of it this way: We give Jesus the blank sheet of our lives, and He gives us back a blank check. We let Him write on our blank sheet of paper whatever He desires for our lives. In return, we can use His blank check to "cash in on" promise after promise He has made to us. Check out Romans 8:32, Ephesians 1:3, and 2 Peter 1:3 to discover a few of His promises.

New Year's resolutions don't stick, but laying down our lives for Christ does stick. It's the only way to please Him and the only way to reach our full potential in Him.

ACTION POINT

1. Study Romans 12:1-2. Look for practical ways to make Jesus Lord for you personally. List them below.

 

 


2. Romans 12:1-2 also has the answer to how you can stop "looking out for number one." When Paul says to "offer your bodies," he means that we must place our minds, feelings, and desires as well as our physical bodies at Jesus' disposal. The phrase, "as a living sacrifice," means dying to those areas of our lives where we are still putting ourselves before God. Spend at least 30 minutes reflecting on some specific ways that you are still "looking out for number one." Consider the following areas.

Your thoughts (2 Timothy 2:22; Matthew 5:27-28)

Do you read books and magazines or attend movies that stimulate impure thoughts? Do you let your mind turn to lustful thoughts of the opposite sex?


Your relationships (Matthew 5:23-24; 6:12-14)

List the people with whom you have a wrong relationship. Do you hold a grudge toward anyone? Do you have a good relationship with your parents, spouse, children, and other family members?

Your attitudes (Ephesians 4:31-32; Philippians 2:14-15)

Is there anyone toward whom you have a bad attitude? Do you complain? Gripe? Criticize? Do you lie, steal, or cheat?

 

Your desires (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:9-10)

Do you put too much emphasis on material possessions (clothes, cars, making money)?

 

Your physical body (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

Are you careless with your body? Do you have habits which defile or weaken your body?

 

3. Read and study Philippians 2:3-11. You have the mind of Christ. What needs to happen in you to transform your thoughts, relationships, attitudes, desires, and physical body into His thoughts, relationships, attitudes, desires, and what He wants for your physical body? Write down one action that you believe God wants you to take in each area. Which action do you need to take first? Write down the immediate result of taking that action.

ACTION

PRIORITY

RESULT

 

 

 

4. Memorize Matthew 16:24 and continue your daily quiet times in Mark.

Remember: as we die to ourselves, God will inject His life into us in return.

Source Information

This article is from A VISION FOR LIFE AND MINISTRY, which is Book Two of the series, BUILDING LEADERS FOR JESUS-FOCUSED YOUTH MINISTRY, by Barry St. Clair ( pp. 13-16, used by permission).   This series of three books is designed for an adult leader to use in training other adults to share leadership in a local youth ministry. Find more about each book by visiting OUR RESOURCES.

Author

Barry St. Clair is founder and director of Reach Out Youth Solutions, which equips youth workers and young people for strategic ministry through the church around the world. He has worked with youth leaders and young people for over 30 years in evangelism and discipleship. Barry holds both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministries degrees and is the author of numerous books.