“So why do you call me ‘Lord,’ when you won’t obey me?” (Luke 6:46)
It’s easy to call out disobedience in other people, and not nearly as easy to see it in myself. After all, I’m basically a people-pleaser and a rule-keeper … not a rebel. I learned long ago that obedience (or at least, compliance) serves me well. People like it, affirm it, and respond to it. It smooths the waters and minimizes conflict. It opens doors. It gets rewarded.
“So why do you call me ‘Lord,’ when you won’t obey me?”
This doesn’t seem like a fair question. Everything within me pushes back. All of the “self” sins, as A.W. Tozer once described them, kick into gear: self-justification, self-defense, self-righteousness, self-service, and more. No, this question is not for me today. Look at me! I’m even observing Lent. Look at all those other Christian folk around the world who don’t even know it is Lent! Let’s pop this question back in the cup, and draw another one.
But wait. Maybe there’s a little something here to consider after all.
Jesus doesn’t make obedience a matter of comparisons. “Do you obey me as much or more than the next person?” He frames it, instead, in light of His Lordship in my life. And that touches a nerve. That’s likely why I’m dancing like a cat on a hot tin roof.
His Lordship pushes my people-pleasing, rule-keeping, self-sins completely off-stage. They’re not relevant. He won’t let me look at other people. Instead, He poses an intensely personal question that fundamentally challenges not what I do (my actions) but how I see Him (my true allegiance).
If I call Him friend, I find all sorts of moral wriggle-room. If I call Him Savior, it feels like a done deal with little more required of me. But to call Him Lord is to make Him the ultimate authority in my life. And suddenly all of my equivocation, my vacillating back and forth, my indecision and inconsistency, my small acts of selfishness and great acts of carelessness, my neglect of His Word and resistance to His voice … it all cries out “Hypocrisy!”
This Jesus Question comes not as a whip but as an exhortation. It shines a light again on His Lordship, not to demoralize or accuse us but to remind us that only in our consistent, dedicated, intentional, joyful obedience to Him and His Word do we truly find abundant life.
Every small act of attentiveness and surrender that we offer to Him today, paves the way to healing, hope, and true wholeness in our lives. What might you do in the next two hours to affirm His Lordship?