Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
What happens when someone tells us “You need to make Jesus Lord” ?
First, we feel guilty because we know how far we fall short of obeying Jesus in all things. But then the preacher tries to get us all pumped up with the feeling that yes, we can do it if we decide to surrender to Jesus. We might even be invited to come forward while “I Surrender All” plays. We feel euphoria coming over us and get on a spiritual high, feeling that, this time, we can do it.
I remember one service where, before internet porn, the pastor put a dumpster up front, told the men to go out to their vehicles, bring in their dirty magazines and throw them in the dumpster.
But I’m afraid that attempt, even if done with good intentions, didn’t really get to the heart of why the guys had the magazines in the first place. So after the spiritual high wore off the guys would buy replacement magazines and then feel more guilty than ever. This gloomy pattern of failure occurs because it all basically revolves around what we think we have the power to achieve. Thinking we can, on our own, make Jesus Lord of any area of our life is trying to do the impossible.
Is there any way out of this mess ? Yes there is ! Here’s the secret : Jesus already is Lord. He’s a member of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God the Father has appointed him Lord !
When I bow my knee, I don’t make him Lord, I simply acknowledge that he is Lord.
I don’t need to worry and obsess about my own efforts falling short anymore. Instead I can do what Paul commands when he says to
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12b-13)
Since the Lord God is already working in me, I simply want to line up with what he is doing.
So the answer to whether I can make Jesus Lord is “NO.”
But can I have ever-increasing fruitfulness because he IS alive and IS working in me and IS my Lord? The answer is “YES!”