I like hockey. I might even call myself a fan. But of what team is dependent on who I am beside. When I was a kid, my older brother was a Montreal Canadiens fan, so I cheered for them. My first husband liked Buffalo, so I cheered for them, and my current husband is a fan of Boston, so I am as well. I don’t pay much attention during the regular season, but during the playoffs I might catch a part of a period here and there. If it is the final game, I could be found watching the whole game and passionately cheering for “my” team. And if they were to actually win, I would consider myself vindicated for having placed my “faith” in this team. I would expect to get the acknowledgement from the nay-sayers that I made the right choice.
I was reading Philippians this week and came across some familiar verses: “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (2:10-11). Whenever I read these verses it seems like the same scene as when my team wins the Stanley Cup. I can picture myself standing there, hands on my hips, smug look on my face, while the whole world bows and I am vindicated for having placed my faith in “team Jesus” as the winner. This week however, while I was imagining the scene, I felt the Lord watching me, asking, why aren’t you bowing?
Ouch! Here I am, standing with Jesus, as if it is me that deserves the accolades, when in fact, I should have been on my knees all along! Even Jesus, who is God, “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil 2:8). Jesus humbled Himself, do I? Is He really Lord of my life? Or do I only hop on “team Jesus” when we reach the playoffs? In my everyday life, am I making Him Lord? Do I humble myself before Him? While I am facing a large chimney replacement bill, am I pouring over my finances, or hitting my knees? When dealing with illness or stress, am I popping a pill, or hitting my knees first? When I am deciding on a major purchase, am I consulting with my friends, or Jesus? I would have to admit that in a lot of ways I am lord of my life. I don’t submit to Him in many of these areas.
Then I started to wonder if I even know how to truly worship. I mean in our culture, there really is no example of worshipping something. We don’t have a royal family to bow to or a statue that we consider it necessary to pay homage to. I am not sure how to submit myself under Jesus, to worship Him as Lord. Saviour, yes! That is not a problem! I can and will be grateful forever, but as Lord?
There is a description in a book I read (unfortunately I cannot remember which one), that asks you to imagine Jesus having gone out to fight for your city/country and returning victorious over your enemies. Here he comes, triumphantly entering the city, bloodied and bruised, but victorious. The city gathers around to welcome Him back. Here I might be able to see myself bowing in worship of the King. I seem to be able to worship in the spiritual realm. I sing praise songs and acknowledge Him as God. But in all other aspects of my life, is He Lord, or am I? There is a whole part of my life that remains in need of saving because I have yet to submit it to the Lord.
Those verses I quoted at the beginning were not written in the future tense. They are in the present. They are written to me and the church. That submission begins with me, with us. Jesus said in John 12:32: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” Who am I to not exalt Jesus? I cannot save people. And my witness will be completely ineffective if I am not making Him Lord of my life.
I quoted Phil 2:8 earlier that describes Christ’s humility that led Him to the cross. The next verse says, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,” This is then followed by verses 10-11 that I quoted earlier. But perhaps they are better read like this: that at the name of Jesus I should bow and my tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. There is no final game of the playoffs to wait for before I show my devotion. My worship of My Lord must begin now. If I get out of the way and exalt Him, how many people around me will see Him and be drawn to the Saviour?