The other day, during a Personal Worship Time, I reflected on the most used title of Jesus, “Lord Jesus Christ.” As I looked at this title, which the apostles use over 50 times in the New Testament, I realized that each of those words has a special meaning of how it relates to our lives. These three words can be used as an Examen; both as a way to examine how my life follows the leadership of Jesus (Examination of Conscience) and as it uncovers those times during the day that the Lord has blessed me or revealed Himself to me (Examination of Consciousness).
“Lord” – signifying Christ’s leadership in our lives. In the early Church, the litmus test of true believers was the phrase, “Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9, 1 Corinthians 12:3). The Lordship of Jesus Christ still serves as the main engine of our discipleship and Whole Life Worship. As an Examen, I use “Lord” to identify those areas of my life that He calls me to surrender to Him. Right now, one of those areas is to let go in “being right” in my opinions and judging others (see yesterday’s blog!).
“Lord” also points to my need to trust Him with areas in my life that cause me to be impatient with people. It reminds me that Christ (not I) is in charge of my timelines: whether they are about getting to a destination (like red traffic lights) or developing people (leaders, disciples, children and grandchildren). Following Christ’s Lordship determines whether or not I am positioning myself for transformation and to bear the fruit of the Spirit and righteousness.
“Jesus” – literally means ‘Yahweh Saves.’ The name of Jesus reminds us not only of His historical presence on earth and His saving work on the cross, but also of the ways God shows His grace and mercies to us in the here and now. In the name of Jesus, we receive help in our time of need (which is often) as well as supernatural strength from His Spirit to do His will.
This past weekend I saw the wonderful grace of Jesus as I attended my High School reunion. I was genuinely affirmed and blessed by several of my classmates (which comes from the hand of God). I also experienced a sense of forgiveness and closure in a relationship that I caused pain and damage some 38 years ago. Each of these was like “a kiss from heaven” that brought healing and refreshment to my soul.
“Christ” – means ‘Anointed One.’ It is equivalent to “King” in our modern language. As I thought about of the reign of God, I was particularly drawn to how all things in Creation are under His sovereign reign. Not only does my life fall under the reign of the King as I follow Him, but the circumstances of my life, as well the events of the world, are under His reign. These include the things in life that I find perplexing and difficult. Understanding that Jesus is Christ gives me great comfort in knowing that it will all work out in the end.
As I spent time this weekend with my family, I realized there are so many unresolved and bitter things. My dear sister suffers from an unknown ailment and I am speechless. My dad’s death still seems premature and there’s an ache in my heart that just does not go away. My sister-in-law has suffered several bouts with cancer, and it never seems to end. There are unmentionable conflicts and difficulties caused by circumstances and decisions beyond our control, and sometimes they even seem out of reach of our best prayers. But in those moments of despair and grief, the gentle wave of the Spirit seems to come over me: “Jesus is the King of Kings. He is the Sovereign Lord.” And I know again that the One who willingly suffered and died for us will prevail in all things in the end.
So in this simple three word Examen, I’m learning to surrender and trust, to laugh and weep, to receive rebuke and kisses, to notice and embrace, to resolve and be unraveled all at the same time. But in this, something good has definitely moved deeper into my soul.
Lord – Jesus – Christ.