An important question we must ask ourselves is this: Is Jesus our King? Note, the question is not whether He is King, because this is a given. He will forever be the Sovereign King of kings. Rather, the question is , is He our King? “Well,” someone will say, “He’s my Savior.” Again, this isn’t an answer to the question. Is Jesus Christ your King, and mine? Understand, our answers have ramifications and specific implications, and as my pastor pointed out recently, even children understand these implications.
Each of us, whether young or old, understand that a Monarchy is not a democracy. Neither majority nor minority opinions count for anything. Furthermore, the king is sole authority and rule maker. And when a king sends a request/command, it’s not a matter of whether the subject wants to do it.
If Jesus is truly our King, then He has authority over us. Now, technically, He is King over all but many reject His authority over their lives. However, for the people of God, we gladly receive His authority over our lives. Likewise, if He is our King, then we must acknowledge He is the Sovereign rule and law maker. These are not up for debate. We are either willing to surrender to His kingship or defy Him like an unbeliever. When He declares something good and right, then it is so. And when He declares something as wrong and evil, then it is so. Again, to argue, debate, and to try to twist the Scriptures to fit our preferences is simply to defy Him just as an unbeliever.
We must also be cautious of words like liberal, conservative, moderate, Democrat, Republican, and the like. Jesus isn’t any of these. He is perfectly holy, righteous, and just. Sir, ma’am, you might use such words to describe yourself. However, if you profess Jesus ad your King (Lord) and Savior, is your life being transformed by being conformed to His likeness and teachings?
It’s become en vogue in certain circles to cast doubt on the Scriptures; yet, when you read the Gospels, Jesus has complete trust in them and their accuracy. Some like to pit the “theologies” of the apostles against one another, but Jesus never does this with the prophets, and it is His Spirit which would guide them to complete the canon of Scriptures.
There are others who want to distort such as the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, twisting morality into something relative and subjective. Some do this with the issue of the sanctity of life as well. Nevertheless, if Jesus is truly your King, then you’ll know you have no warrant to tamper with His ordinances.
Still, on the “conservative” side I have witnessed all kinds of pride and hypocrisies, as though we are among God’s favorites. Therefore, we think Jesus will just wink at our pride, turning a blind eye, demanding our ways, improprieties, and the like. Again, to dismiss His commands concerning humility, honesty, purity, love, and integrity is to rebel against Him like an unbeliever. None of us is immune from this tension.
So, as we consider the Kingship of Jesus Christ, we can acknowledge the difficulty of the Christian life, and the frustrations in prayer. Part of what makes the Christian life difficult is the reality of learning to say “No!” to ourselves and our preferences and passions, and learning to say “Yes!” to Christ’s. And part of what makes prayer frustrating is the fact many of our prayers are denied because they’re not in line with God’s character, ways, or will. But who is king? Is it you (or I) or is it Christ? Then where does our allegiance lie? Is it in us and our desires or in Christ and His desires?
Consider what Jesus says in His sermon on the Mount:
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. ~ Matthew 6:24
While Jesus uses money as an example here, one’s master can just as easily be pride, lust, substances, an ideology, a denomination, a political affiliation, etc. The point is, whoever our true master and king is, that is who we will ultimately follow. There are many who profess that Jesus is their King, but their true loyalties are elsewhere. Therefore, Jesus is not really their King.
Understand, none of us is perfect. That’s not the point. Even the apostle Peter failed numerous times. Nevertheless, we continue to see his relationship, love, and devotion to Christ continue to grow in the Gospels, then Acts, and then in his letters. But this growth came through his receiving Jesus’ instructions, rebukes, and encouragement. When Jesus instructed him in teachings, Peter listened with acceptance—even when it was uncomfortable (for example, when he asked about forgiving a person up to seven times, and Jesus said seven times seventy. Peter didn’t argue). Or when Jesus rebuked him, even calling him Satan, Peter didn’t question Jesus’ authority or right to say such a thing. And when Peter totally blew it, denying Jesus three times, he humbly received His love when Jesus didn’t give up on him. But neither did he waste nor abuse that love.
So, perhaps one of the most difficult aspects to prayer is that of, while letting our requests be made known to Him, but also genuinely meaning it when we say, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” Why? Because He is the all-wise and all-good King. Honestly, sometimes my prayers are about what I want. Even aside from prayer, sometimes my flesh wants to respond with accordance to my desires, which are in contrast to Christ’s. I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t feel this tension. Yet, at the end of the day, who is King? And whose will do I truly desire to be done? And to whom do I truly give my allegiance? I hope that each day my allegiance to Jesus Christ is becoming increasingly solidified. Any of us can say that Jesus is our King easily enough. But the proof is in whether our lives are increasingly conforming to Him and the Sacred Scriptures. It is by this our lives prove if we are being honest when we say to Him, “Your will be done.” Otherwise, they’re just empty words.