When many people ask Jesus into their hearts and put their faith in Him, they pray a prayer that includes a phrase that goes something like this: “Jesus, please be my Lord and Savior.” However, I have a concern that many who have prayed this prayer do not fully understand what this phrase means. If Jesus is to be our Lord and our Savior, then we need to make sure we understand what it both of those things really mean.
Let’s start with the easier one: Savior. The word Savior deals with our eternal destiny. We love this word. After all, one of the big reasons we come to Jesus is that we recognize that we were dead in our sins, and we need a Savior to rescue us from eternal spiritual death. It is because of Jesus our Savior that we can have eternal life. Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead on the third day, and conquered sin, death, and the grave for our sakes. It is because of His atoning sacrifice for us on the cross that we can now experience His powerful grace and forgiveness. We can experience eternal life with Jesus because He is our Savior.
But now let’s look at the more difficult word: Lord. The word Lord deals with the discipleship process here on earth, and it is a costly word. No, it does not literally cost us money, but it signifies the cost of being a disciple of Christ. This is not a word that we like as much. No, this word comes with a price, and not everyone is willing to pay that price. You see, Savior deals with the price that Jesus paid for us; but Lord deals with the cost of living for Him.
For Jesus to be Lord of our lives, it means that He is given complete control. We give up our rights to drive our lives. We get out of the driver’s seat and let Him take over. The first definition of the word Lord in the dictionary is: “Someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler.” This definition creates a problem for those people who want to be in control and run their own lives. And if we’re honest, we are all at least somewhat control freaks, right? It’s hard for us to give up control! We have this tendency to want to manage everything in our lives—but that’s a huge problem, because when we do that, we leave no room for Jesus. We only want Jesus in our lives on our terms and when it’s convenient.
We love to make Jesus our Savior, but we don’t always love to make Him Lord—because when He is Lord, we have to give Him full control. When He is Lord, we might have to follow Him even if our families and friends reject us. When He is Lord, we might have to obey Him even when He tells us to do something that is way outside our comfort zones. When He is Lord, we might face all kinds of ridicule and persecution because of our determination to stand up for what’s right. And when He is Lord, it requires that we ultimately put our old selves to death.
The Bible says that we are not our own, but we were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:19–20). That means that when we give our lives to Jesus, we can’t just call Him our Savior without serving Him as our Lord. It means that He actually owns us now. However, we don’t serve and love Him because we have to, but because we want to. When Jesus is our Lord and Savior, our natural response is that our hearts will fall madly in love with Him, and we will want to live for Him with everything we have. With this in mind, Jesus, we make this our prayer: Come be our Lord and Savior. Come do what You want to do in us and with us and through us. We give it all to You—everything. Come and change our lives for Your glory, we pray. Amen.