There is a story I heard once about a king from the Middle Ages. He converted to Christianity in order to marry the daughter of another king. He was instructed in the faith and was later baptized. His soldiers, in a display of loyalty to their king, desired to be baptized as well. Several priests were commissioned to go and teach the army of five hundred soldiers about Christ.
When the time came for the baptism, the entire group chose to be baptized all at once. Five hundred soldiers and five hundred priests walked out into the water together. There was a problem, however. At that time, the church did not allow Christians to serve in the military. These soldiers wanted to show loyalty to their king by being baptized, but they also did not want to give up serving in the army. What were they going to do?
As the priests prepared to baptize the army, all five hundred soldiers reached down and drew their swords. As they were being immersed in the water, they lifted their sword arm high over their heads. In that way, they devoted everything to God except their sword and arm.
This story seems a bit absurd. Just imagine five hundred people being baptized, and all you can see sticking out of the water is five hundred swords. But we do the same thing, don’t we? We offer our lives to God, except for work. We promise to trust God with everything, except our relationship with our spouse. We ask Jesus to lead us wherever we desires, except we don’t want to go there.
We often approach God and hold something back. But He wants us to give Him everything. The Bible constantly refers to Jesus as Lord. For the longest time, I always assumed “lord” was synonymous with “god”. They seem to be interchangeable, and often appear paired together throughout the Bible. The word “lord”, however, as more to do with “authority” and “master” than divinity. The statement “Jesus is Lord”, then, means that Jesus is the supreme authority in our lives. He is in charge. As Paul writes,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith int he Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
God wants us to give him everything we have and not hold back. Putting your faith and trust in Jesus means that we make him lord of our lives. We put our own wants and desires aside, and learn to say, “Not my will but yours be done.”
It’s not always easy and we will not be perfect. But as long as we are holding our sword arms out of the water, we are not truly submitting to the lordship of Christ. At best, we are putting Him in a box and only allowing him to have influence over certain areas of our lives. But Jesus does not want to be an add-on or accessory. He wants our entire lives.
What are you holding out of the water?