Something that's been bothering me lately is the way we talk about Christian "things." I hear people talking about their "faith story" or their conversion or their interaction with people and it's as if one now-cliche sentiment after another just rolls right off their tongues.
I get that all sorts of fields of belief and work and hobby have their own particular jargon or "talk" the participants use. This is understandable and makes sense, for it helps simplify and condense communication. However, I also have no doubt that some of the jargon we employ in our various groups can get watered down or start to morph in meaning. It can become flat out cheese ball (hence the title of this post), or, worse still, sometimes the jargon can become the full extent of the meaning it was originally intended to condense or simplify. Or it can take on an entirely different meaning--one far removed from its valid origin.
Here's an example. Christians will often ask "Have you made Jesus Lord of your life?" when they are "witnessing" (yet another term that has morphed in meaning). I've heard people ask something like this or refer to "making Jesus Lord of their life" at our chapel services, while those of us in attendance listen on, undisturbed or unperplexed.
But this phraseology is misleading and theologically inaccurate. If Jesus is Lord (and I'm fairly certain he thought and acted and was revealed as if this were so), then how do we make him so? We can't make him what he already is. Period.
Oh, you may be thinking, "Kent. Kent. Kent. You're nitpicking. What the person means is have they accepted him as Lord." Fine. That may be what people mean when they say this, but what is being said and what is meant don't jive. Eventually--and I'm sure we're already in this situation--eventually the inaccurate question or explanation is going to be taken for accurate. In this case, a person's claim to have "made Jesus Lord" reveals something far deeper than poor word choice. It most likely also shows that we think we're independent and that Jesus is of no concern or significance to us until WE make him have concern and significance.
But this just isn't the reality. While we may live and operate within this world as if we are independent, it doesn't mean that we are. What really happens is that we have the metaphorical scales removed from our eyes and hearts--our understanding is broadened or opened up--and we "see" that there is a God and that his Son is Lord. We don't then choose to make him Lord. He is. Rather, we accept that this is so. Or, to put it another way, we receive this as so. Both "accept" and "receive" are terms we use to refer to our coming to faith in Christ; both of these terms can be misapplied as can this "making Jesus Lord" phrase. However, these terms--as they are commonly defined--can also carry the ideas of admission of belief or understanding. In the dictionary, one of the definitions of "receive" is "to accept as authoritative, valid, true, or approved."
This way of putting things is much better than our casually uttered way of asking or stating something about making Jesus Lord.
Again, some of you may thin I'm just slicing at words. Maybe I am. But this is only because I DON'T want meaning to get sliced. The gospel isn't that hard to understand or explain, but somehow we've come up with overly-simplistic terminology or jargon to discuss it... and we're losing the truth behind our words. This is a danger. This is bothersome. And, I'm starting to realize that it's making some of our once-sound beliefs seem cheesy. People are being turned off by it--believer and non-believers alike.