Ultimately, this attribute answers the questions, “Who (or what) is first in my life?” And, “why do I exist?” These questions address what is often called “The Lordship Commitment.” Does Christ hold first place in the life of the disciple? Will he or she submit to and obey His revealed will in all matters of life? Is his or her passion and motivation now upon glorifying God instead of living for oneself? The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian believers (who truly struggled with their passions), “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God,” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The growing disciple of Christ begins to discover area after area of his or her personal life that needs to be submitted to the will of Christ. He does not want to live for self but for God’s glory.
This disciple is sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in all matters of obedience to God’s law (his expressed will). Obedience spawned by love for God and out of gratitude for His grace and forgiveness becomes a heartfelt passion, even though struggles with sin remain a reality. Self is no longer the driving force in their lives. Even though some of us may have come to faith in Christ out a motive for self survival but slowly, over time we realize that we have been captured and saved by God to live for Him and His honor alone. Although sin still has its subversive grip in our lives, we want to give God our all and be an example to others regarding a life that is now completely given over to our Lord Jesus Christ. There is no disparity between making Christ Savior and making Him Lord. We want Him to be Lord, even at our conversion (Colossians 2:7). Although the disciple does not fully understand the commitment being made to Christ when he or she trusts Him for salvation (similar to marriage I might add), the disciple wants God to rule over his or her life. He has tried life his way and found it lacking. When it comes to focusing upon Christ and the Christian life, he is “all in!” The lordship of Christ begins at salvation but becomes more fully realized as the disciple walks through life with a new master. And with each passing day, this follower of Jesus is able to say more and more “Not to us, but to your name be the glory!” (Psalm 115:1).
Rod Culbertson is presently Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of Student Development at the Charlotte, North Carolina campus of Reformed Theological Seminary. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina and received the Master of Divinity degree from Columbia International University. He married his wife, Cathy, in 1979 and they have 4 grown children. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America, Rod served at the University of Florida as a campus minister with Reformed University Fellowship for almost 10 years, having begun that work in 1980. In 1990, Rod and Cathy moved their family to Clearwater, Florida where the Lord used them to start a new PCA church, Christ Community Presbyterian. Rod and his family came to Reformed Theological Seminary/Charlotte in 1994. Rod has earned a Doctor of Ministry degree at RTS and teaches courses in Leadership, Pastoral Ministry, Evangelism and Discipleship, among others.