In order to better understand the concept of expressing the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we need to consider a particular Greek word. The word is anastrophe. It is usually translated “conversation” in the King James Bible. The word “conversation” does not carry the same thought today as it did then, so we need to consider the Greek. In doing so, we will look at a few verses where the word is found.
Galatians 1:13 For you have heard of my conversation (anastrophe) in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it.
When we think of the word “conversation,” we normally think only of verbal interaction between two people. But Galatians 1:13 plainly reveals a broader definition than just verbal communication. And when we examine the Greek word anastrophe we find that it does mean much more. Anastrophe is not only verbal expression; it also involves expression through actions, attitudes, and character. It is the expression of one’s life; the expression of what we are.
So when Paul says, “You have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it,” he is not saying he only spoke against the church. He focused his entire being toward the destruction of it.
Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation (anastrophe) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Here we see the word “conversation” speaking of the expression of the flesh nature. Our speech, actions, attitudes, moods, thoughts, desires, etc., are all expressions of what we are. When our nature has not been changed by God, our anastrophe is an expression of the lusts of the flesh.
I Peter 1:15 But as He which has called you is holy, so you be holy in all manner of conversation (anastrophe).
When we say that God is holy, we are saying that His very nature is holiness. In whatever way He expresses Himself His holiness is manifested. It should be the same way with us. Our very life should be an expression of His holiness. It is obvious that when Peter tells us to be “holy in all manner of conversation” he is not just talking about our speech. He is talking about every aspect of life’s expression. What we are should express God’s nature.
I Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
Obviously, one is not speaking by the Spirit of God if he calls Jesus accursed. But what does Paul mean when he says, “No man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost”?
Merely saying the words “Jesus is Lord” does not mean it is being said by the Holy Spirit. If asked, almost every non-Christian would say that Jesus is Lord. And even if a Christian says it, it may not be by the Holy Spirit. Paul is speaking of something much more than a verbal confession. We have all heard the expression “what you are speaks louder than what you say.” That is what Paul is talking about. When a person’s life proclaims the Lordship of Jesus, then it is by the Holy Spirit. It is only after a deep work of the Holy Spirit that a Christian comes to the place where the very essence of his being says, “Jesus is Lord!”
In II Kings 17:33, the prophet said that Israel “feared the Lord, and served their own gods.” It is the same way today. Many Christians have other lords dominating their lives besides the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of them are probably not bad in themselves, but they have been allowed to take priority over serving the Lord.
Careers, education, and wealth, for example, are not evil. There is nothing wrong with having a career, being very educated, or wealthy. But when those things become the driving force of a person’s life, then they become lords that dominate. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24. We may not consciously hate the Lord, but when we allow something else to control our lives it is the same thing. Even though Jesus is still our Savior, He is not the Lord of a divided heart. We must come to the place where we “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; then the other things will be added” (Matthew 6:33).
What about prestige? That means more to some people than anything else. Many preachers have fallen prey to this trap of the enemy. They usually begin with a sincere heart, but then they get a TV ministry and a vast following, a big name, and their hearts are lifted up. They become Babylon because they begin building their own kingdoms instead of the Kingdom of God. That was the problem in Babel. They wanted to make a name for themselves by building a great city and a tower that reached into heaven (Genesis 11:4).
Many people like having a big name in the business world. They lust after the power to influence. Prestige has become their lord. Christians sometime fall into this trap, too. They take great pride in their denomination and feel that others are of lesser quality. “I’m a Baptist!” “I’m a Methodist!” “I’m a Charismatic!” Paul confronted that same spirit in Corinth. They said, “I’m of Paul,” or “I’m of Apollos,” etc. But Paul said, “You are all carnal!” (I Corinthians 3:3-4). There is no merit in being Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Independent, Interdenominational, or anything else.
In Jesus’ day religion was the lord of the Jews. They were so caught up in serving their religion they couldn’t accept Jesus Christ. They had their lord and they weren’t interested in changing. Did you ever wonder why Jesus and His disciples never became involved in religion? God didn’t send His Son to begin a new religion called “Christianity.” Jesus came to set people free from religion so they could serve the Lord. The most accentuated mark of religion is that they draw disciples unto themselves. Instead of making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, they make disciples of their religious organizations.
The need to survive can also become a lord. Some Christians get so entrapped financially that all their energy and time is spent just trying to survive. They are caught in a web and cannot serve the Lord.
There are many other things that can rob Jesus of His place as Lord over our lives. But what has been mentioned is sufficient to make us realize our need to dethrone every ruler and make Jesus Christ our only Lord and King. How do we accomplish this? It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to establish the Lordship of Jesus Christ over us. Give Him access to your life to do His work. Proclaim the destruction and death of every other lord that has dominion over you. They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore have You visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. O Lord our God, other lords beside Thee have had dominion over us; but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name. Isaiah 26:14,13.
Copyright © 1997 by Henry DuBose