So what does it mean when a Christian says, “Jesus is Lord?”
A pastor friend of mine defines “Lord” as “one having power and authority to whom obedience is due.” It would follow, then, that to acknowledge Jesus as the Lord of one’s life would be simply recognizing Him for who He is and giving Him what is His.
Acknowledging this lordship comes with a price, though.
Following Jesus requires sacrifice. It means no longer following the world with its cultures and customs. It means going against the grain of society, just as Jesus did. It means demonstrating integrity by making a choice and sticking with it.
Jesus’ brother James warned that a man who doubts “should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does (James 1: 7-8 NIV).”
In the face of such admonition, a Christian understands that to follow Jesus, it must be all or nothing.
As a result, the maturing process of a Christian involves gradually stripping away anything from one’s life that hinders spiritual progress and growth. Our path becomes narrower, and our focus more intense as we press on toward our ultimate goal.
This focusing, unfortunately, can easily result in a misperception by those outside the church.
Because they are not walking the same path, they do not understand that it is necessary for Christians to be “narrow-minded” in order to stay on the narrow path that God has laid out for them. The more focused a Christian is on that narrow path, the less significant anything NOT on that path becomes.
Some misinterpret this as a lack of concern for others. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Note that James also wrote, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world (James 1:27 NIV).”
In other words, having a righteous intolerance for sin not only allows for being loving and tolerant of people, it requires it!
What Christians are intolerant of is the suggestion that there is any other way to God besides Jesus. The reason for this is that God himself is intolerant of any rivalry or unfaithfulness from His people.
Taken in this context, the assertion that Christians are narrow-minded is technically accurate, but not in a negative way. It is simply the natural consequence of acknowledging Jesus as the Lord of our lives, submitting to His authority and following His leading along the proverbial “straight and narrow path.”
As long as the church recognizes Jesus as Lord, remaining in submission to our jealous God, then we also remain justified in being intolerant of any rival ideology that our culture would nominate to remove God from His rightful place in our lives.