Several years ago, I owned a childcare center. One of the conversations I had with new families to the center was about authority. I would tell them, “Once you walk through the door into my center, I am your child’s authority figure. I need you to take a back seat. No man can serve two masters including your child. They will test the boundaries to see who is in charge, and they need to know it’s me. Otherwise, I won’t have any authority over them when you walk out that door.” I learned early on that if a child thought their parents had more authority over them than I did, they would start breaking the rules the moment their parents showed up, and the rest of the class would follow.
I tell you that story because you and I have a very similar issue with our flesh. It likes to do whatever it wants, and quite often, we let it get away with it. When it’s hungry, we feed it whatever it craves. When it’s sleepy, we go to bed or hit the snooze button. Also, when it wants to satisfy its sinful desires, we give in. That’s why it’s so hard for us to stay awake when we pray and also to want to fast. Our body throws a temper tantrum because it’s not getting its way, and we appease it to get it to calm down.
When we walk through the door of salvation, we need to cede authority to Jesus. Our flesh needs to understand that you and it are not in control anymore. Inviting Jesus to be the Lord of your life means that you are giving up your authority over your flesh. In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me” (NLT). Taking up your cross is about giving up authority over your flesh. It’s telling it, “I am no longer your authority. Jesus is. You have to obey Him.”
The hardest thing for any of us to do is to give up that authority. I’m sure that’s why Jesus compared it to being crucified daily. It’s a hard process, but a necessary one if we are going to follow Him. We have to let Him lead us, and our flesh, which means we have to get out of the driver’s seat of our life. Being a Christian is more than saying a prayer. It’s the transition of leadership in your life. It’s a lifestyle change that you’ll battle your flesh over ever day of your life. If you truly want to follow Jesus, give Him the authority He’s asking for in your life.