Photo courtesy of photopin.com (details below)
There was a TV show that aired from the mid 80’s to the early 90’s titled, Who’s the Boss? The show starred Tony Danza and a young Alyssa Milano. I never really watched the show. I maybe watched a handful of shows from the series.
This post really has nothing to do with that show. I just happened to think of it as I was thinking of making the post.
The post is really about my precocious two-year old daughter. She has developed a habit in the past few months of saying to, and of, various people either: you’re the boss, or, you’re not the boss!
Sometimes, if she is in a silly, playful mood, she will claim she (and often times, her four-year old sister) are the bosses and my wife and me are not! Usually though, she will get it right. We have stressed to her that her grandparents are the boss when my wife and I are not around.
Even to her two-year old mind, she understands that being the boss means being able to make demands that are expected to be followed. While she may not wish to submit to any such demands, by any person, (a seemingly well-established human trait!), she understands that sometimes it is a necessity. However, she wants to be sure, if she is going to submit to such demands, that it is to people that she must submit to legitimately.
If she has a question as to your boss status she will quickly let you know that you have no legal or moral claim over her two-year sovereign universe; and, will quickly pronounce her independence by exclaiming, (typically with hand wagging and finger pointing!): You’re not the boss!
She has a way of cutting her eyes at you and dipping her head to make the effect clear and unmistakable.
It seems problems with authority begins at an early age!
As one theologian commented, the doctrine of original sin has no shortage of proofs to validate its accuracy! I did not have to teach my two-year old daughter to resist authority. I did not have to teach her to fib. I did not have to teach her to touch things after me or her mother told her not to do so. I did not have to teach her how to pout and kick and scream when she does not get her way.
None of the above was learned behavior. According to the scriptures, she was born with an innate ability and bent to do all those things and many others.
As we get older, we learn how to hide it a bit better. We become experts in subterfuge and masking what really seethes beneath the smile and decorum.
The propensity is still alive and well, we just learn to play the part, to put up the facades and smile and laugh our way along.
Others may be fooled, but God is not.
God sees our heart. He knows what we are thinking. He sees past the veneer to the inward sneers and pouts and whines and moans. He sees perfectly. He gets it.
I sometimes find myself being like my two-year old daughter . . . what can I say? She is a chip off the old block! I find myself in moments of defiance, moments of self-will where I point my finger to God and selfishly, pridefully, sinfully exclaim, You’re not the boss!
I want to be the boss. I want to be the master of my own domain. I want to be the sovereign over my own life and destiny. I want to raise the banners of humanistic philosophy high and wave them in self-determined freedom.
The old-man in me is a tyrant. He is a wretched being. He is greedy and gluttonous. He is selfish and full of rage and contempt. He is twisted and maniacal. His only view is his own wants and desires. His only aim is his own whims and fancies. His only concern is his own self-interest.
His fruit is many and it is all black and rotten−filled with gnats and maggots, such fruit as: selfishness, hate, malice, greed, envy, murder, lust, debauchery, pride, cowardice, self-pity, self-loathing, rebelliousness, disobedience and on and on we could go. Paul gave a similar list in Galatians 5.19-21.
The old-man (i.e. old-nature, flesh, natural man) is a stubborn man. There is only one way to deal with him . . . the kid gloves must come off! The issue really is one of life and death.
The apostle Paul solemnly warns us that if we live by the ways of the old-man (or old-woman, depending on your gender) we will die (Rom. 8.13). To live by his/her dictates is lethal to all who enter her chamber and are beguiled by her temptations and swooned by her siren’s song.
But, Paul goes on to say, that if we live by the Spirit (by God’s grace, through faith in Christ as Lord and Savior) then, we will put to death the works of that old-man.
In short, either he kills me or I kill him!
Is this not why Christ calls us to daily discipleship (Lk. 9.23)? Is it not why he says there that we must take up our cross daily and follow him? When I take up my cross daily, I am not merely carrying it around as dead weight on my shoulders; rather, I am hoisted up upon it and crucified. This is the way of life for a Christ-follower: that the old-man be crucified daily, so that the new-man (i.e. the man/woman in Christ) will live and grow stronger.
To wrap up, here is an exert from a sermon I preached (I also included it in the first blog post I ever made in March 1013, titled, Daily Dying):
So, what then must we do? We must condemn our flesh to the cross; that apparatus of torture and death. We must do this not once, or even occasionally, but daily. Know that your flesh will not go willing to its Golgotha. It must be beaten and dragged and tossed upon the rocky hill. It must be held down agaisnt the rough timber and nailed. Know too, it will kick and scream and wail and writhe to come down from its gallows. But, be assured, the nails will hold, not in anger or wrath, for Christ has borne that for you already, but in grace and love. (THM II)
My call is to, by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit within me, humbly bow and confess with all my heart, soul and mind: God, you are the boss! My Lord and my God!
Photo Details: photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcobellucci/3534516458/”>Marco Bellucci</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>