Every kid has yelled in defiance, “YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!” Maybe it was said to a babysitter or an older sister or brother. Only the most foolhardy kid said that to a parent. We learned to walk. Then we learned to tie our own shoes. Then we learned to ride a bike, and every step forward in doing something for ourselves only fueled the desire for independence.
We like that feeling of independence. We like being in charge of ourselves. And when someone tries to take charge, out comes our defiance. YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!
Those are such annoying words. Every parent, babysitter, and teacher inwardly cringe at those words. “You can’t tell me what to do” is just so childish.
Unfortunately, we are growing up into childish adults. “You can’t tell me what to do” has become the cry of a whole culture.
- Don’t tell me what my gender is. You’re not the boss of me.
- Don’t tell me I can’t bad-mouth this country that is sending me monthly checks. You can’t tell me what to do.
- Don’t tell me I can’t vote without proper credentials. You can’t tell me what to do.
- If your rules and laws are meant to dictate my behavior, then I’m not free to do as I want or be whoever I want to be. You’re trying to tell me what to do. You’re oppressing me! DOWN WITH THE OPPRESSORS!
Since our earliest experience as preschoolers, we’re sure we know what is best for ourselves. In a structured family and community, that willful human nature is tempered by the directives, counsel, and discipline of those adults over us. But the culture is now calling that structure into question. If a five-year-old boy thinks he’s a girl, the culture says that’s his right and decision. Never mind that he’s five years old and has a long way to go developmentally; culture says he knows better than his parents do.
Others are moving into adulthood and feeling the freedom to throw off the “oppressive” mindset of the parents and adults who spoke into their lives. And there are plenty of people on our college campuses and social media who are encouraging them to exercise that freedom—a total freedom in … well, anything.
This is nothing new; it goes back to the garden of Eden. With all the freedom Adam and Eve were given, they were only given one prohibition. Satan led them to doubt God’s goodness in that one command. They chose to decide for themselves and say to God, “You’re not the boss of me.”
We inherited that same nature, a nature that wants to call the shots. We want to be the god of ourselves.
As a teenager, I resisted the dictates of my parents. Almost all teenagers do, but I also learned an interesting principle: the more obedient and compliant I was to my parents’ wishes, the more freedom I gained. Odd, isn’t it?
The same principle applies to a relationship with God. God’s rules and commands are for our benefit, and when I am obedient to God, I feel and experience greater freedom! He made me. He loves me. He knows what is absolute best for me to experience life to the full. So, when I follow His commands, I experience a far better life than I could ever experience being my own god.
We assume we know what is best for ourselves, but we don’t. Our kids need us to speak wisdom into their lives, and we need others to do the same for us. We never outgrow that need for others speaking into our lives. Allow me to be that voice for a moment; allow me to share an unchanging truth from God’s Word.
If you’ve been listening to the culture, stop it. Yes, you can be your own boss; you can refuse to let anyone else tell you want to do, but frankly, you’ll lose—and you’ll lose big. So, yeah, I’m going to do what I can and speak into your life. You can fuss, scream, and throw things like a three-year-old’s tantrum, but I’m still compelled to say it: there’s greater joy, fulfillment, contentment, and even freedom when you let Christ call the shots.
Embrace it or resist it, but that doesn’t change one unchangeable truth: Jesus is Lord and He will ultimately rule and reign with absolute control, love, and grace.
“For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—in heaven and on earth and under the earth—and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).
Joyfully confess it now or admit it later, but Jesus is Lord. He is the Boss of me. Let Him be the Boss of you.
One final note: submitting to the lordship of Christ means submitting to the authorities He has placed over you. To resist and disrespect any authority over you—parent, teacher, employer, government—is to resist the authority of God Himself.
“Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God” (Rom. 13:1).
Really, who truly knows what is best for you: you or the almighty, powerful, loving God who created you? Trust Him. Let Him be the Boss of you.
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