We tend to use the word “lord” informally, sometimes even with a lack of respect or as a mild epithet. We may refer to cultural idols as “lords”, or understand that a lord, as in “landlord”, has very little authority with their own property so their rules can be ignored. But at a minimum the word is similar to the word “sir”, and is supposed to be used to show respect to someone (as in the “Lord” and “Sir” titles used in Britain). And historically the idea of a lord over the land a person lives in includes lots of authority over the residents, with potentially severe repercussions for disrespecting that authority.
In the Bible, the word “lord” is frequently used as a respectful way to address a person, but when referring to God (the Father or Jesus while He walked the earth and before and after that with the Father), He is always the “Lord of lords”, on a much higher level. He is Jehovah/Yahweh/LORD, a reference to the original declaration from God to Moses that He is the “I Am”, meaning every thing in every way to every person at every time. Later it is made clear that Jesus is this same “I Am”. The reverence due Him as the Creator of all people and things is much greater than most people will offer Him.
There are Bible verses about Jesus being a friend to those that believe in Him. But there are many more verses about how being His friend means obeying Him and deferring to His authority by letting Him place a yoke on you. When He paints a picture of Himself as a vine with His believers attached to Him as branches, He isn’t just saying He provides all the sustenance His believers need. He is also saying that like the branches can only produce the kind of fruit the vine determines for them, believers must also defer to Him as the provider of all knowledge that shapes what the believer becomes.
The chief early followers of Jesus taught that they were (and we should be) “bond servants” of His. The definition of a bond servant is found in the Old Testament. It is a slave that was freed but decided that life was better with his master so he voluntarily gave up his freedom to become a willing slave for life, sealed with a permanent ear piercing (“bond”) so all people would know he was irreversibly owned by his master. A bond slave knows that they are deferring to their master’s desire for all of the slave’s decisions and behaviors. This indicates that life as a Christian is a far cry from the idea that Jesus loves me and wants to support whatever decisions I want to make about my life! The goal is not to learn how to use Him as a handy copilot to better our lives, it is to allow Him to be THE pilot as we learn how to let Him guide our lives.
So consider what the word “Lord” means to you now, decide if He really is your Lord, then see if you can do what this verse says to do (even when with other people!):
America’s chief guiding principles originally came from documents like the Bible, the Magna Carta, and the American Constitution. Some people believe that these are “living” documents that should be adapted by new, more liberal interpretations as society changes over time. Other people believe that the creators of these documents knew what they were doing so a conservative approach that honors the original intent is required. As for interpreting the Bible to allow for modern desires, always remember these verses:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
“I am the Lord, and I do not change;”