One of the things all Christians have in common is that we had to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior in order to become one.
Romans 10:9-10 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Most Christians have little trouble accepting Him as Savior. Most of us know we can’t save ourselves (there are some whose lives show differently, but that’s a topic for another day) and we are grateful for what Jesus did to save us. But for many people, that’s enough. Accepting His Lordship seems to take a lower priority in many of our lives and hearts. Jesus warned us about this.
Luke 6a “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
Could that be because as Americans, we don’t have a clear grasp of lords or of thrones? Merriam-Webster describes a lord as “someone having power and authority over others, to whom service and obedience are due.” They sit on thrones. Thrones symbolize the sovereignty, power, control, glory, judgment, and authority of the one who has the right to sit on it. For us, that person is supposed to be Jesus.
Revelation 17:14b for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”
In our culture today, we don’t have kings, lords, or thrones. If it helps, we can think of Jesus as the Boss of bosses, the Top Guy, the 6-star General (that puts Him above the 5-star generals), or the CEO of Planet Earth. What He says goes. Not one can tell Him what to do, how to do it, or what needs to be changed. He holds total authority.
Is this how we see Jesus? Is He Lord to us? As I watch and listen to Christians, I think the answer is yes and no.
We freely acknowledge His Lordship over the earth. He created everything and is sovereign over all.
Psalm 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.
We freely acknowledge His Lordship over our churches. We, the church, exist to worship Him, learn about Him, and to serve Him through serving others.
We somewhat acknowledge His Lordship over our families. We try to live by Christian principles and expect other members of our family to abide by Christian morals.
But when it comes down to our lives – to our hearts – it’s often a different story. We don’t want to give up control of our lives. We want to sit on the throne. We believe we have the right to choose for ourselves what we do, say, and believe. However, the truth is, we gave up those rights when we accepted Jesus as Lord.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Song of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
1 Corinthians 6:19b-20 You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Peter 2:10a Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;
Jesus is Lord. We are not. Yet, no matter how much we may mean it when we say it, we live as though we are still on the thrones in our hearts. While praying this morning, I got an idea, inspiration, thought, whatever of some of the ways we cling to the throne in our heart. I am guilty of them all, so this is for me as well as for you.
The Can We Share Position
Some of us squeeze over on the seat to make room for Jesus. We don’t want to give up our throne, but we want Him to be on it with us. We want to share the rulership. We want to do what we want, until things get too hard or crazy, and then we ask Him to take over. That doesn’t make Him Lord. That makes Him our servant – a very powerful servant, but a servant nonetheless because we only yield to Him when we choose to.
Many others of us have managed to get off the throne – mostly. We cling in various ways, afraid to give up total control.
The I Can Help Position
Sometimes it’s our arms that remain glued to the armrest. Arms symbolize power.
Psalm 44:3 for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.
We want some of the power to make our own decisions based on our own knowledge and understanding. We want to help Jesus deal with what happens in our lives. We want to fight against those who get in our way. We want to get back at those who hurt us. We want to forge paths into our careers. We want to make people change in order for us to live more comfortably. We want to judge the motivation of those who ask for money. But Jesus had a lot to say about this…
Matthew 5:42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
Matthew 5:44b and pray for those who persecute you,
Luke 6:27b do good to those who hate you,
Matthew 5:39b-40 Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right check, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
It’s scary to give up this power. What if God doesn’t do things the way we think He ought? What if by thinking that, we are actually saying God can’t take care of us as well as we can take care of ourselves? There’s plenty of assurance in the Bible that He can and will.
Psalm 145:16 You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NASB1995 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’)
Psalm 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me; you stretch forth your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand will save me.
Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us.
The Is This Enough Position
Sometimes it’s our feet that stay attached. Feet symbolize our lives, our walk with Him.
Proverbs 4:26-27 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Romans 10:14-15 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Being a light, spreading the Good News, witnessing to others about Jesus, and living by all of Jesus’ words will make us stand out from the world. It will be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and messy at times. We will become targets of persecution (Jesus said “when”, not “if”). By keeping our foot attached to our throne, we give ourselves the option to adjust or refuse an assignment from Jesus. “Not this time.” “Maybe later.” “Let me think about it.” “Will this be good enough?” It could be we are too comfortable with rejecting or compromising with earthly authority when it doesn’t suit us or make sense, and extend that same attitude towards Jesus. But rejecting authority puts us above the authority, even if it’s just a foot’s worth.
The Do You Have Enough Room Position
A common idiom – by the seat of my pants – is defined by dictionary.com as “using or based on experience, instinct, or guesswork, done without the aid of instruments”. Based on this, I would like to submit that our bottoms represent our thoughts.
We want to use our reasoning, our understandings, what we see and hear, to determine our actions. We resist using the Bible if what we think makes more sense to us than what we read. What we forget is that God can see so much more than we can. We get caught up with all the details, skirmishes, and distractions around us while God can see the everything from above. He sees the big picture, the beginning to the end, and how all things fit together. He looks at things differently than we do. He values different things than we value. He has different goals than we sometimes have.
Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We are okay about giving room for His thoughts, but we don’t want to give up all of our own. We like to think we and those around us have some wisdom and knowledge because of our past experiences, and frequently we’d rather rely on that than what we find in the Bible – the tool God has given to us. It’s hard to accept in the moment that God’s view and knowledge is better than our own. It’s hard to rejoice that we are blessed while we are being persecuted. It’s hard to obey when we’re told to sell all we have and give to the poor, or to leave our family to go to an unfamiliar place. It doesn’t make sense.
Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Mark 10:21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Genesis 12:1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
It’s hard to get completely off the throne in our hearts. It’s hard to trust all He says, to obey all He commands. Few of us want to be or admit to rebellious, and yet we live in as much rebellion as the Israelites did, only in much subtler ways. Why? Is it because we want to be comfortable? Is it because we want to be in charge? Or is it because we don’t really – deep down really – trust God to take care of us, to do what He says He will do, when it makes no sense?
If it’s this third reason that forms the bottom line of our attitude, God understands, as is evidenced from the multitude of scriptures He gave us about His faithfulness.
Psalm 33:4 For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.
Psalms 40:11 As for you, O LORD, you will not retrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
2 Timothy 2:13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.
Psalm 26:3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.
The Bible is clear – God is faithful. He will do what He says. He will take care of us, lead us, sustain us, and provide for us. What if we took Him at His word? What if we did things His way? What if we truly made Him Lord in our lives?
I have not achieved that yet, but I am committing to working towards that goal daily, with His help. My first step is to determine what those commandments are by reading through the Gospels and list everything He said to do. If you think that would be helpful to you, let me know and I will post that list when it’s finished.
Psalm 119:30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
I’m not talking about becoming religious or legalistic. I know we have been set free from that. I’m talking about walking as Jesus did, of seeing things through God’s eyes, and being a woman after God’s own heart. I’m also not talking about earning my way into heaven. Jesus already did that for me. I’m talking about responding to His love by loving Him the way He said in John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. I’m talking about getting off the throne in my heart.
What about you? Will you make Him Lord as well as Savior? Will you get off the throne in your heart?
Psalm 26:2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind.