A Chat with a Friend
A while back I had a good Christian friend named Nate who had a small boat we’d take out on the Rappahannock River here in Virginia. We had some great conversations out there on the water. After one of these outings, when we got back to his house, somehow we got onto a subject we disagreed on.
Nate was a pot smoker, and I was not. After we argued ‘round the barn a couple times, I realized this wasn’t going anywhere. He had all his reasons why it’s ok, and I had all my reasons why it’s not. We were at an impasse. How was I going to make progress in my friend’s life? The Holy Spirit gently but with certainty reminded me that progress in Nate’s life wasn’t mine to make. Then he gave me a download for how to wrap up the conversation.
I said to Nate, “Look, some things we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on. But there are two things we both know are true. One, you smoke pot because you want to.” He started to look defensive, so I quickly added, “Not a condemnation, just a fact. True? We wouldn’t be having this conversation otherwise.”
Nate relaxed, nodded and said, “Yeah, that’s true. I do want to. I enjoy it.”
“Ok. The second thing we both know is true is,” I continued, “God doesn’t want you to.”
Nate sighed and said, “Yeah, I know that’s true.”
“Then the question I’m going to leave you with is, Who’s going to sit on the throne of your life?”
That’s the question God has for all of us. As more and more formerly illegal behaviors become legal, who’s going to sit on the throne of our lives?
Righteous laws can make a people look more righteous than they really are. Do we do the right thing because it’s the right thing, or because the wrong thing’s against the law? Are our hearts really right before God, or do we just fear punishment? Do we as a people really love and honor God, or are we just smart enough to avoid legal consequences?
When righteous laws are removed, the true heart of the people is revealed. God wants a people who do the right thing, not because they legally have to, but because they truly want to. Because they love him. They die to their own desires, and instead choose God’s way because they are so enraptured by his love.
Wasn’t this the choice in the Garden of Eden? God’s life or the experience of good and evil? (“Knowledge” in the Bible always means “experience.”) Adam and Eve chose to experience good and evil and broke God’s heart.
We’ve all made choices that have broken God’s heart. We’ve all chosen ourselves and our desires at the expense of the people around us. But God, in his love for us that never gives up, made a way for us back to that original choice in the Garden. That’s what the cross was all about.
It’s Not about Control
God never wanted to control us — that’s why Adam and Eve had a free choice and so do we. God wants to love us, and he longs for that love to be returned. He grieves over our self-destructive behavior that breaks relationship with him.
But with sex outside of marriage as the norm, abortion legal, sodomy legal, same-sex marriage legal (with child molestation to follow), pot becoming legal in more and more places (with harder drugs to follow), it’s easy to ask, “Where’s God in all this? What’s going on?”
God’s sovereignty is not threatened by our sin. Here’s what I believe God is doing in all this. God’s known our heart as a people all along. But by allowing us to remove righteous laws, he’s allowing us to see our own heart. God is revealing our heart to us, longing for us to cry out to him for his heart.
The Cry of God’s Heart
God wants a people who will not break his heart. He wants a people who will die to their own desires because they are so enraptured by his love.He wants a people who choose the right thing because they love him and it’s the right thing, not because they have to. But to get that, he has to allow an atmosphere where we don’t have to do the right thing. Hence, in his sovereignty, he’s allowing us to remove righteous laws, and the subsequent increase in wickedness is on us.
We teach and exalt relativistic morals in our public primary schools, and our universities are institutionalizing immorality. We’re calling good evil and evil good. Then we’re shocked when the logical consequences of our choices play out and active shooters don’t know right from wrong.
But the good news is God’s love is more relentless than our sin. He’s not interested in controlling us. He’s interested in loving us, and seeing that love returned through the lives we live for him, dying to ourselves.
2 Practical Ways
Who’s going to sit on the throne of our lives? Here’s 2 practical ways to put God there, if you choose to.
1) Frequent and Regular Time Spent with God
It all begins spending alone-time with God, just the two of you. A marriage where husband and wife don’t spend regular alone-time isn’t going to last long.
But it can’t be forced. It can’t be out of religious obligation. It can’t be checking a box. How would you feel if you spouse (or your BFF if you’re not married) came and, with a heavy sigh while checking their watch said, “Ok, I’m obligated to spend the next hour with you. I’ve set an alarm on my phone so we don’t go over, and I can get back to living my life that doesn’t have anything to do with you. What do you want to do for the next hour?”
Any takers to sign up for that relationship? Don’t we want the other person to actually look forward to spending time with us, like we do with them? That’s how God feels.
2) Have lots of sex with your (opposite sex) spouse. Only.
This is crazy, and I don’t really know why, but a sure sign of closeness to God is sexual purity. There are perversions on the other extreme in other parts of the world, but in the West, almost always false teaching winks at sexual immorality.
If you’re not married, regardless of your past, from this day forward, wait until after you’re married. God will totally bless that.
Marriage is an everyday model of our relationship with God. The idea behind marriage is one spouse, for life. And we share a level of intimacy with that person that is never, in our lifetime, shared with anyone else.
That’s a picture of how it’s supposed to be with us and God! One God for us, for life. We don’t flit back and forth between different idols. We live for our one God only, and we share a level of intimacy with him we don’t give to anything or anyone else.
But in our society, we totally flit around between different idols. In our teen years we live for sex, as young adults we live for entertainment, in our working years we live for money and security, and in retirement we live to play with our toys. None of these things are bad in and of themselves. But we pursue them outside of God’s boundaries because we care more about our own pleasure then we do about relationship with him. Because we still sit on the throne of our own lives.
Put aside all the arguments and emotions for a minute. There are two things we all can agree are true. One, we have sex outside of marriage because we want to. Not a condemnation, just a fact. And the second thing we both know is true is God doesn’t want us to. So who’s going to sit on the throne of your life?
(If you want to know why sexual integrity is such a big deal to God, and *why* God’s boundaries are what they are, I’ve written a small $5 bookanswering that question. But I’ll send it to you for free if you email me your address at dave@IdentityInWholeness.com and ask for it.)
So back to the question. Who sits on the throne of your life? If God sits there, what has giving him that place cost you? Was it worth it? If there’s an area of your life where God doesn’t yet sit there, can we help you come to that place of surrender? Tell us your story in the comments and please share on social media if you think this would bless someone else.