The Fight For the Throne

Message:  The book of Hebrews has an unknown author and a very different style of writing than we are used to seeing from Paul. Chapter 1 is all about the superiority of Jesus. If I’m completely honest I have read through that chapter quickly every time and I did it again even this morning because to me it feels like such an elementary concept. I easily forget that not everybody knows this or believes this. This understanding is what literally separates us as Christians from every other religion. I remember how surprised I was to learn that Muslims believe in Jesus. Not only do they believe in Jesus but they deeply revere him and respect him. Probably even more so than many professing Christians. In fact they are so respectful about his name that each time they say it they also say “peace be upon him” but here is the kicker. They believe he was a God-inspired prophet and teacher but they adamantly deny the deity of Jesus. Since they don’t believe he is God they reject the fact that Jesus is the way to salvation. Paul ran into this with some of the Greek philosophers. They believed in all kinds of ‘gods’ so when Paul preached the gospel they were eager and willing to hear it and receive it, but they only received him as an addition to their collection of other gods. They were not willing to forsake all of the others and acknowledge Jesus as the one and only. This is the world we live in today. We can talk about God with very little offense except to some who are atheist. Everything changes when we put the focal point on Jesus and acknowledge him not only as God, but as the one and only way to salvation. Hebrews 1 is where we are forced to see Jesus as more than a good teacher and a wise prophet. Here comes the challenge to us. If we believe that Jesus is God and the one and only savior, are we fully surrendered and submitted completely to him? Are we living like the Muslims who respect him and the things he taught, but deny him as God in our lives when it comes to what we want or what we feel? Are we like the Greek philosophers who eagerly listened, and received him as an addition to their “god collection” and carried on with life as usual? Who is truly on the throne in our lives? Is it Jesus? Is it us? Is it our emotions, passions, desires, careers, interests or even our families? This chapter challenges me to ask myself if I have compartmentalized Jesus in my life or if he is truly ruling and reigning in every part of my life. Here is a practical example of application. I was really angry with someone a few days ago. I mean an enraged kind of anger. I believed there were some very valid reasons for my anger (and I still do) but God began to speak to me about my attitude and response. I felt challenged inside that either I acknowledge Jesus as the ultimate authority in my life or I don’t. I knew he was right but I didn’t feel like surrendering or submitting even a little bit. I wanted to have a direct conversation and explain away my anger and require some changed behavior from the other person involved. God had other plans in mind because at that time- regardless of the other person’s behavior, my emotions were large and in charge and reigning on the throne. I started praying and asking God to change my heart and attitude. I was still angry and I continued praying. My stubbornness got to a point where I actually laughed out loud and asked myself “WHY are you so angry???”. This is where things began to shift. God began to expose some things in my heart when I asked this question. I discovered that I had some buried hurt and unforgiveness left in my heart and God showed me that I was triggered by it when this incident came up. He then required me to apologize for my response and my attitude. I was not allowed to expect an apology in return because God was dealing with me and I had to accept it. The child inside me thought “What about them?” It felt unfair but it wasn’t enough for me to just let it go or choose not to react in anger. God was going right to the heart of it all by teaching me not to be controlled by the behavior of another person. I needed to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. He was literally healing those triggers inside me by not allowing me to have that validation and justification that I so badly wanted. After I apologized I felt all of that anger melt away. The point here is that I was fighting so hard to stay on the throne of my own life and denying the authority of God. My emotions and my desire for vindication were fighting for control and even though I knew inside that I wanted Jesus on the throne, he wasn’t there until I fully surrendered. This probably won’t be the last fight in this particular battle, but I pray that I will surrender more quickly to the authority of Jesus in my life so those emotions and triggers will no longer have control.

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