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As long as you take breath, King Me is going to hound you. The King loves the throne. The King craves the attention. The King will fight you tooth and nail to hold on to the title as king of your heart & life.
Dethroning King Me isn’t just a one-and-done thing. King Me won’t go away that easily. You can’t just wake up one morning and say, “Okay, Your Highness, strike three, you’re outta here!” It doesn’t work that way. It would be nice—great, even—but unh, unh, not gonna happen. Dethroning, and deposing King Me isn’t going to be easy. However, it can be done, and it’s worth the fight.
Welcome to part 2 of our mini-series on How to Live FOR Christ! What does it mean to really live for Christ and how do we know if we are truly living for Him? I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry – inviting you to grab your Bible and come on in as we learn from Scripture how to “Walk it Out!”
In a monarchy, to dethrone the reigning king (in other words: to remove him from the place of power and authority) and to depose him (making sure he doesn’t retake the throne once he’s been ousted) takes nothing short of a revolution.
History tells us that in the timeline of every revolution there has always been a critical moment when there is an undeviating confrontation between the old regime and the new. It’s inevitable. There is a direct challenge of the power and authority of the old leadership by the new. Typically, the reigning monarch doesn’t go down without a fight—many times violent and bloody warfare ensues.
Dethroning King Me isn’t just a one-and-done thing. King Me won’t go away that easily. You can’t just wake up one morning and say, “Okay, Your Highness, strike three, you’re outta here!” It doesn’t work that way. It would be nice—great, even—but unh, unh, not gonna happen.
As long as you take breath, King Me is going to hound you. Well, aren’t I encouraging? I’m sorry, but the fact is the King likes the throne. The King feeds off of the attention. The King wants to remain king and will fight you tooth and nail to maintain his title as king of your heart. So, dethroning, and deposing King Me is going to be a messy, exhausting, and frustrating task. I say all of that, not to discourage you but rather just the opposite. I want to encourage you that it can be done, and it’s worth the fight.
To win the battle you must choose to live daily according to God’s Word. Notice I didn’t say just read your Bible. Reading God’s Word is good—in fact: it’s very good; but just reading your Bible isn’t going to set up a defensive posture around the throne strong enough to keep King Me from trying to take it back. No, you can’t just read God’s Word; you must live it.
Alright. Now listen as I read to you Hebrews 4:12, then answer the question I’ll have for you. Here’s the verse: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
OK, so there’s the verse, now here’s the question. According to Hebrews 4:12, what are the things God’s Word is and does? Let me repeat the verse, and then repeat the question. Here’s the verse: “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Now here’s the question. According to Hebrews 4:12, what are the things God’s Word is and does?
Think about this for a moment. God’s Word is “living”, and it is “active.” Peter calls it “living and enduring,” (1 Peter 1:23) and Paul told the church at Thessalonica that it is always “at work in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) Every time you read it, every time you hear it, every time you meditate on it, it is actively at work in your heart. It’s always accomplishing something. God promises it will never return to him void and empty – worthless. (Isaiah 55:11)
We also see in Hebrews 4:12 that God’s Word always penetrates to the heart of the matter. In Jeremiah 23:29 we read, “Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” Too often we make choices that aren’t governed by Scripture simply because we’re easily caught up in all the frill and fluff that this world has to offer. God’s Word burns past all that stuff, it breaks it into smithereens, and it speaks directly to your mind.
Walking by the Word of God means you are reading it, you’re studying it, you’re meditating on it, and you are obeying it—all of it. Deuteronomy 11:1 commands, “You shall therefore love the Lord your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always!”
OK, now I have 3 questions for you here. Listen to them closely and consider them carefully. Here we go:
First: Do you love God?
Second: In what ways is your life currently supporting your answer?
And third: In what ways is your life not supporting your answer?
We need to choose daily to actively demonstrate our love for God – but how? Jesus answers with this: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) In other words, obedience. King Me must choose to abdicate the throne in deference to the real King. Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.” (John 14:21) “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.” (John 14:23)
Consider this next point carefully: To keep King Me off the throne of your heart and allow God to reign in your life, open your Bible daily. Study it. Dig deep. Meditate on it—think not only about what it’s saying, but what God wants you to do about it. Memorize it. Obey it.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5:16. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Let me repeat that verse. Listen closely as I will have two questions for you to answer based upon this verse.
“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) Ok, now here’s question #1: what is the choice God wants you to daily make? He wants you to “walk by the Spirit.” Daily choose to obey God’s will as the Holy Spirit reveals it to you from God’s Word.
AND question #2: What are the promised results of making that choice? In other words, when you daily choose to walk by the Spirit, when you daily choose to live your life in obedience to the will of your Heavenly Father, what will happen according to Galatians 5:16?
Let me quote the verse to you once again. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) So, what is the result of walking by the Spirit, what is the result of keeping God on the throne of your heart? You will not gratify the desires of the flesh. You will not sin!
I want you to notice in this verse that Paul is stating that as a Christian you have two primary drives—the Holy Spirit and the flesh (for more on that, I strongly suggest you take a few moments here to read Romans 7:15-25 ... you’ll be glad you did). The Holy Spirit produces within you one kind of desire—namely, the desire to please God. “Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)
When we walk by the Spirit we aren’t controlled by the sinful desires of the flesh. We are choosing instead to yield to the desire the Spirit has created within us to please God. That’s what Paul is referring to in Romans 7 when he says, “I have the desire to do what is right” (Romans 7:18), and “I delight in the law of God, in my inner being” (v.22).
The flesh, on the other hand, produces a different kind of desire. That desire is completely contrary to the one the Spirit creates—namely, the desire to please self. The Spirit is all about God. The flesh doesn’t care about God, only about its own sinful pleasures.
Romans 8:8 warns us that “Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God.”
Again, let me draw your attention back to Romans 7. In verse 18, Paul clearly states that “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” Because the flesh is against God, “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (v.18). As we just saw in Romans 8:8, when I am in the flesh, when I am living for King Me, I cannot please God. This is the ongoing battle that Paul talks about in Romans 7:15-25.
In Galatians 5:17 he describes it this way: “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” This is a conflict I’m positive you are all too well aware of! Right?
This is why we are instructed to “walk by the Spirit.” In other words, daily choose to conduct your life according to the leading of the Spirit, not the passions (or “works”) of the flesh. The “works of the flesh” are what you do when you “gratify the desires of the flesh” (to learn more about that, see Galatians 5:19-21).
I want you to think about this: When you choose to give in to the sinful desires that constantly plague you, you are choosing to allow King Me to climb back up on the throne. You are choosing to ignore the desires of the Holy Spirit in favor of the desires of your flesh – and that never ends well.
Ok, so, Galatians 5:16 commands – “walk by the Spirit” and when we do, God promises that we “will not gratify the sinful desires of the flesh.”
How does a Christian “walk by the Spirit?” Using the analogy of walking, there are 3 steps you must choose to take daily if you are going to walk by the Spirit.
In the battle for the throne of your heart, you must first surrender to God. You must acknowledge deep in the core of your being that you are totally and completely helpless to do good (to honor and glorify God) on your own—you need God’s help.
Consider this: There can be no victory where there is no surrender. You will not know real, lasting, freedom-giving victory in your life until you first surrender the throne of your heart over to the King of kings.
Now listen as I quote to you the words of Jesus in John 15:5. Listen closely because I will have an important question for you to answer. Here’s what Jesus said: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Now here’s my question: According to the last part of this verse, what is King Me capable of doing? The answer: “apart from me you can do nothing.” Did you catch that? Nothing!
Now, of course King Me is capable of doing something without Christ—I can sin. But that’s all I can do. Even when King Me is doing something “good,” what’s the ultimate goal? Who are you really doing it for? The answer: King Me. That is idolatry. That is worshiping someone other than God, and that is sin.
So, the first step in walking by the Spirit is to surrender. Acknowledge and admit that you can’t do it—you’ve tried before and failed.
Jesus put it this way: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) Spiritual victory comes ONLY as you walk by the Spirit. Walking by the Spirit begins with surrender. It’s denying yourself, taking up your cross daily – not just denying yourself but dying to yourself, and following Christ. It’s crying out to God “I am the clay, you are the potter; I am the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
David expressed in well in Psalm 25:1-2 when he said, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.” You may remember us discussing this text in detail on Episode 10 entitled “the soul-lifter.”
Take a moment here and think about what David is saying. “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” That’s such a simple phrase that we tend to skip over it, looking for something else that has more depth, more “meat” to it. But I want us to stop here and consider what we are reading.
What exactly is David doing in verse one? If you answered something like “lifting up his soul,” you would be correct. But what do you think that means? Furthermore, why is he doing that?
First, I want you to notice that David is making a choice. He is choosing to lift up his soul. He is choosing to surrender his life to the Lord. This wasn’t something being forced upon him. He was doing this of his own volition. He was willingly choosing to surrender his life to God.
I have a question for you: Are you making that same choice? Notice I didn’t ask “have you made” or “will you make that choice,” as if it’s a one-and-done kinda thing. This is a daily, moment-by-moment decision that you must continuously make. Are you daily making that choice?
“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” We must repeatedly choose to lift up our souls to the Almighty, most Sovereign Creator and God of the Universe. You are who you are (a child of God) because God is who He is (the Savior of your soul). You owe God everything.
Second, notice what it is that David is choosing. He is choosing to lift up his soul to God. In other words, he is choosing to sacrifice King Me to the King of Kings. That’s what you and I need to do—daily. We need to choose to kneel before God’s altar, head bowed, eyes closed, hands lifted high, with our proverbial beating heart—pulsating with life—in the palms of our hands as we choose to surrender it willingly and completely to our Heavenly Father.
David is choosing to surrender his soul, totally, completely, unreservedly to God. In essence he is saying, “God, you are King. Not me, but YOU! You are Lord over every aspect of my life. You are Lord over my thoughts. You are Lord over my words. You are Lord over my choices. You are Lord over my actions. I willingly choose to turn the care of my soul completely over to You!”
Don’t miss the significance of David’s confession. Don’t forget that David is the #1 dude in all of Israel. He’s the alpha dog, the head honcho, the king! He is the lord (or master) of the children of Israel. What David says goes. What David wants happens. He’s the King! All of Israel looks to him for guidance, direction, and protection.
By calling God his “Lord”, David is confessing that there is One even greater than him, One to whom he is ultimately answerable. King Me does not belong on the throne—God does.
Can you say that? Is God your Lord, not just in word, but in your attitude and behavior as well? Is He the ruler and master of every aspect of your life, every moment of your life? Does he have ultimate reign over your soul?
By the way, when David said he was lifting up his soul to God, he used the term “lift up” in what’s called the imperfect tense. That simply means that the action being described is still happening ... it is not yet complete; it’s imperfect. So, David is saying that the lifting up of his soul—the choice to totally and completely surrender every part of his life to God—is an ongoing, daily thing.
The third thing I want you to notice is this: Specifically, what is it that David is lifting up to God? The answer: his soul. The word “soul” here refers to your desires, emotions, and passions—the core of all you are. By saying he’s lifting his soul to God, David is declaring to God his intent to fully yield everything to his Creator.
Here’s the bottom line of what David is saying. Think about this: King David is writing out his declaration of surrender. This is important. You see, a king doesn’t retreat. A king doesn’t yield. A king doesn’t surrender. After all, he’s the king. Everyone else yields to him, retreats before him, surrenders to him. That makes this simple declaration— “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul”—powerful beyond imagination.
What about you? When King Me is sitting on the throne of your heart you don’t want to retreat. You don’t want to yield. You don’t want to surrender. After all, you’re the king. Everyone else should yield to you, retreat before you, surrender to you. Including God.
Just as King David did in Psalm 25:1, King Me needs to cry out, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” We need to say, “God, I surrender. I come before your altar and humbly kneel before the Almighty, most holy God of the Universe. I choose to completely surrender all my desires, emotions, and passions, thoughts, wants and needs over to you. All that makes me who and what I am, I willingly and fully surrender it all over to you.”
Now, if we’re being totally honest, that’s a frightening proposition. Surrendering every part of your life over to God can be a scary thing, right?
This is why the next step is so crucial.
Notice that after David surrenders his soul over to God, he then says, “O my God, in you I trust.” Once again, think carefully about what David is saying here — “Oh my God, in you I trust!” David had just made a significant sacrifice. He had knelt before the King of kings and surrendered his entire being, his entire heart, his entire life over to God.
Let’s pause for a moment here to understand how God views the promises you make to Him.
David understood the ramifications of his personal commitment to God. “O Lord, I lift up, I surrender, I fully yield all control of my soul, my life to you.” David didn’t make that vow lightly, and God didn’t take that vow lightly.
So, David then cries out to God, “In you I trust!” In essence he was saying, “God, I meant what I just said; now I need your help to accomplish it!”
Sometimes believing in God is the easy part.
Here is a question I want you to work through. Why do so many Christians struggle with trusting in God? In fact, I challenge you to personalize that question. Why do “I” struggle with trusting in God?
Imagine two college students going out on their first date. As they sit across from each other enjoying their pizza, she looks deeply into his eyes, smiles, and says, “If we’re going to go out on a 2nd date, then before this date is through, I want full access to your bank account, a copy of the keys to your car and your apartment, and I want all your passwords.” How do you think he would react? Any sane guy is going to say, “No way, princess! Not in your wildest dreams is that going to happen!” Why? Because he doesn’t trust her.
Now let me ask you this: Why doesn’t he trust her? Simply put, he doesn’t trust her because he doesn’t yet know her. How does he get to know her? He must intentionally invest time daily to be around her, listen to her, learn about her, study her, talk with her, and bask in the joy of her presence. As he develops an understanding of her, as he begins to truly know her heart and her character, he then begins to trust her.
It’s the same way with God. God is looking deeply into your eyes, and with a warm loving smile says, “I want full access to your heart—every nook and cranny, every want, every desire, every passion, every thought and every decision, every worry and every fear. I want it all.” Many times, we struggle with that. Many times, we’re afraid of what that means. Why? Because we don’t trust Him. And why don’t we trust Him? Because we don’t really know Him. And why don’t we know Him? Because we aren’t walking with Him, talking with Him, listening to Him talk with us – we aren’t getting to know Him.
Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD God is the eternal Rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4)
You’re probably familiar with the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 that command us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” That’s not just a nice suggestion, it’s a command—trust in the Lord with ALL your heart. For that to happen you must “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)
The main question we’ve been examining in this episode is this: How do I not only dethrone King Me, but keep myself off the throne of my heart for good? We’ve seen that we must live daily by God’s Word, and we must walk daily by God’s Spirit. To walk by the Spirit, I must first completely surrender to God, then I must fully trust God. And then
In Psalm 19:7 David makes a powerful statement about God’s Word. “The law of the Lord is perfect!” All of God’s law is perfect. Is that how you view the Bible? Can you say, “the law of (God’s) mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces”? (Psalm 119:72) Another way to put that verse is like this: God’s Word is better to me than (and fill in the blank with something that King Me loves and doesn’t want to give up).
Can you honestly cry out, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day”? (Psalm 119:97) If you want genuine and lasting victory over the reign of King Me in your heart, dig into your Bible. “Read in it all the days of (your) life ... learn to fear the Lord (your) God by (obeying) all the words of (God’s) law and these statutes, and (do) them.” (Deuteronomy 17:19)
Listen carefully to God’s command here (Joshua 1:8): don’t let “this Book of the Law ... depart from your mouth, but ... meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous”—and then you will successfully dethrone and depose King Me!
Are you doing what God wants you to do? God has a code of conduct for His children, a certain behavior He expects from each of us. God’s code of conduct gives us the tools we need to unseat King Me and maintain a close relationship with Him. They are God’s boundaries that give us an amazing freedom in serving Him—when we choose to obey them.
Please don’t look at Scripture as a set of rules handed to you by a tyrant of a God who is distant, detached, and doesn’t care about you. Don’t view God as someone who is sitting up in Heaven just waiting for you to screw up, so He can zap you. Your Bible isn’t a disciplinary manual filled with dos and don’ts.
In 2 Chronicles we see that King Uzziah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord ... as long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (2 Chronicles 26:4-5) Your battle is not with God. Your fight is not with the King of kings and Lord of lords. The battle is with your flesh—King Me wants to dominate your life. When you dethrone and depose King Me for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to God, He promises to give you “rest on every side.” (2 Chronicles 14:7)
When you pursue anything but God in your life, you make yourself, your goals, your desires, and your wants—even your fears—a “god” in your life. You end up giving King Me exactly what he wants. What you worship is what you will serve. God is abundantly clear that serving anything or anyone other than Him is unacceptable.