Who is the King of My Heart?

As much as I would like to say that there is nothing above God in my life, I cannot. I fail miserably each and every day in giving Him first place.

So what kind of things do I place ahead of Him?

Family

Friends

Personal Desires

Frivolous Activities

“Me” Time

Sinful Thoughts and Actions

Preoccupation with Worldly Things

I was hit full force with this realization as I reached for my phone and my Bible this morning. I am in a Bible study of 1 & 2 Kings on my First 5 app. (Go to first5.org to check out this wonderful study tool from Proverbs 31 Ministries.)

As I clicked on the app, I thought, “I’m going to hurry through this and check out my social media apps and see what’s happening today.”

Then I read the scripture from 1 Kings chapter 16. The entire chapter is about God’s people choosing everyone and everything over God. I thought, “Don’t you people ever learn?”

And then God’s still small voice said, “But Sandy, do you?”

Whitney Capps wrote the commentary on 1 Kings 16. This is profound: Self is a terrible king.

What do we relinquish when we make ourselves king of our lives? We trade God’s riches which are great blessings for the paltry things we collect in the physical realm. We trade His omnipotence for the measly strength we can muster. We trade His omniscience for narrow-minded, short-sighted, limited wisdom of our own brains. We trade peace that passes understanding for fear, hopelessness, and uncertainty.

I am married to the world’s biggest baseball fan. Something happened the year we were married that I’ll never forget. In 1987, the Detroit Tigers baseball organization traded up-and-coming pitcher Greg Smoltz to the Atlanta Braves for Alexander Doyle. While Doyle did help Detroit get to the postseason games, he was sidelined in a play and never fully recovered, eventually retiring in 1989. John Smoltz went on to team up with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and their “triple threat” pitching for the Braves is legendary.

In the end, it was a wonderful trade for Atlanta but not so much for Detroit. While no one could have predicted what happened to Doyle in postseason play, we can be certain of what will happen in our lives when we replace God with self.

Whitney closes her commentary with this:

When we dethrone God, we set ourselves on a path to hard times. It might not look like it now, but the spiral is coming and like this chapter, it will be hard to get through. I want to learn Israel’s lesson. I know my heart, and I know just how selfish I can be. I can’t be trusted with a throne, but He can.

I’m making a new effort starting now to insure that God is the rightful King of my heart.

shr

The Unmasking of a Fool

(I am doing a new Bible study of 1 & 2 Kings. I will be sharing what God gives me through this study.)

Background scripture references: 1 Kings chapter’s 1-4

1 Kings opens with the impending death of David and the throne of Israel being usurped by David’s son, Adonijah. Of course, Adonijah was doing all of this on the down low, knowing that his father’s successor had already been chosen by God — Solomon.

David, as he languishes on his deathbed, finds out about Adonijah’s underhanded ways and makes sure that Solomon is installed as Israel’s rightful king. David’s last words were an admonition to Solomon: be obedient to God. (1 Kings 2)

In 1 Kings 3, we find Solomon, at twenty years old, is the newly appointed king. Solomon came before God, who promised to grant him whatever he asked. Solomon’s request? To have a discerning heart and to rule in the wisdom God would grant him. (At 20, that would have not been my request. How about you?)

My scripture for today was 1 Kings 4.

Solomon began using his discernment and wisdom immediately. He knew that he needed God and he recognized that he needed to surround himself with a council of other wise, godly people. He chose these men carefully and with their collective wisdom, the kingdom of Israel would flourish.

Solomon’s example spoke to me and these four questions arose:

On whom do I rely for wise counsel?

Are these people godly or do they “conform to this world?”

Do these friends show a discerning heart in their own lives or are they foolish in their decisions?

Are these people honest with me or are they “yes friends” who only tell me what I want to hear?

As a Christian, my goal is always to be more like Christ. Jesus surrounded Himself with wise, godly men He chose as His disciples. The Son of God, who could have chosen to walk His life path all alone, chose to walk it with likeminded individuals.

God never meant for us to bear our burdens alone. The formation of the church had a threefold purpose: to worship God, to share the gospel with the lost, and to lift each other up (delighting in our joys and bearing one another’s burdens).

If I choose to “go it alone,” then I am a fool. In and of myself, I am nothing. But choosing to surround myself with unwise and ungodly people (and to take their advise) is just as foolish.

Starting today, I choose to be intentional in the choosing of my council. I am asking God to reveal the true nature and heart of anyone from whom I seek guidance. I want to unmask the unwise and ungodly so that I don’t end up wearing the mask of a fool.

shr