What owns you?
In other words, what rules you? What sets the tone, the pace, the jurisdiction for your life?
A ruler is a dictator. A ruler is also the chief authority. A ruler’s word is law. No checks and balances. The best picture we would have to describe the kind of ruler I mean is a monarch. A sovereign. A king. Whoever is king dictates whatever is law, and whatever is law dictates the way we live our lives. So, who is king in your life? Truly. A moment of honest self-examination will reveal who your “king” is.
For some people it’s achievement. To succeed is all that matters in life, and to “win” is the sole equivalent of success. That language sounds a little like, “Life is the best when I am the best.” For others, it’s acceptance. Blending in or standing out: the need for approval and acceptance looks different on everyone. Whether it’s the class-clown or the Homecoming Queen, it feels good to be adored… if even for a moment.
In the past, my sovereign was my heart. My unbridled feelings were king. My unmanageable emotions were king. Most of all, my unreliable intuition were king. I was enslaved to them, sentenced to do their bidding. Reason and temperance had no jurisdiction where my feelings were concerned. I know that I’m not the only one.
More and more often, we see that the world we are living in is ruled by their feelings. Whether it be murderous anger, confusing sexuality, or intemperate anxiety, we are often coerced into allowing whatever we’re feeling to determine who we are and how we live. I am angry, so I will behave angrily. I am sad, so I will wallow miserably. I am tempted, so I will indulge unapologetically. If I do anything otherwise, I am inauthentic. I am lying to myself and others; stuffing my “real self” in order to please a viciously judgmental minority.
Friends, feelings do not get to determine what the truth is. They are too volatile to be trustworthy, and even the strongest instinct must bow before the truth. We live in a post-modern, post-truth society, that says truth is anything you want it to be… as long as your truth agrees with me. Truth cannot be subjective. Truth that is subjective is perception, and most times perceptions are half-truths. Or, quarter-truths. Partial truths are partial lies, and cannot be trusted.
Feelings should not dictate responses and behavior. Again, feelings are fickle. They vacillate. They are dependent on too many variables. Who can know the human heart? It’s depth, it’s strength, it’s ferocity? It is a deceiver and desperately sick. (Jer. 17:9) It needs guidance and gets troubled. (Proverbs 3:5. John 14:1) Out of it comes every sort of evil. (Matt. 15:19) The heart is a base and corrupt ruler. It also cannot be trusted.
Feelings are not the supreme ruler who defines and determines who you are, what you do and what your life should look like. Believers, Christ is that for us. He alone is “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” (1 Tim. 6:15) We, who call on the name of Christ, profess that He is King. But do we practice that? Or, have we unknowingly (knowingly?) allowed false rulers and corrupt monarchs to slink onto the thrones of our hearts?
Christians, if indeed, Jesus is King, then our feelings cannot take His place. In fact, they must not. We must not let them. We must, as Paul says, “fight the good fight of faith” and destroy those who seek to usurp the throne of God in our lives. Let us contend earnestly (Jude 1:3) for the faith we have been given.
For our own sake and for His glory.