Who Occupies The Throne?



And the Pharisees and  the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?”  And he said to them,


 “Well did Isaiah prophecy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

            ‘This people honors me with their lips,

             but their heart is far from me;

             in vain do they worship me,

             teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’

You leave the commandment of God and hold fast the tradition of men.”

(Mark 7:5-8)


The nitpickers were at it again.

The upright Pharisees were getting after Jesus because the disciples ate with hands defiled.


What you’re supposed to do before you eat is wash your hands in the Waters of Purification.  You have been out there in the unclean world and some of that uncleanness is clinging to your skin.

And it is forbidden to eat with hands defiled.


But what the disciples did was to give thanks to the Father for their food, and eat.


The Pharisees’ idea was that if you eat with hands defiled,

                             your body is defiled.

                      And if your body is defiled, you are defiled.


But Jesus says,

“It’s not what goes into your mouth, but what comes out that

 defiles a person.


            “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart,  and this

             defiles a man.  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery,

             fornication, theft, false witness, slander.  These are what defile a man;

             but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man."

                                                                                    Matthew 15:18-20



The thing that makes you clean or unclean is your heart.

We may not be into ritual cleaning,

            but we too are into externals.



All too often concerned about how things look,

                          correct religious procedures,                    

                                                 proper protocol.


But the issue is not how things look.

It’s what is your actual relationship with the True and Living God right now?

                                    Where’s your heart?


“The people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”

                                                                                     (Isaiah 29: 13)


Picture it this way......


Deep within each of us is a room like a Temple where the physical world and the

spiritual world meet.  What goes on in this room determines how we live our lives.


This room is what Jesus calls the “heart”.

            In the center of that room is a throne.

                        Whoever or whatever occupies that throne rules your life.



            “No one can serve two masters. (Matthew 6: 24)


            The master is what’s on the throne: the True God or Mammon.



Abraham had a son late in life. Isaac was special.

                            He was a miracle.

                            The joy of Abraham’s life.


            So who’s on the throne, Isaac or God?


So it came to a test:


             "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall

            tell you."


            So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; and he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

                                                                                    Genesis 22:2-3



Abraham builds an altar,

         lays on the wood,

         stretches Isaac, the joy of his life, out on the wood,

         binds him down.

Abraham pulls back the knife with a breaking heart, until finally the Lord God intervenes.


Abraham has made clear to God and to himself that God is on the throne of his heart.


Abraham is not required to do what the Lord God himself will do two thousand years later

to redeem us all.


I have a friend who grew up in a wealthy home,

                  met Jesus, followed him faithfully or years

                  then he drifted away.

Two years ago my friend came back to the Lord.


But in the meantime he discovered he had a talent for painting.

To his amazement, his paintings were in demand.

He began making serious money with this new found talent.

There were art shows, and all the ego gratification that came when the show was a success.


Jim was now in a quandary:

            “Who is on the throne in my heart?

             Jesus or Painting?”


To clarify his own commitment to Jesus, Jim decided to quit painting until he had a clear

indication from the Lord that it was safe to continue.

And if such an indication never came,

            Jim would carry on in life with his brushes and easel

            locked away forever.


            Was he being ridiculous?


Jim was simply refusing to allow anything to compete with Jesus for the throne of his heart.


Who sits on that throne in our hearts?


“He who loves father of mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who

loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not

take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will

lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.”

                                                                                     (Matthew 10: 37-39)


Here’s what many of us still haven’t grasped.


Either Jesus sits on that throne in our hearts or he’s not there at all.

There is no such thing as

an associate disciple, or

                        a casual Christian, or

           a Christian Pharisee,

who follows all the religious protocol,

while vanity sits on the throne.


 It’s not just about coming to church, or

                going to Bible studies, or

                living a respectable life…the Pharisees did all that.


                                    But their hearts were compromised.



We haven’t begun to live until

God is on the throne of our hearts in the person of Jesus.


At some point we need to invite him to come in and take over the throne.


                        He will.


                        And he will guide us from inside.


From that point on it’s a matter of obeying as he speaks to us through his word.


                        “If you abide in me and my word abides in you,

                        ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”  

                                                                                    (John 15:7)


And  we keep renewing this commitment to our indwelling Lord every day.

Each morning we rise to present our bodies to him as a living sacrifice.

We practice his presence as we move through the hours of the day.


And when we gather together and commune with our Lord in the bread and wine,

it is a corporate renewal of the covenant that each of us has made with the

One who occupies the throne within.


            “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,

but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live

by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”   

                                                                                         Galatians 2: 20)


The most important issue we face from the time we become adults until the

 time we die is: who occupies the throne of our hearts?


                        Nobody, not even God, makes that decision for us.

                        We make it and keep making it everyday of our lives.



            “Do I really want Christ to occupy the throne?”


            If you do, tell him. “Lord, enter and rule my inmost heart anew!”


                        Then as you receive him afresh… worship him.

                        As you go forth from this moment…trust him.

                        As you move about in this world…obey him.


            “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live,

but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh

live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” 


I live because He lives in me.