King of the World

August 24, 2018
By Kelly Brumbeloe, Pastor of North Campus

Just a whisper of your voice can tame the seas
So who am I to try to take the lead
Still I run ahead and think I’m strong enough
When you’re the one who made me from the dust

-Natalie Grant, “King of the World”

We tend to believe we can be in control of our lives and possess all that we need to keep our lives intact. This is the direct opposite of what scripture calls us to do (Matt 16:24-27). Scripture says we are to deny ourselves and allow God to be the King–not us. We are called to live under His rule. In “The Bondage Breaker,” Neil T. Anderson says, “To deny ourselves is to deny self-rule. Dying to self is the primary battle of life. The flesh scrambles for the throne and struggles to be God. Jesus doesn’t enter into that battle; He’s already won it.” 

Case in point: I was driving a seriously grumpypants version of my older son, Zeke, to school recently, and trying (failing) with every trick in my playbook to get him to smile. I pulled out one last approach: “Let’s try an experiment!” I declared. “Tell me 3 things that make you excited about school.” After pouting for a minute, Grumpypants spoke!

  1. Playground time
  2. Sitting with friends during lunch
  3. Earning Skittles for being good.

As I watched him go through this exercise, I watched his sourness turn sweet. Then I talked with him about how God promises to give us peace, but our job is to renew our minds by reflecting on things that are true, joyful, and loving (and yes, sometimes Skittles). God wants us to remain in freedom—from anger, anxiety, or simply a bad mood–because it feels better.

As Zeke was learning one of the amazing promises offered by God, he was also learning an important lesson–God doesn’t always change our situations (or make your school day magically disappear). However, He does give us joy and peace in the midst of our situations. (Phil 4:4-8). Let’s not fall into the trap of believing we can be God of our lives. Instead, let’s allow God to rule so that we can share in his Kingdom by walking with him as a son and daughter of the King!

How about us grownups? We may see we are not trying to be “ruler” per se. But, when we try to take control of situations, spouses, and children, that is exactly what we are doing! As a believer, I know that scripture tells us that’s false thinking. If you are not a believer, I challenge you to think about a time when a situation came up that you had no control over (perhaps a car accident, illness, or death). Could you do anything to “rule” that situation? Absolutely not. Surely there must be a force greater than we are in this world. And if that’s true (which I believe it is), then, as Neil T. Anderson writes, “until we deny ourselves that which was never meant to be ours—the role of being God in our lives—we will never be at peace with ourselves or with God, and we will never be free.” 

Hear me, friends: We will not walk through life without struggles and heartache. The Bible never promised that. However, it did promise that we would never walk it alone; that we can be in relationship with a God who can give us peace and a purpose in the midst of our greatest nightmares. And that, boys and girls, is better than all the Skittles in the world.