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The Wrong Thrones



A few summers ago, we were on a family vacation at the beach. Lauren set up on the shore with a chair, umbrella, and book while the kids and I ran into the water to take advantage of some good-sized waves. We had a few boogie boards and got some pretty epic rides in. Every ten to fifteen minutes, I’d look to the shore to find Lauren, only not to be able to find her. In just ten to fifteen minutes, the currents had swept us far enough down the shoreline that I’d completely lost sight of her.

This is what happens to all of us if we’re not careful. The winds and waves of this fallen world will pull us along without us hardly feeling it, and we will look up and no longer be able to find where we started.

John Calvin famously said, “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” This means you and I are prone to set up our own little thrones and seek from them what only the one true throne can provide. Think of how destructive and painful this can be. How could the most common idols of self, others, and the world possibly strengthen us and comfort us at the deepest level of our being? They can give us momentary pleasure or escape, but each has betrayed us, failed us, and lied to us.

So much of our fear and anxiety comes from having our worship centered around the wrong throne. When I write the word worship, I’m not talking about simply singing, although that is a common expression of worship. I’m talking about attention! One theologian I know puts it this way: “Worship is an act of attention to the living God who rules, speaks and reveals, creates and redeems, orders and blesses.”

My question for you, especially if you feel stuck or afraid or abandoned or forgotten, is this: Where is your attention? Where is your worship?

Fortunately for the apostle John and for us, one of the elders around the throne said to John, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5). John turned and saw “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). The Lion is the Lamb. Jesus is worthy to open the scroll and its seals.

Jesus unlocks the meaning of history. Jesus brings salvation and judgment to the world. Jesus administers mercy and justice, forgiveness and redemption. Jesus brings holiness and righteousness, wrath and peace. Jesus brings everything into focus.

That’s why our eyes need to be fixed on Him and this throne. Why must we fight to focus our attention on His reign and rule over and above everything else? If not, we will drift. We’ll gather around smaller, weaker thrones, and we’ll despair, lose heart, and fade.

God has more for you, though. He sees you, loves you, hasn’t abandoned you, and calls you back out to where the action is.

This is an excerpt from Matt Chandler’s The Overcomers. To grab a copy of this resource, click here.

“The Overcomers: How to Thrive in a Culture of Anxiety and
Outrage,” by Matt Chandler. Copyright ©202 by att handler. Used by
permission of Thomas Nelson.

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Scripture References

  • Revelation 5:5-6
Matt Chandler Senior pastor of Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, and the executive director of the board of the Acts 29 Network