Of course, Jesus wants to be that person, but He allows you to choose each day and even each moment who will sit on the throne of your heart. I’m not talking about your salvation. I’m talking about who is Lord over your life. I’m talking about who you give authority to in your life each moment and each day.
Because even after you’ve asked Jesus into your heart, He still has competition for the throne from your EGO. EGO is a term coined by Sigmund Freud for the part of your mind that coordinates communication between your conscious and subconscious, but it has come to mean “your self-importance.” It’s the need to feel that your SELF is important.
Another way you can think of EGO is E-G-O, and it stands for Edging God Out, because that is exactly what your self-importance does. EGO Edges God Out so that it can take the throne. Your EGO wants to make YOU the king of your life instead of Jesus. This is a TERRIBLE idea, because pushing Jesus off the throne of our hearts kills our desire to please God. When EGO sits on the throne, we are motivated by Pride and Fear.
The Bible talks a lot about Pride and Fear, but let’s just look at two Scriptures as examples. Romans 12:3 tells us that we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought, and Proverbs 29:25 tells us that the fear of man is a snare. Both Pride and Fear are a trap, and we have to be careful to avoid them.
When our EGO sits on the throne of our heart, our heart is pulled by two powerful desires. The desire to Promote Ourself – Pride…and the desire to Protect Ourself – Fear. This is because EGO thinks SELF is so important that it should be both Promoted and Protected.
When we Promote ourselves (Pride), we exhibit certain behaviors.
- Taking all the credit
- Showing off
- Doing all the talking
- Demanding all the attention
We do these things to Promote SELF…to get people to think highly of us.
- Hoarding control
- Hiding behind position
- Withholding information
- Intimidating others
- Discouraging honest feedback
Why do we do these things?
Because EGO thinks SELF is important and needs to be protected from all threats. We are all motivated by these two things much of the time.
But here is why we need to invite Jesus back onto the throne.
They trick us into constantly comparing ourselves with others. “Do I look, sound, and smell better than him or her?” “Is he going to pass me up for the next promotion?”
They distort the truth. I think I deserve the recognition (even though I only did a little piece of the work). I think he’s attacking me and that I have to save face (even though his motive might be to gently correct me).
The antidote to Promoting SELF (Pride) is Humility.
And the antidote to Protecting SELF (Fear) is Faith.
But it’s not possible for you to practice true Humility and Faith without Jesus.
We’ve got to put Him back on the throne of our hearts.
Instead of Edging God Out, your SELF can Exalt God Only. Here’s how.
- When you become aware that you are Promoting or Protecting Self, acknowledge what is happening in your mind. Ex. “This is pride.” or “This is fear.”
- Ask Jesus to retake the throne of your heart.
- Pause and pray that God will show you the source of the pride or fear.
- When you recognize a source, keep asking “why?” to find the root.
- For example, I get an email from my boss, and I feel fear. Why?
- I am afraid my boss is unhappy with the work I turned in. Why?
- I am afraid that it won’t be good enough. Why?
- If he says it isn’t good enough, it feels like he is saying that I’m not good enough. Why?
- I’m afraid of being rejected because of that time I was rejected in a very painful way by someone I cared about. (You may not get this deep the first time you work through this process, but the Holy Spirit will be faithful to reveal to you the source of your false narrative (story) if you continue to ask Him where your fear or pride is coming from. He will help you to recognize the bad stories you subconsciously tell yourself whenever your SELF is threatened.)
- When you find the root, ask God to replace it with His truth.
- Then, ask God to help you practice Humility or Faith in this current situation.
- Instead of reacting in pride or fear, choose to respond with humility and/or faith.
Keeping EGO off the throne of your heart is difficult, and it takes practice. Don’t get discouraged. You will get better and better as you continue to invite Jesus to the throne.
NOTE: This devotion is an adaptation of the work of Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges in their book Lead Like Jesus. It helps us understand how important it is to keep Jesus on the throne of our heart so that we can avoid being controlled by pride and fear. You can find the slide deck and a self-assessment on the Lesson and Material Downloads page. (Click the link or see the tab at the top of the screen.) Then, scroll down to “Pride and Fear” in the alphabetical list.