Of Lords and Monarchs

Who is ruling you impacts who you can become. So take a moment or two to audit your own allegiances and discover your limitations.

Christians are familiar with the confession, “Jesus Christ is Lord”. That is a key element of personal salvation. Those who wish to be saved by the life and ministry of Jesus Christ must confess Him as Lord of their life. That brings them salvation.

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

Making that statement as a true confession can only be done with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

“….. no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.” 1Corinthians 12:3b

The problem for people is that they are entangled with many different lords and monarchs, without realising it. The process of coming under Christ’s Lordship, then, is not as straight forward as one simple confession. It must be real and it usually involves a progressive revoking of other sovereignties along the way.

Many Lords

God’s people are frequently entangled with mixed allegiances and other lords who exercise some level of rule in or over their lives. The prophet Isaiah identified this in his prophecies.

“O LORD our God, other lords beside you have had dominion over us: but by you only will we make mention of your name.” Isaiah 26:13

Note Isaiah’s candid admission that God’s people have had other lords ruling over them. He also recognises that only God will be able to deliver them into a pure allegiance only to Him.

This is the predicament of most Christians. They are in practice polytheistic. My son, Stephen, goes so far as to speak of a Pantheon of idols which each culture gives allegiance to. Christians in western culture still hold most the west’s deities dear in their hearts. These other deities are lords which rule over the Christian, despite the confession of Christ as Lord.

Western Idolatry

The west idolises success, money, education, sex, materialism, fame, self-will and independence as just some of its cultural values. These are idols that are worshiped. Some people give their whole life to the pursuit of these things.

When people become Christians they will likely still continue to worship these cultural values. They will worship them as idols. And that brings them under dominion and lordship of those things.

How We Get Lords

When we worship something or give in to something outside of God’s moral order we become enslaved by it. It may be sin or an idol that we worship.

“Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34

“Don’t you know that whoever you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness?” Romans 6:16

God is Our Only King

Christians only have one king, The Lord God. Jesus and Almighty God are one God and so I could also rightly say that Jesus Christ is our only King.

Christians in the early church refused to bow to the Roman Caesar, saying that they had only one King and that was God. This put them at odds with the ruling power, since it proclaimed Caesar to be a god.

In the early days of the nation of Israel God ruled over the people through His agents the prophets and judges. God was their king. When the people demanded a human king God specifically noted that the people were rejecting Him from the place of their king.

“And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” 1Samuel 8:7

Replacing God as King

When we seek anything or anyone else to rule over us other than God, Himself, we are rejecting Him from the rightful place as King of our life. If we worship money or success, or chase relationships, fame or popularity, we are rejecting God. We are replacing Him as King, with another.

By that means we end up with many lords who have sovereignty over us. But we have not only offended and rejected God we have denied ourselves our own personal sovereignty.

Voiding Our Sovereignty

We have incredible personal sovereignty as subjects of the Living God. If the God who created all things is your King, and you have a direct line of succession from Him, then you are about as sovereign an entity as anything could be. You have pretty impressive personal privilege when you answer directly to God and Christ. That is exactly what we do as Christians.

We are not under the lordship of priests, pastors or church leaders. We are not under the lordship of temporal kings and government masters. Kings and governments serve our social existence, but we do not answer to them. Since the Roman days and back 1,500 years before then, to the days when Moses withstood the King of Egypt, we answer, as God’s servants, directly to God, Himself.

So when we choose to worship any intermediary sovereign, or come under the lordship of any other person or thing we are voiding our sovereignty. When you worship money you decimate your personal rights before God. You subordinate yourself to something lower than yourself. The same is true when you worship success, fame, political ambitions, career, relationships or people who you revere.

Worship anything but God at your peril!

Profit as an Idol

“All is fair in love, war and enterprise!” That seems to be the motto of western culture. And the heartbeat of enterprise is “Profit”! The Almighty Dollar reigns supreme in a materialistic culture and any course of action which turns a profit causes the enterprising to salivate.

So, for all intents and purposes, the materialistic western culture has raised an idol called ‘profit’. That is why the advice for all buyers in America is “Buyer Beware”. It seems that everyone accepts the right of the seller to rip-off the buyer. And why not, if profit is the universal morality?

I once purchased a $10 phone card in California, only to find that it had only $5 credit. When I contacted the company to rectify the fault I discovered it was not a ‘fault’ at all. The card was manufactured with only $5 phone credit. So I asked why they printed it with $10 on the card. The answer is that it is up to the retailer to advise me that the card only has $5 credit. Now, that’s deceptive, playing on the buyer’s acceptance of the clear impression given on the card that it is a $10 card and should provide $10 worth of credit.

When I shared this with others they smiled. They reminded me that in America the rule is “Buyer Beware!” If I was stupid enough to trust people then I deserved to be taken advantage of.

Profit Motive Overturns Morality

If ‘profit’ is the treasured moral value, then rip-off is the name of the game. Anything and everything that turns a profit is kosher. This then becomes the reality for everyone, from street peddler to global corporation. The Enron shenanigans reflect what must be reality for many corporations. Monopolies gain control of markets, not to benefit the consumer, but to optimise their profits. Facts are denied, as we saw in the tobacco industry and many drug and contamination cases. Responsibility is wrongly assigned, and so on.

Moral Foundations

Now, to be fair, no-one goes into business to lose money. But society is founded on moral principles. The most effective set of moral principles ever inculcated anywhere and at any time through human history is what we refer to as the Judeo-Christian values given to us in the Bible. When a culture moderates all of its practices by the standards expressed in the Mosaic law of the Old Testament and the teachings of Christ in the Gospels then it is able to dethrone the evil idols which would otherwise take over the society.

Sadly, the west has fled from Biblical standards and actively destroyed its Judeo-Christian foundations. Consequently we have evil idols rising from the sea of humanity. These are ugly beasts with fierce countenance and shameless blood-lust. They devour people’s houses, incomes, health, families, social assets, potential, reputation, and more, until they have wrung every drop out of the helpless.

One of these beasts is simply called ‘Profit’. Unrestrained, it is a leviathan. Caged by godly morality, it oils the wheels of enterprise.

The Challenge

I challenge you not to buy into the seduction of this evil spirit. When you find yourself gloating over someone taking advantage of another, stop to hear the sinister evil coming from your own chest. Don’t applaud those who defraud. Don’t envy those who perpetrate evil. Don’t justify the means by the end result of profit.

Beware the moral compromise which you set up inside yourself when you worship God on Sunday and then worship profit on Monday.

There’s profit in human embryos, abortion, drug dealing, deception, prostitution, tyranny, theft, extortion, blackmail, exploitation and a host of other things. If profit was prince then nothing else would be sacred. When you allow greed for profit to entwine your heart you are already being drawn to all kinds of evil.

How to Destroy this Idol

You need to revoke your worship of Profit. You need to commit yourself to God, trusting Him for the provision of all that you need. Then commit your business and your dealings to God, asking for His blessing on your enterprise. Commit at least a tenth of all you make to God. And ask God to keep your heart clean from greed, moral compromise, idolatry and evil.