There was a metaphor used several years ago to describe what it meant to become a Christian. The metaphor said that “self was on the throne of your heart.”
“Heart” refers to the core of a person’s being. People care designed to have all life, direction, action and motivation flow from the core outward.
“Throne” obviously refers to what rules. Hearts can be ruled. Something can sit in a heart and generate impulses the flow into motivations, into actions and into life. The question them becomes what is ruling?
The metaphor begins with “self” in the ruling position. A “self” that has only one point of view, and a faulty set of motivations that create wrong actions. Motivations and actions that break God’s law. Motivations and actions that cause us to work against God, as he seeks to bring everything into his kingdom. God works to redeem people, institutions and artifacts. (In this case, I am using “artifact” to mean anything man invents and uses in this life. “Artifact” can be a hammer, a car, or the internet in this definition.) In living our lives with self on the throne, we live to thwart God’s redemption.
The solution, according to this metaphor, is to put God on the “throne of the heart.” God rules, instead of self. Man learns God’s point of view. Man’s motivations and actions become God’s motivations and actions. Man goes on to fulfill the design of God.
As a way to express man’s need to somehow be restored to his original design and allegiance, the metaphor fulfills its function. The prime malfunction in creation is a break in relationship between God and man. A person’s decision to go back to living in relationship with God, to establishing God as his first allegiance is the foremost way to restore and repair the malfunction. (Foremost in priority and effect.)
There is a temptation to equate the foremost way with the only way. There is a temptation to assume that when a person chooses God as his first allegiance and establishes a new relationship with him that God takes up residence on the throne of the person’s heart, waves a magic wand and the storms the person experiences immediately calm. Unfortunately, this is not true. If the person has been mishandling his finances, he will continue experience financial chaos. If the person’s friends and acquaintances all hate him, because he has been acting like a jerk, they will still hate him.
Coming to Jesus is not a silver bullet for all the ills of the world. If the change of allegiance is real, the Spirit of God does reality connect differently with the person. The core of the person’s inner being changes, and life will seep out differently. In some cases, even radically different. Motivations and actions will be different. He will be wiser with his money. He won’t act like a jerk.