January 16, 2018

Choose Who Will Be on the Throne of Your Heart

Romans 1:24–25

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24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

In Context:

19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

Choose Who Will Be on the Throne of Your Heart

Bio | Justin Powell

Hey there. I was born and raised in South Texas around the small town of Floresville. I made my way from there to a university in Austin and then finally to Dallas in 2010.

Jesus Christ rewrote my story in 2012, exchanging the lies of self-worship and approval of men with His truth and grace. I now have the privilege of working at Watermark Community Church on the software team, and I am grateful for where He has me today! He has also blessed me with the most amazing gift possible, my wife and partner in ministry, Summer.

Central Truth

Choosing anything other than following God will be the most costly decision you ever make. We are all worshipers of something, and if we worship anything but Him, the well will run dry. Only He can satisfy the desires of our hearts and lead us to life.

Devotional | Romans 1:24–25

God loves you. He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you, so that you might see His grace, beauty, and glory and choose to love Him in return. He also loves you so much that He gives you the ability...

God loves you. He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you, so that you might see His grace, beauty, and glory and choose to love Him in return. He also loves you so much that He gives you the ability to choose hell instead.

Often, I exchange the truth of who God is and His love for me with the desire to be exalted and just plain "right." I hurt others in the process when I take God off His throne and elevate myself in His place. This is ugly, don't you agree?

In the book of Jeremiah, God had an indictment for His people: 

"But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
. . . 
[F]or my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water."
(Jeremiah 2:11b,13)

In this strong and rich text, God tells us two things about Himself and us:

  1. We've forsaken Him who is our only means of true satisfaction.
  2. We've sought solutions to our needs, claiming we know better than the Creator of the universe.

The Israelites were a people chosen by God for His glory, but they chose their own glory and desires over Him. In that regard, we are no different! This choice is how it all began back in the Garden when humans trusted their own understanding over God's Word.

To combat the human condition, we must humble ourselves and rightfully acknowledge who God is. He is the "Ancient of Days" (Daniel 7:9), worthy of all glory and praise. Regularly, I pray and ask Him to humble me, remain Lord of my life, and to change my heart so that my desires would be in line with His.

"The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life." (Proverbs 22:4) When we take ourselves off the throne of our hearts, putting God in His rightful place, only then can we begin to see the blessings that come from choosing to follow Him.

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Discussion Questions

1. In what ways do you exchange God's truth for a lie, forsaking His goodness and sufficiency for your own solution?

2. When you make decisions, do you filter your response through God's Word or is that an afterthought?

3. How do you choose to spend your free time?

4. When you lie down at night, what consumes your thoughts?

26 Comments available

renee austin 11 months ago

I love love this verse!! How many times have we put creations on the throne of our lives instead of God!? Children, marriages, our talents, etc. Those things never meet our needs and leave us so empty.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Ps 106:20 ‘They exchanged his glory for the image an image of an ox that eats grass’ but later in the same Psalms 106:40 “Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry.” Micah says who is a God like you who forgives

Andi Guevara 11 months ago

Thank you Justin! By far my favorite devotional. So rich with knowledge and scripture. I began ReGen last May and just finished Step 4 inventory. Today’s devotional is the perfect answer as to why I ended up at ReGen. I was trying to usurp the throne of God and elevate myself and ideology. Being queen of my heart got me nowhere and caused me and other a lot of hurt.

Denise Hubbard 11 months ago

I have spent the last 20 years living with the consequences of “exchanging the truth for a lie” and how right you are to recognize that it is the most costly decision you’ll ever make. And it never just effects you…there are no secret sins…lots of innocent people get hurt and their lives, along with yours, are forever changed. I have been forgiven and covered by God’s grace and mercy which I don’t deserve and now live as a child of the king. Glory to God! Your last question is very insightful…our sin is given birth because we allow even the thought of it. Best to meditate on God’s word. Thank you for a very discerning devotional today, Justin.

greg jones 11 months ago

4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? God’s kind intention of repentance is a truth you don’t exchange.

Amy Merritt 11 months ago

Reading Psalm 3 this morning along with this passage, verse 8 says, “From the LORD comes deliverance.” Being completely dependent on the Lord is actually a great place to see ourselves and it is reality. In Romans, those living for their flesh, “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature, not the Creator.” They did not know God even though the passage before says they did, but they had not had a personal experience with God in ways that those of us who have (life change) can attest to. A personal relationshp with God is where God reveals more of himself to us, his character and his promises become more clear. Our hearts and minds become more dependent on Him, seeing His power and soverignty.

Burlon Leffall III 11 months ago

Thanks, Justin!! Q1| This past Saturday, sat next to a sister in Christ at a wedding reception. I shared about my journey with the Lord in Re:Generation and SSA. She very gently and kindly disagreed with how I should be walking faithfully, how I should follow my heart, and how, in her opinion and observance, people are born this way. A very beautiful non-truth and pass delivered with respect and gentleness with the intent to help. I told her even if there was a ‘gene,’ it doesn’t change God’s Word which has final say, s-x isn’t that important, and the consequences of disobedience and sin aren’t always instantaneous. God is more than enough, I will never be removed from doubt or authentic feelings, but God is more than enough. Psa 84:10

Sue Bohlin 11 months ago

Thanks, Justin. This passage is a jaw-dropping insight into what can happen when we choose rebellion and the beliefs that “I know better” and “I can get away with this.” When we choose self-direction and idolatry over submission to the Creator. Several years ago there was a Burger King jingle, “Have it your way.” But it’s a scary, scary thing when God says to us, “Fine. Have it your way,” when He “gives [us] up in the lusts of [our] hearts.” We think we want God to go all “Burger King” on us and let us have our own way, but it never ends well. Never.

Georgia Littlejohn 11 months ago

Thank you for today’s devotional. A lot to think about. Q 3 for me is easy to answer. I’m on medical leave. I had foot surgery Dec. 26. Since Jan 1 I have been doing this bible study before I turn on tv. I listen to Christian music and read Romans. My sis I’d in BSF and they are studying Romans. I have been reading there information that corresponds with our daily lesson. This is all a first for me. Felling blessed.

Selena Thompson 11 months ago

Thanks Justin! Question #3 is the kick in the rear I need from time to time. “My calendar fills up fast” is probably a phrase people in my life hear me say more than they should. But I think my calendar items are all “good” things, serving, caring for people, family engagements. So when I have some “free” time there are 10 thousand things I want to do, craft projects, exercise, recipe writing, dates. I need to be reminded that it’s difficult to hear God when I crowd him out with busyness. Lord, help me be more intentional in my relationship with you and help me learn to sit down and be still and worship you in the quiet. Amen!

Alma Barber 11 months ago

For most of my life, life my way-without God-looked like freedom to me. But God… in His faithfulness and abounding love, would help me discover the truth of His Word…that there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death. Our unregenerate souls, are idolatrous and indulgent. Stopping at nothing to fulfill the desires of the flesh, exchanging and justifying the truth of God for lies, playing right into the schemes of the enemy of our souls. I can attest to your central truth today Justin-choosing anything other than Christ, will be the most costly decision you’ll ever make. Lord help us remember, that the choices we make today, will follow us tomorrow. That only you can satisfy the desires of our hearts. Everything else is a counterfeit. A lie.

David Green 11 months ago

Wow. If you’re hunting for truth, this devo is a target-rich environment. Every sentence could be expanded into a sermon. Software development at WM is in really good hands!

Michael Macomber 11 months ago

When I tend to forsake God’s sufficiency is when I feel like I am not in control, and I don’t see an answer right away. I tend to try to filter what I think are Godly principles, not actually asking Him what does He want for me in that situation. Free time? What’s that hah! If the day has gone well, I tend to forget that God has blessed me with a great day and I just fall asleeo or daydream till I do. If it has gone bad, or specific issue on my mind, I ponder on how to fix it rather praying and asking God’s thoughts. Thx for good devo Justin.

Rita Satagaj 11 months ago

Love the title Justin, our choices come from our heart. After all, God knows our heart. I love, love, love your ending with Proverbs 22:4. You are so right, when I took ME out off the throne my life became what it should be, a life that honors God. I can see the blessings all around me. I still make plenty of mistakes but I repent and ask forgiveness from our very loving God. Psalm 121:2 “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Ted Mattos 11 months ago

Thanks for today’s devotional, Justin.

greg jones 11 months ago

Great devotional. Question 1 I use the word stretch rather than exchange. I don’t do it to lessen the wrong but to highlight the value of being connected to God’s truth. When I assume the wrong thing about a person, I’m stretching God’s truth towards that lie. When I trust or respect wrong things and don’t trust or respect right things, I stretch God’s truth towards a lie. Light stretches into the darkness being connected to the light is what separates the light from the darkness.

Linda Aland 11 months ago

When I have not paid attention to God in my life, He has allowed me to waste years serving myself rather than serving Him. Having been on both sides. I remember how ignorant I was to think that I was in charge of each day. Since trusting Christ, I realize that my day starts and ends as His, regardless of what I wish at the time. Serving me was a waste of years. Serving Him has given me and others many blessings.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Essau traded superior pleasures for a lie when he decided to spank his pallet with food and gave up his birthright Shortly after God sent a famine. Wan’t worth it.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

When you think the superior pleasures are found somewhere else than God and His ways, that’s exchanging truth for a lie

Trey Collins 11 months ago

Great devo Justin! This is a strong reminder of the calling to place Christ above self in all things. Areas that include repentance and authenticity, work performance, and human relationships. These are all challenges for me that I’m working on hopefully daily. Praying for you this morning Justin!

Christopher Hyland 11 months ago

It is a very good and loving God that gives us true choice. We can choose Him or we can choose to worship other things. Funny thing about choice…I am free to choose to worship whatever I wish BUT I am not free to choose the consequences. And for many years I reaped the ugly consequences of bad choices. God gave me over to the ugly desires of my heart, to the lusts of my flesh and that was a a very deep dark hole with no bottom. Thank God he rescued me!!

Lisa Olsen 11 months ago

Thank you, Justin. The central truth…wow. It is so true that God is the only one that can satisfy our hearts to the fullest. It is also so true that it is SO EASY to look to everything and everyone else instead. This has been my biggest prayer lately…Lord, please help me keep my eyes on you and put you above all else.

Brent Voorhees 11 months ago

Justin, well done my friend! You are so humble as you examine the Scriptures, and it allows such a thorough understanding and broader meaning that spans throughout the entire Bible. I love how you connect the passage from Romans with Jeremiah, Daniel, Proverbs, and Genesis; all the while applying it to your daily practice. Well done my friend!

Hope Harris 11 months ago

Justin, I really like these two insights: “We have forsaken Him who is the only means of satisfaction. We sought solutions to our needs, claiming we know better than the Creator of the universe.” I KNOW BETTER, was once my life motto and because I knew better I made a made disastrous exchange to seek satisfaction in women. In-turn it cheapened my view of woman, men and God. My brokenness left me empty, needy and trapped in painful cycle of relational brokenness. Petersons Message describes my inner-life prior to Christ well: “They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.” (Romans 1:23 MSG)

Lindsey Driscoll 11 months ago

Great devo Justin! You and Summer are a great couple to study God’s word along side in foundation group. Q1- Verse 2:25 says “they exchange the truth of God for a lie,” wow, how convicting?! I immediately thought of how I do this in small ways daily which actually line up with the discussion questions. In small decisions I tend to do what I think is best and not seek God’s word, same for my free time, I typically do what I want to and then am consumed with thoughts at night of things that I chose not to do which would have honored the Lord. Praying I exchange lies for truth today and honor the Lord in all decisions.

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

The two words I center on in this passage are “Therefore” and “because”. “Therefore” wraps up the explanation of how God made Himself known to me, showed me His wrath, I am without excuse, I ignored Him - so them He lets me reap as I have sown, (Gal 6:7). This is the only way I will learn, (Prov 29:19). Having given me the verdict in v 24 He now explains in v 25 . It is “because” I “exchanged the truth for a lie”. Wow. Is that the stupidest trade of all time? Yet I did it daily for decades. I watch two of my adult children do it daily. Its hard to embrace that He calls me to parent them as He has pretend me. I pray for them daily.

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