“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV
This one has been ticklish for me. The world reinforces some very bad behavior that serves the world well. The problem is that it doesn’t serve God. It’s everywhere. The truth is, it wears me out. I read this scripture during a particularly tiring week. In addition to the demands of the week, I was struggling between my old way of operating – performance oriented, self-sufficient, frantically rushing to meet deadlines — and God’s way – a more elegant flow that is thoughtful, intentional and efficient.
In the middle of the shame, I recognized a nudge. I heard the words “Yes, you slip…but you catch it.” I paused for a moment to reflect. I feel when things are off. I really do try to tuck into God as a check point. The shame melted away. I realized I had cause to celebrate! There had been a shift inside of me. It had happened so subtly that it was not discernible to anyone watching. The big shift was inside. It was in my heart. My heart was searching for a better way. There were now alerts that went off inside me when I began to toil and struggle. That was my cue to check the rule book I was using. A peace washed over me. I am so thankful! I realized that God was pleased too. He knows my heart and my desires. I am the apple of His eye.
God, help me to be bold and courageous walking in Your ways. Continue to nudge me as I grow and shift. Thank you for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit as my comforter, guide and intercessor. Thank you for teaching me a new way! A kinder and gentler way of operating in You!
Proverbs 8:32, 23:26; Isaiah 55:8, Joshua 1:9, John 14:26
“Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you. Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin. Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle, your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other.” James 4:8 The Voice
I remember reading this one day and feeling a heaviness on my heart. In the Amplified version it says “[realize that you have been disloyal] wavering individuals with divided interests, and purify your hearts [of your spiritual adultery].” That is pretty intense. This verse really describes what it looks like to have one foot in the world and one foot with Jesus, still straddling two masters. Matthew 6:24 says we can’t serve two masters. We have to choose.
What does that choice look like? I think a lot of people don’t understand how much God loves us. They think of Him as the Punisher or the Judge. And don’t get me wrong, He is those things too…But most of all He loves us. Just like a parent has to discipline a child to teach them how to live safely and prosperously and develop in character, God does that with us too. To teach us His ways.
As a Christian we get fooled into thinking that if we let go of the world’s ways that we will be missing out on something. Well, we are. We are missing out on the things that we were never designed to take on. God did not design us to take on worry, anxiety, stress, bitterness, rejection, hatred and all the other burdens that we carry in our hearts. It makes our hearts hard and heavy and our minds neurotically hyper-vigilant. God never intended for us to live like that.
If we surrender to Him we can let go of all those things. Just like a parent, He gives us guidelines to keep us safe in His care. When we are in alignment with His “house rules” our heart has a chance to soften and heal. Then we have a chance to truly experience the magnitude of His love. It is a brighter and lighter way to live. It goes beyond existence and becomes a dynamic experiential relationship with our Creator remembering that He loved us so much that He sent His own Son to die on the cross to mend the relationship gap between us. There is no greater love than this.
Matthew 6:24, Psalm 25:4, John 15:13, Mark 12:30-32