Friday, August 30th, 2013
Sermon On The Mount (Part 21)
The Direction Of Your Life
The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:22-24 (NKJV)
For Christians, the direction of our lives must be upward. Toward Heaven. It's where we started. It's where we belong. It's where we will return, 'For our citizenship is in Heaven' (Philippians 3:20).
Not toward career goals. Nor even family goals. Neither talent, health or financial goals. But toward God first. Then He will guide us to the rest. We all know how to get to God: by way of Jesus. By following Him one step at a time. But where do we focus our physical eyes--on a day-to-day, decision-to-decision basis? That's the life-making or life-breaking choice.
Christians must choose to focus on Jesus. But how? Isn't He currently reigning in Heaven? Yes, but open your Bible: He's reigning There, too. He is the Word Who 'Became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory' (John 1:14). We can behold His glory this very moment--when we see or hear His Word. He loves to give us personal advice within It.
But what if our Bible is in the car, or a Verse does not come into our heads? How do we receive immediate guidance from God? 'When He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all Truth' (John 16:13). All Truth is Jesus. His Holy Spirit will send us in the right direction every time: 'Your ears shall hear a Word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it' ' (Isaiah 30:21).
Significantly, the Holy Spirit positions Himself behind us. Not in front, so we can't see Him. But if we listen, we will hear Him--which makes us 'Walk by faith, not by sight' (2 Corinthians 5:7). So don't get distracted by what you see, or what you don't see. That's Satan's trick.
When Jesus says, 'The lamp of the body is the eye,' He warns us to be careful where we look: to be intentional. Choose to see good. Choose to see light. Choose to see life. Avoid lust of the eyes, which is idol worship. Because lust of the eyes leads to darkness of the soul.
When Jesus says, 'No one can serve two masters,' He exposes a core temptation: mammon: 'the personification of riches and greed in the form of a false god' (Collins English Dictionary). We cannot worship mammon and worship Him. One will reign, but not two. The choice is ours.
To Be Continued...
Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary on Matthew 6:19-24:
'Worldly-mindedness is a common and fatal symptom of hypocrisy, for by no sin can Satan have a surer and faster hold of the soul, under the cloak of a profession of religion. Something the soul will have, which it looks upon as the best thing; in which it has pleasure and confidence above other things. Christ counsels to make our best things the joys and glories of the other world, those things not seen which are eternal, and to place our happiness in them. There are treasures in heaven. It is our wisdom to give all diligence to make our title to eternal life sure through Jesus Christ, and to look on all things here below, as not worthy to be compared with it, and to be content with nothing short of it. It is happiness above and beyond the changes and chances of time, an inheritance incorruptible. The worldly man is wrong in his first principle; therefore all his reasonings and actions therefrom must be wrong. It is equally to be applied to false religion; that which is deemed light is thick darkness. This is an awful, but a common case; we should therefore carefully examine our leading principles by the word of God, with earnest prayer for the teaching of his Spirit. A man may do some service to two masters, but he can devote himself to the service of no more than one. God requires the whole heart, and will not share it with the world. When two masters oppose each other, no man can serve both. He who holds to the world and loves it, must despise God; he who loves God, must give up the friendship of the world.'
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sermon On The Mount series.