We've been going through the Sermon on the Mount, the single greatest teaching ever delivered. Our text was from Matthew chapter 6.
Matt. 6:22-24 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “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.
We Need Healthy Eyes
One of the primary ways we understand and interact with the world around us is through seeing. The room can be flooded with light, but if you don't apprehend the light, or take it into yourself – it does you no good. We can be surrounded with light, but if our eyes aren't healthy, we don't benefit from it.
The Problem isn't that God isn't working. It's that we don't have eyes to see. And we can't get there on our own – we need His help to have healthy eyes.
We Need to Focus on God
Jesus then kicks into the two masters, and the total impossibility of divided loyalties. That in every debate we might have about what to do, the Holy Spirit in us leads us to a place where Jesus wins out, that we side with Him every time.
Devoted and Despise... we did some digging into what those words mean. They are both related to value. Devoted is pretty clear - it’s something we will cling to, be loyal to. But despise seems to mean something other than being disgusted. it’s the same word used in Heb. 12:2 - He despised the shame. Here it means that Jesus considered the shame as having very little value in comparison to something else. He looked at all the shame of the cross, and then looked at all the joy gained by the cross, and the thought of opening the door of heaven to you... and the joy had more value.
In the same way, if we love, or are devoted to, money or any desire or lust or object, we will despise God—God will seem of less significance to us. He will simply be in the way, and we will disregard Him as we make daily decisions. And that will push us down a path affecting our destiny. But the one who loves, or is devoted to, God, will despise money, seeing it and all it offers as insignificant to what God offers.
SO, we can profess to be devoted to Jesus, but the true test of our deepest devotions are proven by what we live out. What truly is our master will be borne out by how we live out our lives. Whatever has captured our hearts for real, whatever we love the most, will be the greatest authority in our lives.
In the end, what we truly love, what we truly are devoted to, will win out. It is not about what we profess, it is what we actually do.
What you really believe, you'll act on. The rest is just religious talk.
And we can see it when lives around us are messed up. When the alcoholic chooses to take one more drink instead of going to his kid’s birthday party. It's why some celebrities will struggle so much in their personal lives. If you make fame, success, money your god... what happens when you get what you're striving for? Fame is a terrible God. It's mean and cruel and fickle and will take any quality of life away from you... then will leave you for the next person on the list when your 15 minutes are up.
We Use Healthy Eyes to Focus In ancient times, seamen would navigate their ships through Washington DC by fixing upon the North Star. As a polar star, it doesn’t appear to move as time passes. The fixed point allowed them to stay on course. But what if some rookie picked the wrong star? They’d navigate in the wrong direction and end up in the wrong place. So, maybe Jesus is saying that there’s a reference point, a fixed point that we need to focus on, and if it’s the right one, life’s going to end up in the right place. I suspect that’s God and the things of God. And it’ll lead to light.
And if we fix on the wrong thing, life will be headed to darkness.
If my North Star is me, maybe I end up in a bad place - full of pride and selfishness, discontent and fear, easily offended, unforgiving, devoid of any real sacrifice for others. We need something outside of ourselves to guide us. It's like me, driving around in DC because “that way” feels right to me at the moment – I was just going in circles.
Jesus is saying that there’s a reference point, a fixed point that we need to focus on, and if it’s the right one, life’s going to end up in the right place.
If we fix on a God dying for His enemies and praying for them as they killed Him, wouldn’t our lives be marked by the light of forgiveness and love?
If we fix on a God who became poor for us so that we, in poverty, could be rich, wouldn’t it lead us to a life marked by humility and generosity?
If we fix on a God Who came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many, wouldn’t that make us less demanding people, not as easily disappointed or offended, more willing to serve?
If we fix on a God Who is sweating blood in the garden saying, “Let this cup pass from Me, but not My will, but Yours,” wouldn’t it lead me to be more obedient even when it costs me?
If we fix on a God Who tells me that love was Him giving Himself up for me, then wouldn’t I love sacrificially in the face of insult and injury?
If we fix on a God Who didn’t spare His own Son and says He will freely give us all things, then wouldn’t I have less fear and more trust. I think this would make for a life full of light.
At The Surge we love doing things together... that includes writing a blog! Here are a few of our main contributing authors:
Our fearless leader, Dwaine is the lead pastor at The Surge. His experience in counter terrorism with the CIA prepared him for ministry and he likes dogs and babies even more than E does.
E (short for Eric Reiss) is the Wingman at The Surge and likes dogs, music, Mexican food, his wife Karen and his little girl Evangeline... not necessarily in that order.