EXPLORING THE WORD
By Allen Skipper
I am a college football fan, and in particular, a fan of the Crimson Tide of Alabama. I was born in Alabama, and I guess that is why I became such a big fan of the team. But I used to live in Pennsylvania, and I also grew fairly fond of Penn State. I pull for both teams when they play different opponents, but when they play each other, I can't pull for both. I am an Alabama fan over and beyond Penn State. According to the verse in Matthew, I will love the one team (Alabama) and "despise" the other team (Penn State). Obviously I don't despise them in the sense of a strong hatred toward them. I just love them less than I do the Crimson Tide.
In order to apply this truth to our lives, we must also understand that God only "hates" things that are opposed to Him and righteousness. He hates sin and all things to do with sin because it is against His holy nature. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus used the two opposing examples as masters, namely God and money. When we are trying to apply this principle to our lives today, we shouldn't think of money as being evil and opposed to God; obviously, we need money just to survive today. Instead, we should be viewing the master of "money" as that which possesses all of our time, effort, and thoughts. While we are out working hard to earn a living, we should consider why we are working so hard. Is it to provide for the needs of our family (and some of their wants), or is it to acquire fame and/or fortune simply because we just love the status that we perceive comes along with having wealth? This is what Jesus is referring to when He says we can't serve two masters. He is talking about people who love money and will put all other things aside in order to gain it.
We are in danger of many other things becoming an opposing master to God such as family, work, hobbies, etc. I am not saying we can't have these things — and even love them. We just need to be sure that we are still putting God first in our lives and that we are not allowing any other "thing" to occupy our minds and actions to the point to where those things come between us and Him. In Luke 10:27, Jesus told the Pharisees that the greatest Commandment was to love God with all our hearts and minds and to love our neighbors as ourselves. When we are trying to decide if we are attempting to serve two masters, this verse should pop into our minds. To help us decide which we are serving, we need to reflect on our motives. As long as we keep God first, it is okay to have family, work, hobbies, etc. The focus of all our being should be on God and others, and we should always put ourselves last on that list.
Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | God-Father
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