Monday, February 29, 2016

Day 14: Matthew 6:16-24; Psalm 14 - Who Has Your Heart?

Today's Reading: Matthew 6:16-24 & Psalm 14

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Who Has Your Heart?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matt. 6:21

"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." - Matt. 6:24

So often, we don't like facing the reality of clear choices with equally clear consequences. We want to pretend that we have a full range of possibilities in front of us, and that our choices don't have the kind of consequences they actually do have. So much of what Jesus does in the Sermon on the Mount comes like a giant splash of cold water to our faces because He confronts us with truth.

The reality is that we must choose our priorities and we must serve only one master and live for only one destiny. If we are laying up treasures on earth, we will be disappointed, for all things of this world disappoint in the end. If we are laying up treasures in heaven, we will never be disappointed. And then Jesus tells us that our hearts will follow our treasure; in other words, our affection and our loyalty will align with what we truly value.

Then, if that wasn't clear enough, Jesus goes on to say something even more sobering: We can only serve one master. We can't stand straddling the fence, wanting this world and the next, wanting earth and heaven, wanting the praise of men and the praise of God, wanting earthly riches and heavenly rewards. We can have only one master. Only one voice will reign supreme in our hearts and lives.

So we need to ask ourselves an honest set of questions, on our knees before the Lord. He knows our hearts and knows the true answers better than we do:

1. Who is my master, really?
2. Where is my treasure?
3. What evidence is there in my life that would support my answers to the first two questions?

If we cannot answer God and heaven to the first two questions and have evidence in our lives to substantiate those answers, then we clearly need to repent. We need to ask God to grant us repentance and to change our hearts. Life is too short and eternity too real and pressing to waste any of the precious time we have on serving false gods and laying up perishing treasure.

Prayer of repentance based on Psalm 14:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”    
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
    there is none who does good.
Lord, my heart is prone to deny You and Your reality and my life is too often marked by corruption and a lack of goodness. I am Your child, but too often I live like the world and listen to the lies of the devil. Have mercy on me.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
    to see if there are any who understand,
    who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.
O Lord, in my heart and in my foolish sinful nature, I so often demonstrate a lack of understanding and a reluctance to really seek You with my whole heart. Though I know that You are God and my God and Father, I live like an orphan, fending for myself and believing the lie that I must take care of myself. Forgive my sin.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
    who eat up my people as they eat bread
    and do not call upon the Lord?
There they are in great terror,
    for God is with the generation of the righteous.
Father, Your people are in danger around the world, suffering persecution, isolation, rejection, violence and injustice for the sake of Your name, and I sit and compromise with the world in my thoughts and deeds, compromising with those who hate Your name and persecute Your people. Yet You are with Your people and all of the violent persecutors and arrogant enemies of Your people will fall in Your judgment.  

You would shame the plans of the poor,
    but the Lord is his refuge.
O Lord, You are the refuge for the poor and the downtrodden and the outcast. Be my refuge. Let me see that under Your wings and in Your presence is the best place for me to be. Let me not fall into the traps and lies of the world and my flesh any more. 

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
    When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
    let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.    
Father, You have sent salvation for Your people! Your Son has come and has redeemed us! Let us rejoice and be glad in You, seeking and finding in You the hope of our souls and the joy of our salvation. In Jesus' precious name, Amen.

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