How much does the love of God impact you on a daily basis? It’s easy to say, “Yeah, I know God loves me. He sent Jesus to die for my sins.” But, how often do you think about all that His love means, and all that His love did and does for you? I have often said to new missionaries when they come to the mission field, “The gospel is not just something we give away to the lost, it is something that should impact our lives every moment of every day!
The Passage: Matt 6:19-34
Matt 6:19-21, 24 19“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 24“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.
Paul Tripp does a great job talking through these verses in chapter 4 of his book, “Instruments in the Redeemers Hands.” He says we learn three principles in this passage (Matthew 6:19–24).
- Everyone seeks some kind of treasure. (This is Christ’s operating assumption.)
- Your treasure will control your heart. (“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”)
- What controls your heart will control your behavior. (“No one can serve two masters.”)
The things we set our hearts on never remain under our control. Instead, they capture, control, and enslave us. This is the danger of earth-bound treasure.
Every human being is a worshiper, in active pursuit of the thing that rules his heart. This worship shapes everything we do and say, who we are, and how we live.
Taming your heart and it’s passions needs to be the target of your spiritual growth plan.
Matt 6:22-23 The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. If the focus of your live is healthy; if what occupies your “sights” is healthy, so will be your life.
The eye is the lamp of your body! Tripp said, “ the thing that you treasure, will control your behavior.” What you focus on, what fills your eyes, is what you treasure. We aren’t talking about something you happen to glance at as you are driving down the road. We’re talking about what you focus on, “the apple of your eye,” the “treasure of your heart,” what you spend your free moments thinking about.
Jesus finishes his challenge with Matt 6:24, “You can’t serve two masters.” Either our eyes are focused on Christ, or they are focused on something else.
Matt 6:25-29 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Jesus gives a practical example of what He is talking about. So many people worry and are anxious about their basic necessities, food, clothes, housing, money to pay the bills, etc. How much of your thoughts are occupied with those things? When we can’t see where the money is going to come from, we can certainly become consumed with worry. Even as missionaries, we fall into this from time to time. This anxiety can consume you to where that’s what your life is bound up in and it becomes all you can think about. But, isn’t life more than that?
I’m reminded of why I began this study. 2 Corinthians 3:18, as we behold Chirst, and learn from Him, we will become like Him. So, what can we learn from Jesus here? How did Jesus live? Jesus didn’t even have a place to lay his head. (Matt 8:20) Jesus knew by experience that He could trust the Father. He had abandoned Himself to the Father in everything He said and did. (John 5:19-20) He lived to do His Father’s will, not His own. (John 5:30), and the Father’s will. As Jesus said these words to His disciples and the crowds, He was living them out right in front of them.
His own life aside, Jesus gave a couple examples from creation.
- Matt 6:26-27 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
- Matt 6:28-29 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these
Matt 6:30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
God the Father is a loving, and generous father! Jesus knew that. Jesus experienced that! He is speaking out of the incredible love relationship He experienced with His Father! “Will he not MUCH MORE clothe you!” O you of little faith.” By faith we know, as Jesus did, God’s deep, deep love for us. By faith we need to abide in His love! We need to stand on it with absolute confidence, and yield our emotions and and thinking to the truth when we are tempted to think or feel otherwise!
Matt 6:31-32 31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
This is a conscious choice that we make. “Do not be anxious.” Choose to believe what God has said. Choose to believe the experience you have seen of God’s love displayed in your life in the past.
We should be different than the world. The world is occupied with all of these things. Their eyes are filled with the latest and greatest this world has to offer. That should not be our focus. That should not be what our eyes focus on and get fixed on!
Matt 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
I like what Andrew Murray said in chapter 23 of Abiding in Christ. “If Christ finds us willing to trust ourselves and our interests to His love, if in that trust we give up all care for our own will and honour, if we make it our glory to exercise and confess absolute dependence on Him in all things, if we are content to have no life but in Him, He will do for us what the Father did for Him. He will lay His glory on us so that we can glorify Him in everything we do.”
- What was God doing? Why did He have this written down?
Jesus lived this out. He lived in complete dependence on His Father. He had complete confidence in His Father’s love for Him, and rested in that through every event He faced. In chapter 22 of Abiding in Christ, Andrew Murray reminds us that “This love of God to His Son must serve, as the mirror in which you can learn just how much Jesus loves you.”
Jesus acknowledged in John 3:35 that “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.” As Jesus prepared for the last supper with His disciples in John 13:1 Jesus expressed the same love to His disciples. Murray went on to say, “When it was needed, He sacrificed His throne and crown for you: He did not count His own life and blood too dear to give for you. His righteousness, His Spirit, His glory, even His throne, all are yours.” This love holds nothing, nothing back. O wondrous love! He loves us as the Father loved Him. He offers this love as our daily dwelling place, if we would only choose to abide there.
As I ask these questions of myself, I encourage you to ask them too.
- What can I learn from this? What is God saying to me and my life from this passage?
The other day, we sang 2 songs that really challenged me after reading this passage. Here are the words, and how they impacted me.
The Goodness of God -Bethel Music
I love You, Lord
For Your mercy never fails me
All my days, I’ve been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
And all my life You have been faithful
And all my life You have been so, so good
With every breath that I am able
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God
Lord, your mercy never fails! All of my days I have been held in your hands. God’s love holds me! From the moment I wake, until I lay my head down, it’s God’s love that sustains me. All my life He has been faithful! All my life He has been so, so good! It’s the confidence in His love that should give me rest and peace no matter what I am facing!
Lord I need you – Matt Maher
Lord I come, I confess
Bowing here, I find my rest
Without You, I fall apart
You’re the one that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour, I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
It’s the love of God that will give me rest! Without the confidence in God’s love for me, I will fall apart! It’s His love that guides my heart! Lord, I do need you. I need to rest and abide in your love! Every hour, every moment, It’s God’s love that is my defense and my righteousness!
- What do I need become more aware of?
I know I take the love of God for granted. I am too often like those I described in the beginning. I know Jesus paid the penalty for my sins but, His love for me does not impact my life moment by moment. Because that’s true, instead of His life being the source of everything I do, it’s easy for self to be the source.
- How does God want me to engage with this? What does He want me to do because of what He is saying here?
I want the love of Christ to impact my life more. That will only happen as I abide in His love by meditating on it, thinking about it, and sharing that with others. In chapter 21 of Abiding in Christ, Andrew Murray said, “As we abide in Christ, (as we meditate on His love) our occupation with our self diminishes and our own thoughts and wishes become captivated by the thoughts and wishes of Christ. As we abide, like-mindedness to Christ grows. Everything is yielded to the power of His life in us, that it may exercise its sanctifying influence even on ordinary wishes and desires.”
The Power; Implement and Integrate
The power to change is in the implementation and integration. We can talk all we want, make lots of plans, but until we do something about it, and develop habits that integrate those truths, we will never change. What is the one thing I need to do as a result of this study today?