Jesus laid out some very clear teachings in His famous Sermon on the Mount. Some are obvious. Some are less so. And some have a surface level teaching that goes even deepen the longer you think about it. For instance, let’s look at Matthew 6:24:
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
On the surface, this verse seems to tell us to love God more than our money/possessions. While that is true, Jesus says that we cannot serve God and money, not that we should not or ought not. So, the truth of Jesus’ teaching is much deeper. It’s not that we serve God more than money. Instead, we make a choice to serve God alone, knowing that He provides everything. That’s why He continues with the following:
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?”
The Double-Minded Man
The more I dwell on this verse, the more I come to the conclusion that Jesus is talking about being double-minded. We see then that trying to serve two masters leads to double-mindedness and divided loyalty. I like the way James, the half-brother to Jesus, puts it:
But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
Do you see what happens here? When we are double-minded, we are trying to serve two masters but end up chasing after each one half-heartedly, not experiencing the fulfillment of either one. There’s no commitment. Thus, the double-minded Christian is worse off than a focused non-Christian! James says clearly that such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. We could include in that a thriving, fulfilling relationship with God. We can’t be double-minded and expect God to answer our prayers.
The Need for Commitment
What’s truly frightening about being double-minded is the slow (sometimes quick) progression of unrighteousness. Look at how Paul puts it:
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
When we lose the struggle to stay focused on serving our one, true Master, we then begin to live in the flesh instead of the Spirit. This causes a chain reaction leading from dishonoring God to dishonoring our own bodies by obeying the lusts of our hearts. The natural consequences of simply trying to “kind of” live for God are scary to say the least.
So, what must we do?
How to Commit
To commit, according to Merriam-Webster, is “to carry into action deliberately.”
To choose, according to Merriam-Webster is “to decide that a particular person or thing is the one that you want.” We see these 2 thoughts merge in Joshua’s famous call to Israel:
“So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve.”
So, we see that we have a choice and the choice we make makes all the difference in how we live our lives. To commit means that we’ve looked at our options and made up our mind. We may not fully understand the repercussions of our decision or the difficulties that lie ahead, but we believe our decision to be the best of all options. We do this all the time on a smaller scale, from choosing a restaurant to choosing our clothes. Sometimes there are lots of options and sometimes there aren’t.
This step, I think, is pretty basic and intuitive. Staying committed, however, isn’t so easy.
How to Stay Committed
From second guessing to simple laziness, commitment over the long haul is not easy.
The key to not being double-minded is to commit. The key to not losing our commitment is to keep the vision in front of us daily. What is this vision?
It’s the Gospel, the good news that Jesus has made us righteous and empowered us to represent Him to the world! It’s Christlikeness, being transformed more and more into the likeness of the Son of God!
We can keep this vision in front of daily in several ways:
- Talking about it
- Reading the Bible
- Daily devotional
- Prayer (talking to God about what’s on your heart and spending time with Him)
Once you have that vision set in front of you, become intentional to act on it through your day. Write down those Godly idea that strike you and commit to be an image-bearer of God throughout your day!
What are you waiting for?! Choose this day whom you will serve, catch the vision, and become more intentional!
Also published on Medium.