As you endeavor to live a holy life before God, you need to be always aware that the spirit of this world is constantly trying you lure you back into the world. For this reason you can never let your guard down, and you need to always keep your eyes focused on the One who has made you holy in the first place. When you were saved, the Holy Spirit set you apart from the world. Now it is your responsibility to keep yourself holy, by keeping yourself separate from the world.
Let me share with you an interesting aspect about a warning that the Lord Jesus gave His followers. He said:
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. ” Matthew 6:24 NKJV.
Many years ago, the Holy Spirit taught me what Jesus meant by this statement. You need to first understand that mammon represents the spirit of this world in the realm of finances. Now the devil is the spirit of this world, and one tool he uses to draw God’s people back into the world is money and wealth.
Now God wants you to be your only source for money and wealth, but the enemy is always trying to lure God’s people back into the world through seeking things like fame and fortune from other sources. If you don’t believe me, consider how strongly some people feel compelled to buy a lottery ticket. If you don’t know this by now, buying a lottery ticket will actually hinder your ability to trust God for your finances.
This is only one application for what I am about to share with you. As you know, in each one of my posts I always relate everything back to holiness. However, you can often apply the principles I use to other areas of your life. This week is no different!
Now, what the Holy Spirit showed me from this passage was that after a person is saved, they are often tempted to go back to the way they used to live. It is possible in this case that they used to make a lot more money before they were saved. After struggling for a while financially, the temptation comes to go back into the world and make more money. However, they also want to serve God, and so they try to do both – serve God and make a lot of money. As a result, they waver back and forth between serving God and the spirit of this world.
This is why Jesus warned that this kind of person will try to serve God one moment and then go back to serving the world, all because of the lure of money and the things of the world. Jesus warned: You cannot serve God and mammon. The great danger is falling back into the world completely!
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“Therefore ‘Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my son’s and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.'” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 NKJV.
Let me ask you: Have known a fellow believer who once served God, but is now back in the world? Sadly, I have seen a number of believers over the years, who were enticed and drawn back into the world. In almost in every case you will notice that at one time or another they tried to serve God and the world at the same time. Sometimes it is money, and in other cases it is something else that has lured them back into the life of sin they used to live before.
It is so important to understand, that God has made you holy by setting you apart from the world. He wants you to serve Him and Him alone. He doesn’t want you to look to any other source for your finances, security, joy or peace. He also wants to be the only source for your need for love and acceptance.
So how do God’s people become lured back into the world? The answer is that they become double minded. They set their mind on God and then they set their mind on the world. In fact, if you think about it, we do it more often than we realize. The Apostle James gave the following warning, when he wrote:
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like the wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed (back and forth). For let not that man think that he will receive anything of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6-8 KJV.
Now James was clearly referring to how faith works. Simply put, he was warning that, if you waver back and forth in your faith, you will be double minded and you will receive nothing from the Lord. You cannot look at God and your circumstances if you are trying to trust God to answer your prayers. In the same way, you cannot look at God and the enticements of the world if you want to live a holy life. You cannot serve God and the spirit of this world. Those who are double minded have great difficulty living a holy life. It matters what you allow into your mind!
In order to truly live a holy life, it is important to keep your eyes focused on the Lord at all times. Don’t keep looking back at the world. In other words, don’t keep looking back at what you used to enjoy when you were living in the world. Be always aware that the spirit of this world, whether it is mammon or some other temptation, is always trying to draw your attention. In this regard Jesus warned:
“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 NKJV.
Any farmer will tell you that anyone who constantly looks back while they are plowing will never plow in a straight line. When you are plowing you need to fix your eyes on a point directly ahead of you. The same is true when you are trying to walk a holy life – you need to keep your eyes on the One who made you holy! Keep your eyes focused on Him, and keep yourself from focusing on what is in the world.
You are holy, dear saint!
Next week we will look at how to be spiritually minded.
This is Day Twenty-three of a 31 day devotional on The Life of a Saint.