Jen’s Gem: There’s freedom with God.
The other day, we moved my daughter into her new off-campus apartment. When I say that this process could not have gone better, I tell no lie. The entire day went as smooth as silk and my prayers for calm and peace for this transition were answered.
Tears were shed, but you knew that already. However, she is happily settling in and enjoying her new space. Of course, there are still calls home to ask about this accessory or that, and yes, “I need grocery money.” Ahh – it’s good to still be needed!
I arrived home with every muscle in my body – and yours, quite frankly – aching. I was in bed by 9:30 p.m. and awoke on my birthday, refreshed and rested. I had an amazing day from start to finish, making it easier to say goodbye to another year.
The next day I set about getting the apartment re-organized for the billionth time. With my daughter back and forth from college, I have lived a nomadic existence. When she’s away, I sleep in the bedroom. When she’s here, I’m on the pull out couch.
For over eighteen months, I’ve moved my belongings to and fro so that three people could share a two-bedroom condo. I admit there were days when I didn’t know where I was sleeping or where my toothbrush was! A rainy Saturday here was spent cleaning and organizing the room, making it my “forever bedroom.”
When I walk in the room now, I feel settled. Home. I’ve not felt that way since we moved given my ‘one foot here and one foot there’ lifestyle. This, coupled with confusion about my career path and purpose, have led to a rollercoaster existence at best for longer than I care to admit. Perhaps now with my head securely on my pillow, in my bed, in my room, the fog will clear.
Jesus speaks about this very thing in the Gospel of Matthew. Over the course of a few chapters, He is basically doing a brain dump to His followers because His time on earth is coming to a close. Jesus wanted His friends and family to know what they’d need to live their best life without Him.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24 NKJV)
In the verses above, Jesus notes that we can’t serve two masters. While He is referring to serving God versus serving mammon (money, material wealth), you can apply this to nearly anything that pulls us in two competing directions. For example, if we are workaholics, our health and family life suffer. We may even being to resent one or the other.
What do you spend the most time on each day? What occupies your thoughts? What keeps you awake at night? Worried about your bank account? Frustrated with your kids or spouse? Concerned with your health? The answer is the thing or person you are serving. It’s what taking the place of spending time with God. It’s what is stealing your joy. In short – It’s your god.
The very first commandment given to Moses was to put God first and have no other gods. Jesus repeated this in Matthew 22:37-38 when He was asked what the greatest commandment was:
“Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.”
Every instance of confusion and turmoil in the Bible occurred when people put something or someone other than God first. They wanted to serve God but the things of this world called to them. Yet the Bible tells us that the things of this world will pass away. Only God and His Word are eternal. (Matthew 24:35 NKJV)
What does this all mean for you and me? Pretty simple actually. Whatever we focus on increases – good or bad. And if our focus is all over the place, trying to serve multiple masters (gods), confusion and frustration abound. Yet, there’s no need for this wandering. God has promised us that if we put Him first, everything else falls into place because He cares for us deeply.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry 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?” (Matthew 6:25 NKJV)
Today as we celebrate July Fourth and enjoy the freedoms we likely have taken for granted, I want to encourage you to think about your priorities. Who or what occupies your brain space 24/7? If it’s not God and His promises for you, you may be wandering between pull out couches and master bedrooms, feeling lost or enslaved.
Put God first and let freedom ring! (Click to Tweet!)