“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 ESV
A treasure is not merely something physical. A treasure can be anything that has our hearts, passion, desires, emotions, dedication, loyalty, commitment, and time. For, it is something or someone that we highly esteem and value.
So, it can be self, the flesh, power, acceptance of others, entertainment, intelligence, talent, control, sinful habits, deception, possessions, education, and/or careers, etc. Or, it can be God, holiness, righteousness, honesty, morality, purity, faithfulness, obedience to God, the gospel, the salvation of human lives, and loving and caring about others more than self, etc.
This is not an indictment against having possessions, for we all need a place to live, and clothing to wear, and food to eat, and transportation to get from place to place, etc.
But, this is strong counsel against making the things of this world our treasures, i.e. what we value and cherish above all else. And, this is strong counsel against letting the things of this world overtake us and become our gods or become what determines our lifestyles and how we spend our time.
Yet, it is definitely an indictment against making self, the flesh, sinful practices and/or other gods (idols) our treasures (what we adore, cherish above all else). For, these are to have NO PART in our lives.
Instead, we are to value (treasure) what has eternal value, and what expresses (agape – godlike) love for God and for others. For, faith in Jesus Christ means to be divinely persuaded as to God’s holiness and righteousness, and of our need to be like him. And love means to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, pure, righteous, honest and moral.
So, if we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven instead of treasures on this earth, our focus in life will be to obey our Lord in all things, and it will be to follow Jesus Christ in his truth and in his ways, and in the way in which he has called us, and in which he leads us.
Then, Jesus will be truly Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and we will be slaves to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Tit. 2:11-14; Jn. 14:23-24).
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but 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! Matthew 6:22-23 ESV
I am familiar with the expression, “The eyes are a window to the soul,” which I believe was based off this passage of scripture in Matthew 6, but I think it is a quote from Shakespeare, too. And, I believe this has to do with what we take into our eyes, our minds, and our hearts, which then is often revealed or reflected through our eyes. For, our eyes can reflect what is hidden deep within our hearts.
For example, there is the passage of scripture that talks about “eyes full of adultery,” which is in reference to 2 Peter 2:14. And, it is talking about false prophets, but this is certainly not limited to just false prophets, but to any human to whom this might apply.
For, these are people who engage themselves in sensuality, deception, lies, the lusts of the flesh, sexual immorality, and defiling passions. They are insatiable for sin, who also lead others into sin. And, many of them know the way of truth, and yet they deny the truth that they know, and they refuse to obey God, but they choose to walk in the ways of their flesh, instead.
Healthy and Unhealthy
So, a healthy eye is one that reflects the light of Christ, whereas an unhealthy eye is one that reflects the lusts of the flesh.
But, we are not talking here merely about human eyes, for “eye” is also another word for discernment and judgment. If we have spiritually healthy discernment and judgment, we will be healthy spiritually – our whole being. But, if we have unhealthy (spiritually speaking) discernment and judgment, it will also impact our whole being – mind, body and soul – but in a bad way.
But, we must be careful here that we don’t make false judgments of people merely based on how their eyes appear to us, because we could be wrong. But, I do know, from experience, that if we truly know someone, especially for a long time, and we have observed their eyes in relation to their behaviors over a long period of time, that we can fairly judge what is going on inside them by what we see in their eyes.
But, even there we must be cautious not to make judgments, only to maybe inquire as to what is going on with them in hopes that they will open up and share their hearts.
But, even there, even if they do share what is going on inside them, and even if God gives us good counsel and/or encouragement, there is no guarantee that the individual will not go right back to the darkness and that they will cease in rejecting the true light into their lives. And, that is really sad, for so many people hold on to the darkness and they resist the light.
“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.” Matthew 6:24 ESV
Just like the previous section was not just about false prophets, this counsel here is not exclusive to just the subject of money, either.
This really comes down to the question of “Who is your Lord?” And, this applies to every area of our lives. We can’t have two Lords at the same time, though many try. We can’t serve God and serve Satan and the flesh at the same time. We can’t walk according to the flesh and according to the Spirit at the same time, either.
For, this really comes down to what or who we treasure, for where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also.
So, if self, and the flesh, and the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are what we treasure, that is where our hearts, the core of our being, will be. If what we treasure are the things of this world, which are perishing, then that is where our hearts will be. They will not be with God.
We can’t have the best of both worlds. It truly is an “either or” situation. We can’t live according to the flesh and claim Jesus as our Savior and Lord. For, our lifestyles show where our true loyalties lay.
We can’t be married and single at the same time, although many do live like that is possible. For, the marriage documents may say one thing, but the lifestyles of the married people may speak the opposite. It may be one thing in profession, but another in reality, in lifestyle, in practice.
But, that is no marriage at all when one or both married partners are living like they are still single and as though they can still flirt with, and have sex with, and have romantic affairs with others with whom they are not married, whether in mind or in body. And, this includes lusting with the mind only, and it includes the willful viewing of pornographic and sexually explicit material, too. It doesn’t have to be physical to be adultery.
And, the same concept applies to our marriage to Jesus Christ. If what we treasure are the things of this world, and our independence, and our pride, and our “singleness,” and the ability to sin as much as we want, and/or the ability or freedom to follow after the gods of this world, and if we think we don’t have to obey Jesus Christ or submit to his lordship, then that is not a marriage, either. It may be a profession of a relationship with Jesus Christ, but it is not realized in the lifestyles of those who profess him only.
So, the bottom line here is that we can’t have it both ways. We can’t be married to Jesus Christ and live like we are still single. We can’t hold on to the flesh and to sin and walk in disobedience to our Lord, as a matter of practice, and have eternal life with God. Either we walk according to the Spirit or we walk according to the flesh. We can’t do both.
But, we also have to know here that if we choose the flesh over the Spirit, that we will die in our sins because we refused to die to our sins.
So, the counsel here is to forsake your former lives of “singleness,” i.e. of living for self, the flesh and sin, let God change you in heart and mind, and now, in his power and strength, walk in obedience to his commands. For, love is action. It is not what we feel and it is not what we profess with our lips. It is what we do in obedience to God and in godlike love to others.
By Ann Aschauer
Well, some folks think that “love” means emotion,
So it comes and goes their whole life through.
Some folks never know that when the magic goes,
If you keep on lovin’, it’ll come back to you.
I was so afraid we’d lose the special feeling,
And someday we’d find our love wasn’t true,
But then God opened up my eyes and made me realize,
Love is not what you feel, it’s what you do.
And so we stood side by side at the altar,
As our wills and God’s power combined.
With His help I could say, “I do love you today,
And I will for a long, long time.”
c 1987 Ann Aschauer