Helping men and women find hope, help, healing, restoration and redemption
leading to lasting victory over sexual addiction through a growing, vibrant, powerful relationship with Christ.
As you well know from your own personal experience, this journey to purity can be difficult and even a bit challenging at times. You find yourself doing things you’re not used to doing. You are trying to give up things that don’t want to be abandoned. There are moments where you may be tempted to just quit altogether. You find yourself wanting to give up and give in once-and-for-all to the overwhelming and relentless temptations that have been hounding you for months – maybe even years. I know, I’ve been there.
I’m your host, Steve Etner and Welcome to episode #21 of The Point of Purity Podcast. Let’s dive right in to today’s episode as we discover the Freedom of Choosing Freedom.
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus declares that “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 both.”
Right off the bat here I want to challenge you to commit this verse to memory. Hide it in your heart. Meditate on it – multiple times throughout the day think about what Jesus is saying. This is powerful. This is potent. This will help you immensely as you pursue purity - as you pursue a right relationship with God.
So, let me repeat the verse. Listen closely. (Matthew 6:24) “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 both.”
The first thing I want you to notice in this verse are the words “no one.” No one can serve two masters. No one. It’s what’s called an absolute negation meaning neither man nor woman, not even one. Not you. Not Me. No one can serve two masters. This truth applies to everyone. Absolutely, positively no one can serve two masters at the same time. It is not possible.
Let me illustrate it this way. Place both your hands directly in front of you, palms up. As you are looking at your palms, imagine that in your left palm you are holding a large rubber ball. Imprinted on that ball are the words “King Me”. Now imagine that in your right palm you are holding a second rubber ball and emblazoned across that ball – in giant letters – is the name “God.”
OK, do you have that imagery solidly fixed in your mind? Now here’s what I want you to do. Alternately, bounce your hands up and down as if you were juggling those two rubber balls. Here’s why. You see, Satan wants you to believe that your life consists of a never-ending juggling act bouncing between Me and God. Me – God. Me – God. Me – God. Sometimes my day, my life is about me and other times it’s about God. I certainly need to make it more about God and less about me ... but it’s a constant juggling act.
My friend, I submit that nothing could be farther from the truth. Here in our text of Matthew 6:24, Jesus is saying that absolutely no one can serve both King Me AND God at the same time. It is not possible. It will always be either / or ... never both.
OK. Now, instead of having your hands directly in front of you, I want you to fully extend them outward to either side of you (as if you were hanging on a cross). Left arm stretched fully out to the left. Right arm stretched fully out to the right. Palms up.
Again, imagine that resting in the palm of your left hand is that rubber ball that says, “King Me” on it; and in your right hand is the ball that says “God.” Got it?
Now imagine that both hands are in a fixed position. They cannot move. Here’s a question for you. If you want to look at your left hand, what must you do? Remember, the hand is in a fixed position, it cannot move. So, in order to see your left hand, you must choose to turn your head to the left. Are you tracking with me?
Now think about this: by virtue of the fact that you have turned your head to the left, you have also automatically turned your head away from the right. Conversely, if you want to look at your right hand, you must choose to turn your head away from the left and look at the right. It is impossible to see both hands at the same time. Of necessity it is strictly either one or the other. Either King Me or God. Never both.
OK. Now let’s put this visual illustration alongside of Matthew 6:24 which says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other.” Now, pause for a moment here. With your arms still outstretched, look to the left. Look at King Me. You have chosen to worship self, to love King Me – AND when you make that choice, you have also automatically chosen to turn way from, to turn your back on God thereby “hating” Him. Are you still tracking with me here?
Don’t lose sight of the fact that it is totally your choice whom you will serve. If you choose to worship (or as Jesus put it, to love) King Me, you have also chosen to hate God. When you choose (and let me make it abundantly clear that it is always your choice – when you choose) to lust, choose to look at porn, choose to masturbate, choose to commit adultery, choose to be sexually impure, you are not just choosing to love yourself, you have willfully and willingly chosen to turn your back on God’s way in favor of King Me’s wants and perceived needs.
Now let’s look again at what Jesus said in Matthew 6:24. “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 both.”
Let me once again point out the fact that it’s always your choice. It is entirely up to you. You CAN choose to despise yourself. You CAN choose to turn your back on King Me. You CAN choose (as Luke 9:23 says) to deny yourself, take up your cross, turn your whole being over to the worship of and full devotion to God. The decision is yours alone to make. Just remember this: you cannot serve both. It’s either / or.
You may recall that in Episodes 8 & 9 we talked about choices and consequences. We took an in-depth look at Genesis 4:7. Which, by the way, is another verse I strongly challenge you to memorize and urge you to hold on to it. Why? It’s a powerful tool to use when fighting your temptations.
Whenever you are facing temptation, any temptation, remember you always have a choice. At each and every point of decision you will choose either King Me or God. And with each choice there are always consequences.
Genesis 4:7 declares, If you do what is right, if you choose to turn your back on King Me and worship God, “will you not be accepted?” Choice – consequences. “If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door.” It wants to consume you, to devour you. When you choose to turn your back on God and worship King Me, you will sin, and it will try to consume every aspect of your life. Choice – consequences.
Please, listen to me closely. Every time you are struggling in your battle against the 3-headed dragon, every time you believe you have no choice but to give in, I want you to quote both Genesis 4:7 and Matthew 6:24. Say them out loud when you can. Let the Holy Spirit remind you that you do have a choice, and then let the enemy know that your choice is now and always will be God!
You can choose to do what is right. You can (oh my friend, you must) choose to deny yourself, worship God and be blessed. Or you can refuse to do what is right. You can choose to deny God, worship yourself and suffer the consequences. The choice is yours.
The point I’m wanting to make here is actually the title of this week’s episode. You are ...
In Joshua 24:15 Joshua instructed the Children of Israel saying, “choose this day whom you will serve ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” That instruction is just as much for you and me today as it was for Israel the day Joshua spoke it. Choose right here, right now, every moment of every day whom you will serve: King Me or God.
Galatians 5:13 reminds us that “you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.”
Do you see the choice that God is giving you here? As a born-again believer in Christ, you have already been set free. Jesus said, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) As a child of God, you have been called to freedom. Not a freedom to do whatever you want, tossing the consequences of sin out the window. Rather you have the freedom to choose to live for Christ without living in bondage to the flesh and your sinful habits. You can be free! However, it is a freedom that only Christ can give.
Listen to what Peter says in 1 Peter 2:10-11. “Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:10-11)
Think long and hard about those verses. If you know Christ as your Savior, if you are truly a born-again believer, then you are God’s people. You have been given God’s magnificent Mercy. This world is not your home. You are a sojourner, an alien in a foreign and unfriendly world. So right along with the Peter, I urge you, I beg of you, I plead with you – turn your back on King Me. Choose right here and right now to allow God to reign on the throne of your heart. Choose every moment of every day for the rest of your life to abstain, reject, turn away from the sinful, destructive passions of your flesh. Those passions are waging war against your soul. Don’t give the enemy ammunition! Don’t feed them. Destroy them!
The freedom that God has given you is a freedom to serve, not your flesh, but the One who gives you victory over your flesh. Remember, you cannot serve both King Me and God. “Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.” (1 Samuel 12:24)
In fact, let’s pause for a moment here and do exactly that. I challenge you to pause this episode and answer this question: What are the “great things that God has done for you”? Seriously, if you can, pause this episode and jot down on a sheet of paper all of the blessings, all of the great things that God has done for you.
Assuming now that you have a list, let me ask you this: Because of those great things that God has done for you, what should you do in response?
Never forget: We serve God because we are free to, not because we are forced to! Let me repeat that. We serve God because we are free to, not because we are forced to!
Romans 7:6 says, “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.”
Hebrews 13:15 challenges us saying, “Through (Christ) then let us continually (daily / moment-by-moment) offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Let me pose this thought to you ...
You see, the problem so many of us struggle with here is believing that God’s promise of freedom is actually, literally true.
Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Experientially we have not seen that kind of freedom because we believe we are still in bondage to our sinful habits. Oh, don’t misunderstand me. We want that freedom. We long for it. We pray for it. But it seems to always elude us. Am I right? And as a result, we have a hard time trusting God in this specific area of our life.
Ultimately, we begin to look at these promises of freedom in Scripture as something “for the other guy, but not for me.” We feel that somehow, because of my particular sinful habits, because of my sinful stubbornness, because I keep choosing to give in over and over again that I have been excluded from God’s promise of real freedom.
Maybe my sin is too great. Maybe I’m not repentant enough. Maybe God has given up on me because I’ve failed Him one too many times. Whatever the reason, we tend to shift the blame over to God, or to our spouse, or our kids, or our toxic work environment – or even all the above. We’re convinced that for reasons unknown to us, God refuses to wave His magic wand and make our problem go away.
But I wonder. Could it be that we have the wrong idea about this “freedom” that God has promised us? Could it be that we are expecting the wrong thing from God, something He never intended? Something He never promised? For many of us, the idea of “freedom” is equated with no longer having to battle with the temptation; no longer giving up and giving in. But I submit: This is not the freedom Jesus promises you. No. He HAS promised however to set you ...
Let me remind you that “No one can serve two masters.” (Matthew 6:24)
Jesus did not set you free so that you could live however you wanted and do whatever you desired. He didn’t set you free so you could enjoy an easy life, without struggle, without battle, without temptation, or without sinful desires. He freed you so you could do what He created you to do - to serve and glorify Him in the midst of your struggles, your battles, your temptations and sinful desires.
1 Corinthians 10:31 commands, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” And in Colossians 3:17 we read, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
The freedom God promises you is not the complete removal or total annihilation of that 3-headed dragon. Although He certainly can do that (after all, He’s God), that’s typically not the way He works. No. The freedom God gives you is the freedom to not give in to the beast, the freedom to choose to deny the flesh and love and live for His name, His praise, and His glory. It is a freedom to shout out “NO!” to King Me and “YES!” to God.
Listen closely to what Paul writes in Romans 6:18-22. He says, “Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.” (Romans 6:18-22)
You are not a robot programmed to obey and glorify God. He has given you the freedom to make that choice all on your own. Yes, you have been called to freedom, but God warns us in Galatians 5:13 to “not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.” Don’t listen to the lie of the enemy as he tries to convince you that since you are saved, secure, and set for Heaven you can go ahead and do whatever your flesh wants – after all, God understands, and God will forgive. My friend, that’s not the freedom Christ has given you.
1 Corinthians 6 reminds us that “All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything. (Therefore) Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:12, 18)
OK, so how does all of this apply to Matthew 6:24. Well ... it’s all about choices. Choices that you are free to make every moment of every day for the rest of your life. Through the gift of salvation, God has set you free from bondage to the fleshly, sinful passions and desires of King Me. You don’t have to sin. You don’t have to give in to lust, porn and masturbation anymore. You are now totally free to choose to die to self and live for God.
Before salvation, you “were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21). You did not have a choice. You were in captivity to the sinful desires of the flesh, stuck doing whatever the flesh wanted. But through the death of Christ, as Acts 13:38-39 tells us, “forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” You don’t have to give in to the beast ever again!
Let me take a moment here and read to you Romans 8:1-4. Through the gift of salvation “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” (NLT)
God has set you free my friend! So, celebrate! Choose right here and right now to (1 Peter 2:16) “live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.”
1 Peter 4:2 tells me I am “to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” Okay, I get that - but how? It starts with Ephesians 5:17. “Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” And Colossians 1:9 says we are to “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Acts 22:14 tells us that “the God of our fathers has appointed you to know his will.” Great! But how do we know what God’s will is?
Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:9 that God has “made known to us the mystery of his will.” And He has done so within the pages of Scripture. David writes in Psalm 119:45, “I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.” In other words, I shall go through life confident that I’m walking in your will because I’m daily in your Word!
Daily living in the will of God begins with you daily digging into the Word of God. Filling your mind and your heart with His truth, which in turn enables you to counter the enemies’ lies. “How can a man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9) “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
In previous episodes we have talked often about trusting God. You are to “trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) As you learn to trust your Creator, as you discover how to rely and depend upon your Heavenly Father, as you choose to put all of your focus upon the Savior of your soul and worship the God of the Universe as the only Lord and leader of your life - you will in turn develop an understanding of His will for you. After all, how can you possibly expect to know the will of God when your focus and attention is completely upon the will, whims, and ways of King Me?
The only way you will know and understand God’s will is if you daily choose to deny yourself, die to self, take up your cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Only then will He (Hebrews 13:21) “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in (you) that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
It always comes back to a choice. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Think about where your focus is – King Me or God. Colossians 3:23-24 commands, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
In 1 Chronicles 28:9 we are commanded to “Know (God) and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off.”
This is why we are to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33)
Let me ask you a powerful question that demands an answer. This question comes from Galatians 4:9. “Now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”
What say you? Now that you are a child of God, a born-again believer who has been set free, why do you choose to turn back to lust, and porn, and masturbation? Why are you willingly, willfully choosing to turn your back on the God who set you free? Why are you choosing to allow King Me to once again rule the roost? Especially when you already know what a lousy dictator he is!
Oh, how quick we are to blame anything and everything, anyone and everyone else for our faults and failures. Why?
The fact is, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) So, go right ahead and blame your upbringing, blame your environment, blame your spouse, blame your circumstances or situation, blame the neighbor’s noisy lawnmower if you want. However, when you stand before God, those excuses won’t hold any water with “him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13b)
Listen to God’s command in Joshua 22:5. “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
“If it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, .... But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
Never forget my friend that “the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2) This is why you are to “hold fast the confession of (your) hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23). You are to “be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)