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Do you desire to please God with your life? Do you also struggle with sinful thoughts and habits? There’s a conflict going on there, right? On the one hand there’s a desire to please God. Yet on the other there’s a strong desire to please self. In Gal. 5:17 Paul reminds us that the flesh is in conflict with the spirit – and the spirit is in conflict with the flesh. They are opposed to each other making it difficult to do what is right.
Welcome to The Point of Purity Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Etner author, National speaker, and Purity Coach for the Pure Man Ministry ... and this is episode #125 entitled “The Master Disaster” where we encourage you to ask the question: Whom is really in charge of my heart?
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus declares, “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.”
The first thing I want you to notice in this verse are the words “no one.” No one can serve two masters. It’s what’s called an absolute negation meaning neither man nor woman, not even one. 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 hands, imagine that resting in your left palm is a large rubber ball. Across the front of that ball are bold black letters that spell the words “King Me.” Now imagine that in your right palm you are holding another rubber ball and emblazoned across the front of that ball are three large golden letters that spell the word “God.”
Now alternately bounce your hands up and down as if you were juggling. You see, the enemy wants you to believe that your life is a never-ending juggling act, bouncing between Me and God. Me–God. Me–God. Me–God. Most of the time life tends to be more about me than it is God. I definitely need to focus my life around being more about God and less about me. So, it’s a daily juggling act. Watch this now: Nothing could be farther from the truth. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus is saying that no one can serve both King Me and God. It is not possible. It will always be either / or. Me OR God – God OR Me. NEVER both!
OK. Now, instead of having your hands directly in front of you, fully extend them outward to either side of you (as if you were hanging on a cross) with your palms still facing upward. Again, imagine that resting in the palm of your left hand is “King Me” and in your right is “God.”
With your arms fully extended to either side, imagine that they are in a fixed position (they stay stationary – locked in place – and cannot move), if you want to look at your left hand, you must do what? You must choose to turn your head to the left. Again, watch this now: 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. Let me repeat that. Let this important illustration of Matthew 6:24 sink in. When you choose to look to the left, you have automatically chosen to turn your full attention away from the right.
If you want to look at your right hand, you must now choose to turn your head away from the left and look at the right. You cannot see both at the same time. Of necessity it is strictly one or the other. King Me or God
Now let’s put this illustration alongside of Matthew 6:24. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other ...”. It is your choice whom you will serve. If you choose to worship (love) King Me, you have automatically chosen to hate God because you have chosen to turn your back on Him in favor of King Me.
In practical terms, when you choose to lust, look at porn, masturbate, commit adultery, be sexually impure you are not just choosing to love yourself, you have also automatically chosen to hate God. You cannot serve both.
Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 6:24, “Or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Again, it is entirely up to you. Your choice. You can choose to despise self, to turn your back on King Me; denying yourself, taking up your cross (see Luke 9:23) and turning your whole being to worship (be devoted to) God. The decision is yours alone to make. Just remember, you cannot serve both.
Only two choices can there be, pleasing God or pleasing Me.
(Note: For a deeper look at this principle, be sure to go to Amazon and purchase my book “Overcoming Temptation: Four Steps to Spiritual Victory”)
You may remember a few episodes ago we took an in-depth look at Genesis 4:7 where God tells Cain (and us) that you always have a choice. I challenge you to commit this verse to memory.
“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (NIV’84)
Whenever you are facing temptation, any temptation, remember you always have a choice. The bottom line is this: You will choose either King Me or God every time. And with each choice there are always consequences.
In Genesis 4:7 God says, “If you do what is right,” in other words, if you choose to turn your back on King Me and worship God, “will you not be accepted?” Choice–consequences. He goes on to say, “If you do not do what is right (in other words, if you choose to turn your back on God and worship King Me), sin is crouching at the door.” Its desire is for you. It wants desperately to devour you. If you choose to turn your back on God and worship King Me, you will sin, and that sin will try to consume every aspect of your life. Choice–consequences.
Please, listen to me closely. Commit these two verses to memory, then every time you are struggling in your battle against temptation, every time you believe you have no choice but to give in, quote both Genesis 4:7 and Matthew 6:24. Let the Holy Spirit remind you that you do have a choice. It’s a matter of having the right perspective.
You can choose to do what is right, choosing to deny yourself, choosing to worship God and be blessed. Or you can refuse to do what is right, choosing to deny God, choosing to worship yourself and suffer the consequences. The choice is yours.
In Joshua 24:15 we see Joshua instructing the Children of Israel to “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. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.” (Galatians 5:13 NASB)
Do you see the choice here? As a born-again believer in Christ, you have been set free. Jesus said, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) You have been called to freedom. Watch this now: it’s not a freedom to do whatever you want, tossing the potential consequences out the window. Rather it’s a freedom to choose to live for Christ without the bondage to the flesh and your sinful habits. It is a freedom only Christ can give.
“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 what I just read to you in 1 Peter 2:10-11. 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 – choose – Please Choose – right here and right now to 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 God has given you is a freedom to serve, not your flesh, but rather the One who gives you victory over your flesh. Remember, you cannot serve both. “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) So, let me ask you. What are the “great things God has done for you”? Furthermore, in response to those great things, what should you be doing?
We serve God because we are free to, not because we are forced to! “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.” (Romans 7:6) “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
The problem so many of us struggle with here is believing God’s promise of freedom to be true. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)
Experientially we have not seen that kind of freedom because we believe we are still in bondage to our sinful habits. Oh, we want that freedom. We long for it. We pray for it. But it seems to elude us. As a result, we have a hard time trusting God in this area of our life.
Ultimately, we look at these promises of freedom in Scripture as something “for the other guy, but not for me.” We feel somehow excluded. Maybe our sin is too great. Maybe we’re not repentant enough. Maybe we’re convinced that God has given up on us because we’ve failed one too many times. Whatever the reason, we tend to shift the blame on to God, or others, or our environment–even all the above. For reasons unknown to us, God refuses to wave His magic wand and make our problem go away.
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? For many of us, the idea of “freedom” is equated with no longer having to battle with temptation; no longer giving up and giving in. This is not the freedom Jesus promises you.
I titled this week’s episode “The Master Disaster” simply because of the truth Jesus speaks in Matthew 6:24. “No one can serve two masters.” If you are a born-again believer, understand this: Jesus did not set you free so 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, without sinful desires. He freed you so you could do what He created you to do–to serve and glorify Him.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
The freedom He promises you is not the complete removal of temptation. Although He certainly can do that (after all, He’s God), that’s typically not the way He works. The freedom He offers is the freedom to not give in to the beast, choosing to deny the flesh and love and live for His name, His praise, and His glory. It is a freedom to serve God instead of King Me.
“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 NLT)
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 to “not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.” (Galatians 5:13) 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. That’s not the freedom Christ has given you.
How does all of this apply to our spiritual battle? The Master disaster that Christ speaks about in Matthew 6:24 is all about perspective and 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 your temptations anymore. You are now free to die to self and live for God.
Before salvation, you “were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds” (Colossians 1:21a). 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, “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.” (Acts 13:38-39)
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.” (Romans 8:1-4 NLT)
God has set you free my friend! So, “live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16)
OK, we’re going to hit the pause button here until next week’s episode. If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about The Pure Man Ministry, and more specifically how we can help you live in freedom from sexual sin, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com.
Now before I close out this episode, I WANT TO REMIND YOU OF SOME VERY, VERY EXCITING NEWS. After nearly 11 years of testing, I am excited to announce the release of my newest book “The Point of Purity” Workbook! Available now on Amazon, this workbook is the accumulation and culmination of 10+ years of coaching, mentoring, and counseling men in the area of sexual addiction and purity.
“The Point of Purity” Workbook is a 12-week journey through Scripture to help you discover the point of purity. Why should I be pure? What’s the point? What's wrong with a little "forbidden pleasure" from time to time? You will also learn how to get to the point of purity - living daily in freedom and victory over temptation.
Written in such a way that you can do this on your own or with an accountability partner or small group its purpose is to walk you through Scripture discovering from God’s Word how you can be free. Each week you are equipped with powerful tools from The Bible that will help you not only BE free, but LIVE free. You will learn how to effectively change your thought process when faced with temptation (not just sexual temptation, but actually any and all temptation). You will discover how to submit yourself to God, standing firmly against the temptation and successfully resist it every time.
You see, the real problem we struggle with is not sexual temptation. The real problem is a worship disorder. Who is sitting on the throne of your heart? Whom are you worshiping and why? “The Point of Purity” Workbook is a 12-week deep dive into Scripture to help answer this all-important question and discover how to dethrone King Me, allowing God to be Lord and leader of every part of your life. So be sure to visit Amazon.com today and get your copy of “The Point of Purity Workbook!”
And if you have not yet subscribed to this podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes! So, until next time this is Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.
Please understand that your involvement in this program does not provide any guarantee on the part of Steve Etner, The Purity Coach or The Pure Man Ministry. In other words, we are coming alongside of you for the purpose of coaching you toward accountability and purity. I am not a professional counselor and I cannot guarantee you specified results. I am, however, a man who has been where you are and has seen God work in my life in a mighty way. This program is what changed me. And God has used this program to impact the hearts of countless men across the globe!
I'm here to encourage you, to challenge you, to pray with you, and to share with you what God has taught me. I look forward to coming alongside of you in this journey!