Where is your treasure?
“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
The focus of our journey toward the mortification of sin this week is anger. Eddie Franz gave a great sermon on the difference between righteous and unrighteous anger, showing how righteous anger is rooted in love, while unrighteous anger is rooted in selfishness. There is a lot that can be said about anger and anger issues, but I think we can agree that anger always has roots. Something causes it. Something deep, something embedded within our perspective that we may not even realize is there. Mortifying sin requires soul-searching and self-examination so that we can discover the roots that cause our sinful behaviors.
I praise God that anger isn’t much of an issue for me. We all have our own sets of struggles, and though it may be a prominent card in the deck, that one isn’t found in the hand that was dealt to me, thank the Lord. That does not mean, however, that I do not struggle with the same roots that cause that sin in others.
Selfishness is a nasty root that entangles pretty much everyone. It is found behind pride, hate, greed, lust– just about any sin you could list. It makes itself evident in my life far too often. Even in things that seem innocent– in the realm of entertainment, for example– it finds itself at home. Whenever I pursue a book, a movie or TV show, a game, or anything else, it’s there. Anything I want because it interests me, engages me, and/or excites me is something I’m doing for me. Clearly, God wants us to be able to enjoy life, but when I make a pursuit out of attaining or experiencing these things, I’m at huge risk of doing something more than just “enjoying”; I might be serving the god of self. And if I’m a slave to selfishness, that fact will dictate my values. It will control what I treasure in my heart.
Matthew 6:19-21 says this: “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.Â For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” According to Jesus, the evidence of our love and devotion is found in what we value. If we get passionate about the new season of a show but not about reading the Word, it shows we value that show and our entertainment more than the Bible, which indicates we love ourselves more than we love God. If we get into an argument with a person we profess to love, and refuse to back down until he or she admits defeat because we value being right, then we love ourselves more than we love that person. If we let anger lead us to think homicidal thoughts or take rash actions instead of loving unconditionally because we value our values, then we are self-righteous and love ourselves more than Christ.
Let’s all take a good look at what we treasure. Imagine things that you love. Things you really enjoy. Things you’ve convinced yourself you need. Not just objects or people, but feelings. Now imagine going completely without each item for the rest of your life, starting now. What would life be like if you never touched those games again? How would things be different if you never had that feeling of control again? Based on your knee-jerk reaction, rank the items in order of importance. Does this list reflect a heart inclined toward God above all else? Or does it reveal selfishness as lord?
Let’s make a change. Let’s die to self, mortify sin, and say goodbye to unrighteous anger. Let’s lay up our treasure in heaven and value Christ and His love for us first and foremost. It’s the only treasure that lasts.