Jesus said in the book of Matthew that,
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Here, Jesus says, that a person cannot serve two masters. That is, you can serve God or you can serve mammon (worldly gain) but you cannot serve both. Furthermore, if you try to serve two masters you will invariably, through your actions, obey one and disobey the other. The reason it is impossible to serve two masters is that the very definition of this term is that one has mastery over you. If you have two different masters who have different agendas you will be forced to chose whom to serve and whom to disobey. In Jesus’s example we see that you cannot serve both God and worldly gain because they are at odds with each other. Truly, you cannot say that, “I love God” but obey the will and dictates of men.
Many Christian’s say they love God yet when it comes to financial decisions they in fact love worldly gain more. For example, If God calls a young man or woman to serve on the mission field during their first year of college they are faced with a decision; will they obey God or do what is best for their financial future? Depending on which path they choose it becomes crystal clear whom they serve.
To be sure God is not opposed to His Children being monetarily blessed so long as financial considerations do not take precedence over His will. If you reject the leading of the Holy Spirit because He does not fit your budget you in fact serve mammon rather than God in that particular area. If you refuse to listen to His voice because it would create problems in your career, ministry, and family etc. you know whom you serve by whom or what you honor and obey.
Let us expand this concept to that of the church. In our day and age the church serves two masters also. On the one hand the church wants to fit in and prosper in a worldly sense and on the other hand they wish to serve and love God. Churches are constantly making decisions whether or not to do what God wants spiritually or do what is expedient in the natural realm. Unfortunately, many times, natural considerations win out over the will of God. As we disobey His will, we make many excuses why we must change or modify what God wants, but in the end all we end up doing is serving mammon and despising Him.
Again, the church is, as it were, torn between two husbands. On the one hand there is God who is our spiritual husband. On the other hand there is the world in which we live that could be likened to our natural husband. The church lives in the house of her natural husband but desires to be with her spiritual husband. Though it is the spiritual husband that can give her life she, out of insecurity, stays with her natural husband that has no life. She is in fact torn between two lovers and though she tries to walk a line between them she always ends up obeying one and despising the other. This is why the church is, for the most part, barren.
Moreover, God calls her (the church) to be only with Him but she refuses to do so because she loves the comfort and acceptance that the world provides her. This leaves her spiritual husband (God) feeling badly because she despises Him by constantly giving herself to another lover for what God alone should provide. Of course the church has many reasons why they must maintain two husbands but in the end it boils down to lack of character and unwillingness to commit to either one fully. It is written,
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
And in 1 Kings Elijah puts Gods people to a decision
“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”
1 Kings 18:21
The church cannot have two masters’ much less two lovers. When the church tries to have two masters or husbands at the same time she ends up satisfying no one and each is unhappy with her. In the Old Testament the problem that Israel kept having was going after other lovers in the form of seeking protection from countries such as Assyria and Egypt. In order to be accepted by her other lovers she worshiped their false gods and feigned being like them. God felt that Israel committed adultery when they sought to align themselves with other countries for protection because that position as protector was to be His exclusive function in their lives. When Israel felt threatened in the natural realm it seemed like the right thing to do to seek safety in what they could see but in doing so they offended and forsook the only one that could really help them.
God bore long with Israel and indeed bares long with His church today because He loves us. The last thing He wants is to see us suffer the consequences of our disobedience and goes to great lengths to help His people avoid disaster. Sometimes, we even despise God’s long suffering and take advantage of His good will towards us by flaunting our sin before Him thinking there are no consequences for our actions. We lie to ourselves and others that we are ok with God when in fact we are gravely missing the mark and grieving our heavenly husband. However, just as much as God is patient He is also just and at some point has to allow us to find out what our sin will cost us. The books of the major and Minor Prophets attest to how long God will call out to His people before He actually allows judgment to set in. So to in our present age God is not mocked and whatever we plant we shall eventually reap. God only withholds judgment for a time because He truly desires us to return to Him and forsake our other lovers.
In conclusion, we must choose between our masters and decide to be faithful to one love. There is no other way for the bride of Christ to be holy and pure before Him. If we half heartedly love and obey one and half heartedly obey and love another then we please neither. It is written in the book of Revelation 3:14-19,
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
In God’s way of thinking there are no excuses for spiritual adultery and though He bares long with His people and even states He is married to the backslider there are limits to His patience. Let us become servants of only one master and believe He will love us and bless us for our faithfulness all the days of our lives.