Do Not Be Anxious part 1: Make God Your Master

“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.”
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,… 

(Matthew 6:24-25a) 

Anxiety is not an emotional problem. Yes, anxiety is an emotion. And yes, it is a problem, but the problem of anxiety is deeper than the emotion itself.

Think for a minute about the petrol light on your car dashboard. When it comes on, you don’t take the car to the auto-electrician to get the light circuitry fixed. No, you go to the petrol station. The problem is an empty tank, not the light. In fact, the light is functioning exactly as it is supposed to. Anxiety is like that light; it is a symptom.

A symptom of what, you ask?

Look back at Jesus’ words from Matthew 6:24-25a and see for yourself. Jesus, the ultimate doctor of our souls, gives His diagnosis. Anxiety about life is the symptom that money, not God, is our master.

Anxiety is a problem of who or what rules the heart. Its appearance in our life should cause us to ask some serious questions. Who has my allegiance? What is my functional god? What am I trusting in for my daily bread?

Jesus says there can be only one master sitting on the throne of your heart. Split service between Master Money and Master God is impossible. Imagine trying to obey two masters where one says stand and the other says sit. It can’t be done; to obey one is to disobey the other.

Consider the contrary ways of money and God. The way of money is to lay up for yourself treasures on earth. Master Money says, “hoard me for yourself. Provide for yourself savings accounts, investment portfolios, property.”

The way of God is opposite. Master God says, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20). Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail (Luke 12:33).”

Who is your master? You can’t cut yourself open or have a biopsy to see what is ruling your heart. But there are symptoms which help us identify whether God has His rightful place or not. Anxiety about life indicates a person in the service of money.

Why does serving money result in anxiety? We see the answer in 1 Timothy 6:17.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17)

Riches are uncertain. They might be here today, but there’s no guarantee they will be here tomorrow. They can be stolen. The share market can crash. Currency can lose its value. You can lose your job. Unforeseen expenses can wipe out your savings. When you bank your hopes on money, you are banking your hopes on uncertainty.

Money makes promises it can’t keep. It is not the sovereign king of this universe. Money can’t control the weather; it can’t make the sun shine or the rain fall. Money doesn’t make the world go round. Money is unworthy of your trust.

I remember signing up for the New Zealand government’s Kiwi Saver scheme. The options of choice ranged from high risk to low risk. I wondered to myself, “How about the no risk option?” With money there isn't any ‘no risk’ option. If you set your hope for the future on money, it is no wonder you will be anxious.

Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. (Proverbs 23:4-5)

This might sound harsh or unsettling to you, but remember Jesus exposes our hearts to call us to repentance, not to condemn us. His means to give us help and hope in Him. In the upcoming devotions, we will work our way through Jesus' words on anxiety. His aim, and ours, is to re-establish God as master of our hearts and lives, for when He has our allegiance, we have His peace.

You cannot serve God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life,… (Matthew 6:24b-25a)

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