Today we’re continuing to dig into the warnings given in James 5:1-6 that we discussed yesterday in “Wealth Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be”.

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Again, we are warned that earthly treasures will pass away, but heavenly treasures are eternal. But then we are also told that what our hearts desire shows where our treasures lie (Matt. 6:21). What do you think about most throughout the day? What causes your heart to beat fast in wonder and anticipation? What do you think you couldn’t live without? Whatever has your attention is your treasure, but only God is truly worthy of your heart.

What are heavenly treasures? These are given to us in (Isaiah 33:5-6) “The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; He will fill Zion with His justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledgethe fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” Here we’re told that “the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure”. In (Proverbs 1:7) this point is hammered home, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” What is “fear of the Lord”? A loving reverence for God that includes submission to His lordship and to the commands of His word.

“Fools” are those who “hate knowledge” (v. 22) and correction of any kind (12:1), who are “quick to quarrel” (20:3) and “give full vent” to their anger (29:11), who are complacent (1:32) and who trust in themselves (28:26) rather than in God (Ps 14:1). Fools denote a person who is morally deficient.

Instead of seeking earthly riches, we should instead submit to our Lord God and to the commands of His word. If in our hearts we seek a personal relationship with God instead of earthly riches, we can find true joy and peace. “Many, Lord, are asking, ‘Who will bring us prosperity?’ Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lordmake me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:6-8) No riches on earth can come close to what our Lord God can give to us. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

The apostle Paul tells us how to store up treasures in heaven. Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

We must guard our hearts and watch over them so that our heart follows hard after the things of God and is not distracted by the things of this world. The first question we must ask ourselves is: “Where is our treasure?” In asking this, we will answer the question “Where is our heart?” because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Are you earthly-minded or heavenly-minded? The second question to ask ourselves is: “Where is our focus?” What are our eyes focused on? Are they focused on the seen or the unseen? The final question to be addressed is: “Who, or what, are you serving?”

In Exodus 20:3, we are commanded, “You shall have no other gods before Me”  When we set our hearts on the things of this earth and fall to the temptation of being worldly in our ways, we are committing idolatry because we are no longer serving God. Rather, we have put our riches above God, and we are serving them. Jesus states: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

God is calling us to a radical life of service to Him as our Master. It’s important to know in your heart that God is our Father, and we are His children. God will take care of us and provide for all of our needs as He sees fit. But the temptation to hold onto earthly things weighs heavy on us and tempts us to trust our riches instead of our heavenly Father.

But if we focus on our Lord God in thanksgiving for all that He has done for us, we will have a new heart. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26) The heart that has been changed by the gospel sings the praise of the Savior. For only in Jesus, we have been redeemed. We have been saved from our sins that have separated us from our God. We have been raised from our spiritual death to walk in the newness of eternal life. We have received and have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, the guarantee of future and final redemption. We have been called out of darkness and into his marvelous light to proclaim his praises. He is our new song.

The “new” song put in the heart by God’s grace is one that celebrates Him, not our worth or the quality of our praise. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.” (Ps 40:3) This song celebrates God for who he is and for what he has done. When we change our hearts, we begin to store up treasures in heaven, the only lasting treasure.

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