Matthew 6:19-21 warns us — Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and rust can consume them, or where thieves may break in and steal them; but lay up your treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consume, and where thieves can’t steal them. Because wherever your treasure is — that’s where your heart will be.
We are taught in 1 Peter 1:15-16 that, “Just as He who called you is holy, you are to be holy in all of your behavior …Be holy for I am holy.”
Your walk toward holiness is a life-long process that includes laying up treasures in heaven. But what are those treasures?
Heavenly treasures are generally things you can not touch. There are many treasures that could be laid up in heaven like: enduring persecution, loving your enemies, praying and fasting, generous giving, forgiving others …
Part one of this series had a simple score-keeping method allowing you to evaluate your progress in your life-long walk toward sanctification. Such a score-keeping exercise has nothing to do with your salvation and is only meant to be a way of visualizing progress — a means of encouragement.
The constant tension between our animal nature and our spiritual nature was also pointed out in part one. To underscore that tension, Paul provided us with two lists in Galatians 5. The first list he called works-of-the flesh and the second list he called fruit-of-the-Spirit.
Those lists are issues of behavior. Behaviors that reflect our inner being — our willingness to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. Here are those two lists:
Works of the flesh: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, rivalry, divisions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Just as we have physical tools like hammers, drills and saws to make earthly treasures, we have spiritual tools to make heavenly treasure. Those tools make up the list labeled fruit-of-the-Spirit.
Of course we also use physical tools to make land mines and machines of war and torture. Those tools have a spiritual counterpart in the works-of-the-flesh.
We all have access to all of those spiritual tools. And just like their physical counterparts, the best quality tools make the best treasures. Tools from the Holy Spirit are of the very finest quality. Each of us should invest whatever time and effort it takes to master each of the tools in the fruit-of-the-spirit list. We produce more and finer treasures as we become more proficient with those tools,.
Just as the tools in the fruit-of-the-Spirit list can produce treasures in heaven, the tools in the works-of-the-flesh list can produce things leading to condemnation.
We are not forbidden to have treasures on earth. We can have as many treasures as we want. However, we should be careful not to simply store them up, rather, we are to use them. Just how they are used is of real importance.
It is okay to own a shiny new sports car and a pricey cell phone as long as they are being used to build up treasure in heaven.
The point is that anything even resembling the works-of-the-flesh should be avoided.
And the things in the fruit-of-the-Spirit list are not just some frilly things the Spirit will endow you with when you become a Christian, they are tools to be used everyday. We’ve each got work to do, so let’s get cracking.
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