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Divided Loyalties

Jesus said it best in the Sermon on the Mount: “No one can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24). The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.” And again in Luke 17:33 Jesus tells us, “Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” The message is clear–we cannot serve both God and money; we are not to be conformed to this world; and as long as we try to live life on our terms and not God’s we end up losing our own life.

Of all the songs out there that talk about divided loyalties, Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” (1979) does it best. Let’s look at the words to this song (Source www.BobDylan.com):

“You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

“You might be a rock ’n’ roll addict prancing on the stage
You might have drugs at your command, women in a cage
You may be a businessman or some high-degree thief
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief

“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

“You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk
You may be the head of some big TV network
You may be rich or poor, you may be blind or lame
You may be living in another country under another name

“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

“You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks

“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

“You may be a preacher with your spiritual pride
You may be a city councilman taking bribes on the side
You may be workin’ in a barbershop, you may know how to cut hair
You may be somebody’s mistress, may be somebody’s heir

“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

“Might like to wear cotton, might like to wear silk
Might like to drink whiskey, might like to drink milk
You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed

“But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

“You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say

“You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody”

The lines have been so blurred in our society today that it’s easy to think we are serving the Lord when we are really serving ourselves. For example, church discipline is practically nonexistent in our Western culture. You can do anything you like and still show up for church on Sunday morning and nobody is going to say anything. The church has fallen in favor of political correctness”and therefore sanctions sin in its midst. Sort of an “anything goes” philosophy as long as we show up for church on Sunday morning. Of course, this does not describe all churches, but unfortunately it is a part of an ever growing majority of churches. The prophet Jeremiah said it a long time ago, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jer. 17:9). We are easily deceived–yes, all of us.

The cure, of course, is found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18). True repentance and turning to Jesus Christ results in a changed life. It alters us at our very core. He becomes our life and He takes the focus of our lives off of ourselves. If you’re more concerned about what you can get in this life and how you can get it, you haven’t met the Savior.

There’s a lot of “pseudo Christianity” out there and it’s easy to be fooled. If you’re not reading the Word of God on a daily basis (and not just the verses that “sound nice” while avoiding the others), you’ll be easily fooled by all the “stuff” out there masquerading as Christianity. Ask God to show you the truth. He will if you mean it. But don’t expect it to be anything this world has to offer.

“You cannot serve two masters . . . .”

YouTube Video: “Gotta Serve Somebody” composed by Bob Dylan and sung by Shirley Caesar:

Photo credit here

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