John said something that kills me almost every time I read it. It hits me where I live -- literally.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world -- the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does -- comes not from the Father but from the world." - I John 2:15-16
If you know anything about me, you know that I deeply love life. I dig my heels into the earth with the full force of my being. So, honestly, I feel a little reproached by this verse. It makes me take a deeper look at my cravings and my desires -- the things that reveal my true character more than anything else. And when I read that verse, I wonder if I love my life a little too much? Do I possess the thing that the saints of Hebrews 11 did -- not just the faith that heaven exists, but the longing (v. 16) for it?
I've been asking God to help me have the proper desires. I've been praying the words of a Mat Kearney song "I'm looking for the right things to call pretty." And I wonder sometimes if my love for life makes a dent in my longing for home. Does it diminish that longing at all?
Then something happened: As I was walking up 3rd Avenue two nights ago, I caught a glimpse of the Chrysler Building--that magnificent, ornate monument in the sky -- the one that still shocks me with its beauty every time I see it. And as it took my breath away again, my first thought was that I cannot wait to leave it behind. Someday, perhaps, there might be a man who calls me away from this City, and I will certainly love him more than the skyline, more than the bustling avenues, more than the tree-lined streets. I long for him far more than for this place.
The parallel caught me off guard: I can love this City and still long for a man who might prompt me to leave it. I can love my life and still long to be with Jesus.
That is when I heard Jesus say, "I'm with you."
And I knew I'd be okay, because I understood something about the way my heart works. Jesus is with me... and that is the only reason why this life is so lovely. He is the thing I love about life and He will be the thing I love about death. Jesus just never, never, never gets old. So now, instead of breaking out into hives every time I read First John, I can relax into it... He's with me. :)
A.W. Tozer sums this up perfectly:
"Only God can supply everlasting novelty. In God every moment is new and nothing ever gets old. Of things religious we may become tired; even prayer may tire us; but God never. He can show a new aspect of His glory to us each day for all the days of eternity and still we shall have but begun to explore the depths of the riches of His infinite Being."