1 John 2: 15-17
15. Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
1 John 2:28
And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from Him in shame.
Imagine that day when Christ will return. He will you know. He will return. Where will I be when it happens? Where will you be? Where will this world be? Will it be tomorrow, 20 years from now, or centuries in the future? No one knows. But when I read these words from John it always makes me wonder if it could be in my life time and, if it is, will I heed this advice?
I want to.
I want to remain in fellowship with Christ. I want to be full of courage and not have to shrink back from Him in shame.
We have been given a warning here. Don't love the things of this world. It is as simple and as hard as that. We have been given great insight into wisdom living in this passage. However, this wisdom can be overwhelmed by the cares of this world.
We usually acknowledge those 'cravings for physical pleasure, and everything we see' as unwise. We say to ourselves: "Be careful, stay away from those things." In the Christian world there are those standard 'taboos'. These are easy for us to see as things that are needed to be 'given up'.
But what about the cares of the world that are not frivolous? What about those places of pride in our achievements and possessions that we hold so close to our hearts?
Those cares of this world that are not frivolous? I'm referring to those that are given as important to the belief systems we are grounded in. Doing good in our community, being of service, buying a home for our loved ones to live in, finding a partner to do life with...
Things like family, community, caring for the poor, sick, hungry. The list of good deeds goes on.
I remember having great pride over some really good things in my past.
I am taken back to a rainy day in the early years of the turn of our century, @2000. — A really rainy day.
As a single mother, I took great pride in being romanced by God and *enlarging my tents through my teaching position, my home, and especially my kids. I taught a Bible study in my home every Wednesday evening and I loved the women that came and did life with me there. My home church was grounded firmly in the Bible and it was growing rapidly. We as a body of believers were being challenged to listen to God in ways we had never done before. I had wonderful book mentors during these years, like A.W.Tozer, George McDonald, Maj. Ian Thomas, Eugene Peterson... and I took pride in learning from them.
But nothing changed and called me to *enlarge my tents so much as a mission trip to Europe. These pieces were all stepping stones, but the final push was the call I heard after traveling to Holland in 2000 with our church's youth. It wasn't right away, it took some time, but it was there and the more I begged God to clarify it, the more real it became.
On that rainy day I was re-reading the paperwork I had received from Greater Europe Mission, a mission organization I was praying about joining. Every inquiry made was a door I anticipated to be closed, yet it led to open door upon open door. The paperwork I was re-reading was the final agreement to become a full-time missionary in Europe.
Selling the home God had allowed me to buy? my car? most of my belongings?Leaving my three young adult children?Leaving my home church, and all of those women in the Bible study I loved so dearly? I was overwhelmed with the reality that God was calling me to leave all of these.
But the greatest sacrifice of all was in my heart that no one knew. Marriage. By signing that paper I just knew I was signing away the possibility of ever marrying again. Because, I would be a missionary and the people I would meet as a missionary would not ever be interested in marrying a divorcee. And I was a divorcee and had been alone since 1988.
All that I was letting go of were good things. None were frivolous.
But God called me at that time to release these very good things.
I find it interesting that the one thing that caused the greatest tears was this view of re-marriage. The thought that I would never marry again was so painful, so gut wrenching, I basically laid over my red-prayer-chair-ottoman and could not stop crying. But, His Still Small Voice did not silence. I listened and signed, mailed the paperwork off, and was accepted. I was commissioned to Greater Europe Mission with Women's Ministries in 2003. God continued to *enlarge my tents.
What did I learn from this experience? Hold people, positions, possessions, and possibilities loosely. Nothing but God need be the driving factor of my life.
It does not mean I do not have them. Good grief, God even brought another man into my life to love me and for me to love. And people think God doesn't have a sense of humor!
But, I want to be able to stand courageously and with no shame when Jesus returns for His bridegroom.
He has romanced me for so many years and I want to continue being loved into loosely holding even those things that are considered good.
*enlarge the place of your tent...Isaiah 54 read it here! biblehub.com
God has not stopped *enlarging the place of my tent. But since that day of surrender, I have to admit, nothing has ever gripped me so greatly and caused me to realize He was calling me into something beyond. I don't ever want to forget it.
I don't want to forget it, because it lead me into a place deeper and more wonderful than I had ever known. And the more I remember it: He is more precious to me. And, amazingly enough, I value those really good things even more. I just don't hold on to them so tightly. They take their rightful place in my heart.
When I stand in front of Him on the day He returns. He will call me, and any who have followed into something so much more and way beyond.
Praise be to God, the One and Only Three in One.
Because He IS the I AM, i am
robyn rochelle cox
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