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The continuation begins now

Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased. 
(John Steinbeck)

Time as we know it will come to an end at some point for each of us. My pastor used to say one thing was pretty much assured to each of us - death. At some point, regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, or even gender - death comes to all. The conclusion to that acknowledgement was that we need to make the most of each day until that moment catches up with each of us! In the point between our birth and our death, we have a whole lot of opportunities to choose to live for ourselves or for God - how we choose to live oftentimes determines how well we will embrace our death! Why? When we choose to live for God, according to his will for our lives, eternity is assured - we aren't afraid of death. Choose to live for yourself and your death may just be a thing you aren't really looking forward to!

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity. (I John 2:15-17)

What is the 'love of the world' that is referenced in our passage today? I think it is explained very well here, but let me elaborate just a bit from my own experiences. This 'love' isn't Christ-centered at all. In fact, it is pretty much 'me-centered'. If we are in love with the world's ways and with what the world has to offer over the goodness of God and the fullness of his grace, we might just be flitting about from one thing to another, looking for some type of satisfaction and purpose. Why? Those things don't 'fill up our void' for very long. In time, they will leave us as 'wanting' as we were before we pursued them with such great gusto. 

The things of this world have a tendency to 'consume us' as we are becoming 'consumers' of them. I think that is why the warning is given to us in scripture to pay particularly close attention to how much we are living for our own self. Our own way, consuming huge portions of this world's offerings, and climbing the ladder while often stepping over others - these aren't God's intention for any of us. Wanting success, fame, or honor only leads to more wanting. One thing satisfies - God alone. I remember watching a movie quite some time ago where the cowboy depicted in the movie (Curly) held up his finger and reminded all those corporate types that came to the dude ranch at there was only "one thing" important in life. You have to find your "one thing" - but look in the wrong place and your 'one thing' will consume you rather than set you free!

The very next verse in this chapter goes on to say, "Children, time is just about up..." In light of that realization, stop for a moment to ask yourself the hard questions here: What are you pursuing? What is it that matters the most to you? Who is it that matters the most? You could be pursuing all the right stuff and still feel a little empty, but know this - God isn't going to let the right pursuit go unrewarded. In the end, there is a far greater reward with the right pursuit than there will ever be with the pursuits that offer immediate fulfillment (as ever-fleeting as that fulfillment may be). Just sayin!

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