1 John 2:15 (ESV) … “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Several years ago, I was privileged to take a trip to Chicago to watch my beloved Saint Louis Cardinals play their arch rivals the Chicago Cubs, this would happen over a two-day Labor Day weekend. We planned to drive up there in a day, right after the Sunday morning church service, and then spend the night before making the Memorial Day Monday noon first pitch.
The way we had it figured, was that we could enjoy a typical three-hour baseball game and then hit the road no later than 4 PM and with a little luck, be back by midnight so everyone could get to work on time the following day. With six drivers at the ready and a large conversion van, we knew that we had this little overnight trip whipped.
However, what we had not planned for was a 6 ½ hour rain delay. Not only had we not adequately prepare for such a time delay, but we also fail to plan to adequately prepare for the cold, wet weather of Chicago. Needless to say, I had to buy a sweatshirt due to the adverse conditions. Now let me tell you, they don’t sell St. Louis Cardinals sweatshirts at Wrigley Field.
So there I am, in my brand-new Chicago Cubs sweatshirt, cheering (6 1/2 hours later mind you) for my beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Now I’ll never forget as one of the Cubs fans around me gave me an amusing look, and shoulder shrug of, “what are you doing?” To which my reply, was to just lift up my sweatshirt and reveal beneath it my bright red St. Louis Cardinals T-shirt. Yes, that’s right. I was a Cardinal's fan in disguise. Underneath that Cub's sweatshirt was a heartbeat of a Cardinal.
Now anytime that I read this verse here in 1 John, I often think of that trip and just how sometimes, we Christians live our everyday lives in such deception? On the outside, we look no different than the lost world around us, yet on the inside, we are hiding who we really are in Christ. When we choose to love this lost world more than the heavenly things of God, we are practicing a deception that robs God of his glory and His goodness. As believers, our hearts should not be set on the things of this world but rather the heavenly things of God.
Later on, John tells us in verse 17, that this world is passing away. Therefore then, for us to live for this world exclusively, is really to be foolish. Furthermore, John tells us that when we choose to live for God and His glory daily, that we are doing something that truly abides forever in the plan and will of God.
Now you might be wondering, just what did I do about this bit of confusion that I had created in Chicago? Well, I decided to be a real Cardinal’s fan. So I just slipped into the men’s room, between innings, and then I took off my bright red Cardinal t-shirt and place it over the top of my brand new Chicago Cubs sweatshirt. For me, even though I was in enemy territory, I knew I had to stand up and cheer for my team!
Likewise, as Christians we live in the enemy territory of this world, there we must always stand true and faithful in our daily living for God. That means we must love the heavenly things of God more than the old dead things of this world.
In the end we did make it back to Alamo. Unfortunately, not quite at midnight like planned. But what a story for the six of us that made that journey. One day, we all will have a story to tell in heaven about living in the enemy territory of this world and joy of living for God and being a faithful witness.