"The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:17)
Early memories are priceless. But, not this one. I was no older than 5 or 6 years old when it took place. I was hungry, very hungry. I was standing underneath a tree that had produced tons of acorns. In fact, I had spent the last several hours in an all out "acorn war" with several other kids that afternoon. Then it happened. I stepped on an acorn, heard the crunch, and looked down with interest at the orange, crusty center. Was this cheese? My young, naive eyes said yes. So did my hungry stomach.
You could probably guess what happened next. Yep, you guessed right. I ate it. It looked just like the cheese that I loved to eat so often. I loved cheese so much that I can remember sneaking to the refrigerator to secretly sneak a slice every once and a while. It was my favorite food. I mean to say that I absolutely loved cheese! I loved the taste. This hidden, miniature cheeseball that I had discovered within the acorn promised to be a good tasting snack. So, I popped it into my mouth and began to chew.
Unlike the cheese that I loved, this was not as good as it visually promised. In fact, it was terrible. It was bitter. It was nasty. What had started with strong promise ended with bitter distaste. What had started as a pleasant discovery ended in a bad experience. Lesson learned. DO NOT EAT THE CHEESE LOOKING SUBSTANCE INSIDE OF THE ACORN. Noted.
Have you ever been promised the world only to end up lacking? Relationships? Material purchases? Advertisements? Advancement? The world works this way. It promises what it cannot fulfill. Why are there so many Christians who fail to experience God's best in their lives? Why is this? What goes wrong? Answer. They ate the imitation acorn-cheese. They took the bait. What promised to be a pleasant experience ended up being downright nasty. Bitter. Disgusting. And sometimes, the guilt is overwhelming. Sometimes, it is just easier to lay out of church the next Sunday. Sometimes, it feels easier to lick our wounds on our own. Enticed. Deceived. Wounded. And ultimately, separated. Sound familiar? I've been there before.
The apostle John says something amazing here. He says, "the world and its desires pass away." The empty promises really are empty. No substance. Futile. It can look real, smell real, feel real, and sound real. But, it is not. Tempting--yes. Promising--yes. Satisfying--no. Trustworthy--no. The Christian must be alert to these deceptions. Nothing that this world promises will endure. It will all "pass away." Then the apostle John says something else amazing. He says, "the man who does the will of God lives forever." Promises and delivers. Imagine that.
Have you fallen for the old acorn trick lately? Has the world served you a bitter experience on a silver platter? Is the guilt setting in? Feeling a little separated? The apostle John has some good news for you. In the same book (1 John) he writes, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Another one of my favorite verses. Life is full of that stinking, imitation cheese. In one way or another, we've all fallen for it. The good news is that no matter how many times we take the bait, we have a loving Father that has a good, pleasing, and perfect will for our lives (Romans 12). If you've fallen lately, don't savor the aftertaste of bitterness. Don't allow yourself to be isolated. Rather, confess the incident to God, let Him clean you up, and seek His will for your life. It (God's will) will endure forever.