Do not love the world [its ways, it principles] or the things in the world. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world.” 1 John 2:15-16
You know, some folks are just slow learners. My time in Minot was short—from October to April—but filled with memories. The base was about 20 miles from town and only a couple of guys had cars. We would load up and drive into town at negative twenty degrees with all the windows down to play “freeze out.” We would see how long we could stand the cold. The radio would be blaring John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.” Hey, there wasn’t a lot to do—especially in Minot in the dead of winter.
So, as a southern boy, this cold weather stuff was all new to me. Some things I just couldn’t get the hang of. One of those was walking on ice. Now I had been walking since I was about 18 months old. The difference was up in Minot you have to learn to walk on ice. The winter of 1972-73 was a great opportunity to do so. I was able to go home for Christmas. I was dreaming of a green and not white Christmas. Up until that time it had been cold, but we had very little snow. That was kinda unusual—especially for Minot.
Well, while I was home for Christmas they had a whopper snow —and I’m not talking about Burger King. Something like two feet of snow fell. But what happened after the snow was chilling—literally. It melted…all of it. Somehow it got well above freezing for a week or so which melted the snow and then it happened. The temperature plunged to below zero and stayed there. Forever.
What was left behind were vast sheets of ice. Everywhere you looked or walked there was ice. I didn’t have a car which meant I had to walk to and from work. So I would put on my arctic parka, my arctic gloves, pull my arctic hood up and take a hike. I would walk one way going and another way coming. Going to work was not a deal. I managed to make it without falling…or at least not multiple times. Going home? Well, that’s a different story.
About halfway there I would have to walk around the corner of a building. So, off I go. I get to this corner and not paying attention, stepped onto a sheet of ice. Bam. In two seconds flat- I was flat on my back. Because of the parka nothing was damaged except my pride. Score one for the ice. Day two. I’m walking home and come to the exact same spot. I eye the ice and ever so carefully step on and in two seconds flat I am flat on my back. Bummer. I crawl back upright, making sure no one is watching, and press on.
Day three. I get to the corner for the third time. I know the ice is there. In fact, we’ve become close friends. I gingerly step on the ice…nothing happens. As I take my second step in two seconds flat -I am flat on my back. Excuse me? Is this Ground Hog Day or what? Anyway, for the third time I crawl off the ice and head on back to the dorm. By this time more than my pride was bruised.
I know what you are thinking. Why don’t you take a different path? Why did you keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. The answer is…I don’t have a clue. Thought I could beat it? Thought it was closer? Thought if I fell enough I would break the ice before it broke me? I don’t know. I was stubborn. I was a slow learner. I was doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Isn’t that what we do in life? Don’t we journey along and come to a decision point and fall flat? Don’t we sometimes do it again on Day 2? Day 3? You know, walking on ice is one thing. However, flirting with disaster, the kind that has big regrets and bigger consequences, that is another. God knows this and tells us not to fall in love with the world—its ways, its principles, its stuff. Remember your mama saying, don’t date someone you don’t want to marry? Same principle. Flirt with the world, date the world and you’ll end up marrying the world.
John—the guy in the Bible—says in 1 John 2:16, “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions—is not from the Father, but is from the world.” When you say, “I do” with the world you end of with twins—regrets and consequences. Life is harder…a lot harder. Harder than walking on ice.
So, I finally did take a different route. They say that three times is a charm. It took me four but I did learn. On day four…I didn’t fall. I didn’t fall on day five either. In fact, I don’t remember falling again. Why? I didn’t go that way. I chose a different route and that route, that path, had different consequences—better consequences. They also say that three strikes and you are out. True in baseball but fortunately it isn’t true with God. He keeps picking us up, dusting us off and helping us find the right path—one with less ice. When I fell I would quickly look to make sure no one was watching. When we fall in life we can rest assured someone is watching…our Abba Father. He’s got is His eye on us. So, be careful out there it can be pretty icy but don’t worry you aren’t alone. He’s always there. Rest in Him knowing He will be there to pick you up. After all, He’s got this.