You can only pick one

By Jessica Brodie

I didn’t need a new car. But oh, did I want one! My husband and I had worked hard to pay off my car, then saved up enough cash to buy his vehicle outright—no more financing for us. We should have been perfectly happy. Our cars are in good condition, each less than five years old, and have all the fancy tech stuff we enjoy, like automatic windows, backup cameras, and Bluetooth.

Yet all it took was one ride in my friend’s brand-new SUV and suddenly I had that craving. Envy snaked through me. I was happy for my friend, but now I wanted that new car smell, too! I wanted those shiny tires and super-low mileage, that sunroof and those leather seats. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things my car didn’t have.

Of course, then I calculated how long it would take me to save up the cash to buy this fantastic new ride, or how icky it’d feel to have to start up with car payments again after swearing them off forever. I forced myself to notice all the great things my car did have: air bags and ample room for my family. A good engine and a working air conditioner. Heated seats in the winter.

Like that old saying about how the grass is always greener on the other side, I peeled my wandering eyes off my neighbor’s “lawn” and firmly back on my own—and on God. Besides, I shook my head at myself, why was I getting all googly-eyed over a piece of machinery?

Reading the Bible this morning, I realized that’s what the apostle John was talking about when he issued Christians a firm warning about keeping our eyes on the Father and not the world.

“Don’t love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. Everything that is in the world—the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world and its cravings are passing away, but the person who does the will of God remains forever” (1 John 2:15-17 CEB).

My craving for a new car was a worldly craving. Eventually, like everything else in this world, the car will erode and crumble into nothing, as will money, houses, the clothes we put on our bodies—even our bodies themselves.

A hunk of metal designed to get me from Point A to Point B is no match for the Kingdom of Heaven. Sometimes we get confused about what we should set our sights upon. We get influenced by commercials or feel envy when someone’s “something new” looks really, really good.

But we can only love one master, and I’ve made my choice. I choose Jesus.

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