As he walked across the area outside my window, he stopped occasionally and poked his long thin beak into the ground like a cane. Occasionally he stopped and pumped it, up and down, up and down, then pulled it out and walked on. Finally I saw him stop, poke, pump, then stand very still with that beak still in the ground. Suddenly he began to pull and pull and pull, and gradually a long black earthworm appeared, rising a quarter inch at a time out of the ground. That worm hung onto the dark earth for all he was worth, stretching like a piece of melted mozzarella. Suddenly, he ran out of dirt to hang onto, sproinged out of the ground like a rubber band, and the woodcock swallowed it in nothing flat. Then he continued his stroll, poking and pumping every foot or two.
Sometimes we can be just like that worm, hanging onto the world for all we are worth while claiming to have left it all behind. We may be at the assembly of the saints every time the door is open, but our lives during the week tell stories on our "devotion" to the Lord. We get as close as possible to people and things that taint our purity. What kind of movies do we watch? What kind of television shows? I have heard people discuss things that even the world calls "racy," and "suggestive," while claiming to live lives of purity and holiness. What kinds of clothes do we wear? Do they adorn a chaste character or do they suggest exactly the opposite? What do we talk about? Are we all about money and status and the latest gizmo or does our love of the Lord and spiritual matters monopolize our conversation? We may be just like that earthworm, struggling to hold on to this world and its cares while the Lord is doing his best to pull us to him.
Ultimately, Christ won't be like that woodcock. If we want to leave completely, he will let us, just like he did those supposed disciples in John 6. They left and he never chased after them. He simply turned to his disciples and asked, "Are you leaving, too?" It's time to make a decision and mean it. Are we for the world and the ruler of this world (John 12:31), or are we for the Lord?
Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God (1John 3:7-9).