You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. – James 4:4
Imagine reading those first three words directed at you for the first time! James uses a phrase common to the Old Testament prophets who compared the Jewish people who allowed other beliefs to invade their faith in God. It was spiritual adultery and God was serious about His people. James says that God longed for His people with a “jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in” them. God designed us for a relationship with Him and opposes any and everything that interferes with His plan.
The verse above warns against buying into the culture of the day when it opposes God’s best for us. Recently I read an example of that kind of thinking that applies to nearly every area of our lives. It goes something like this –
- First, if there is a God, he created me with the desires I have.
- If God gave me these desires, I should be free to act on them.
- If I act on my God given desires, others have no business opposing my actions.
This kind of thinking leads us to the kind of self-centered universe where my choices trump all others and unfortunately it has crept into today’s churches.
In contrast God’s view of us states –
- God loved us while we were still sinners by sending His son to die for us (Romans 5:8).
- God’s grace allows us to live in freedom away from the consequences of sin (Galatians 5:1).
- In light of God’s grace and mercy we are able to really love and honor God and man (Matthew 22:37-39)
Jesus spent so much time among unbelievers that he was mocked as a friend of sinners (see Luke 15:2). His openness to “sinners” like Zacchaeus was all part of his mission to “seek and save those like him who are lost” (Luke 19:10).
In order to avoid become a “friend of the world and an enemy of God” some people retreat, but that is not the point of the Gospel, is it? Josh McDowell states that
“Jesus spent so much time among unbelievers that he was mocked as a friend of sinners (see Luke 15:2). His openness to “sinners” like Zacchaeus was all part of his mission to “seek and save those like him who are lost” (Luke 19:10).”
Let’s follow Christ’s example and make a difference for the good of our world.