James 4:4 (NASB95) “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

This verse is not saying that we should not love people in the world, or appreciate the beauty of God’s creation, or appreciate the blessings in life such as food, housing, and transportation. When this verse talks about the world, it is talking about worldly pursuits, pleasures, and lusts, the things of the world that people seek to bring themselves fulfillment rather than looking to God.

James is talking about our affections. We are the bride of Christ, who is the bridegroom. If a bride shifts her affections from her bridegroom to someone else, the bridegroom will be rightly jealous at the adulterous behavior of his bride. When the bridegroom is God, it is idolatry and we are adulteresses! 1 John 2:16 (NASB95) says, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world."

Do we put our careers above God? Our net worth? Material things? Entertainment? Pleasure?
Our children or our significant other? All of these do not ultimately satisfy, but God does.

Or do we allow the things of the world into our eyes, ears, and minds in the videos we watch, the music or podcasts we listen to, or what we read? Watching an entertaining murder series, reading romance, or viewing porn does not direct our affections to God (see instead Philippians 4:8).

We are all prone to wander, and none of us perfectly pursues the Lord. Verse 6 gives a beautiful bridge between our problem and the solution when it says, “But he gives a greater grace.” Thanks be to God for his grace!

Our calling is laid out for us in verses 6-8:

  1. God gives grace to the humble.
  2. Submit to God.
  3. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
  4. Come close to God and he will come close to you.

Let us not settle for less than who we were made for. Living the Christian life is not about adding Jesus to our lives or a recipe for worldly gain. Becoming disciples of Jesus Christ involves laying down our lives, taking up our cross, and following Him. Jesus does not claim that following Him will be easy or without trials, struggles, or persecution. But oh the joy that is found in Christ and a life devoted to Him! There is nothing else like following Him.

by Jonathan Ott, Elder

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