4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? (James 4:4-5 NIV)
For those who have heard the Good News of Jesus and turned away, rejecting the love of God, “friendship with the world” seems like silly, “Us vs. Them” fundamentalist paranoia, but for those who’ve heard the message of the Gospel and given their lives to Jesus, “friendship with the world” is a very real struggle. The struggle of living the life God has called us to live as opposed to fully embracing the world and all it has to offer has been going on since Adam and Eve chose what they wanted over what God commanded.
Evidently the struggle was still around in James’ day because he says, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?” James didn’t call the readers of his letter “adulterous people” because they had been unfaithful in their marriages. They were “adulterous people” because they had been unfaithful to God. They, like us, saw all that the world had to offer and found it more appealing than what God had to offer.
Today, for those who are part of the Body of Christ, the battle is still ongoing. Will we choose to embrace all the world has to offer? Will we seek as our highest goal the “American Dream?” Or will we make our most passionate pursuit the glory of God by living according to His will? It truly is an “Either/Or” proposition. We can’t live for God on Sunday, say “Amen!” to the teachings of the Bible while we sit under the steeple, and then live a life that contradicts everything God stands for throughout the week.
I love the last line of verse 5 because it shows me the deep, deep love God has for me. For the followers of Jesus, the war between living for God or embracing the lifestyle of the world is intense, but there is an even greater intensity and it is the Spirit of God envying, longing for us to live with an undivided heart. Who else would love us with such an everlasting love?
My prayer today, Lord, is that You will strengthen me in the battle so that I might live with an undivided heart. I want to glorify You as I live out this day.