You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4, verse 4.
Hard words for hard people in hard times. The people who choose money, a nice home, and a good job may be enemies of God. The sweet suburban mother who adores her children and thinks they are the single most important thing in the world may be an enemy of God. The life-long church worker who makes sure things are ‘just so’ every Sunday morning so that the service goes off well may be an enemy of God. The Pope, the pastor, the parent, the person you meet on the street: all may be enemies of God.
“May” because it’s a matter of choice. Choosing the world makes us enemies of God because we’re choosing the creation over its Creator. We’ve heard the old maxim about how the road to hell is paved with good intentions. If you think about it, that’s just another way of saying what James is saying. I may have the best of intentions in doing what I do, but the moment I put what I do – or what I want – in front of my faith in Jesus, then I’ve set myself against Jesus. He isn’t my enemy; He never is. No, I make myself His enemy.
Do you really want to be the enemy of the person who created the entire universe simply by speaking?
To hammer home his point, James goes further. He calls us adulterous. Unfaithful, untrustworthy, deceitful, lusting, seductive, lying: all that and so much more is involved in being an adulterer. That’s me. That’s you. When we choose the feeling of Christmas over the reason for Christmas, we’re adulterers. When we choose the person over the vow to God, we’re adulterers. When we lie to someone to avoid hurting their feelings, we’re adulterers. Do I need to go on?
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being called an idolater and an adulterer. I don’t want to be an enemy of God. The God of justice is the same God of unending love. His justice protects that perfect love. I’m weary of being set against Him, His dreadful justice, and His love for me. You and me, we are in the world but we don’t have to be the world. We can live our lives as part of Heaven and all that God intends for us in His plan. That plan doesn’t involve adultery, or idolatry, or being separated from Him. There is a better way and Jesus’ arms are open.
What are you prepared to do about that?
Lord, I’m sorry for how I’ve chosen the world over You. Forgive me and renew me, and teach me again today how to be faithful to You in all things.
How have you been unfaithful?
Do you consider yourself an adulterer?
What are you prepared to do to change?