4 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.5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? - James 4:4-5
God created us to live in the world - the problem is we often get caught up in the world. We battle our flesh and desires on a daily basis, and so we are tempted by the things of this world. We are tempted to seek after all sorts of things - material possessions, reputation, accomplishments, relationships. And when we are tempted, our hearts begin to go after those things - we make friends with the world. We start following the world’s rules and believing the world’s lies all so we can have those things our heart desires. We become a friend of the world. We want material possessions, so we hang on to our money over giving to God what is due to Him. We worry about what people think about us, so we begin to make decisions based on popular opinion. We desire to be recognized for our accomplishments, so we pour our energy into our education or our career. Our desire to be loved and in relationship with others become so important that we give ourselves away.
Going after the things in this world means compromising our love of God in favor of those things. Our desires, fueled by our love of this world, demand our attention, our time, and our devotion. This creates a friendship with the world, and a hostility toward God. As we give in to the things of this world, we separate ourselves from Him.
We are told from the very beginning of scripture that we shall have no other God’s before Him. When we make the things of this world a priority over Him, we are committing grave sin. Yet, we often don’t see our friendship with the world in our excuses to place other things over Him. I have such a busy schedule, so it’s so hard to find time with Him every day. It’s hard for me to get out of work to make it to small group. The weekend is my only time with my family so sometimes I have to miss church. I can’t memorize scripture - my brain just doesn’t work like that. I’ve got so much going on right now, I just don’t have the energy or time to go, read, journal, pray...
Excuses the world tempts is into believing are reasons to place something else in our lives on the throne, and kick Jesus off. Excuses that put a roadblock into our path, excuses that out our prayers on mute. Then we wonder why we are struggling, why God feels so distant, why our prayers are not being heard. Friendship with the world is hostility toward God.
He created us to love Him, to prioritize Him over every other thing we’ve got going on in our lives. He made the Spirit that dwells within us, and He is jealous for it. He created our hearts to worship, or adore. The intention was to worship and adore Him, but the world draws our adoration to the tangible things in front of us far too often.
When we allow anything to accumulate on the table of our heart and mind, occupying our time and attention in a worshipful way—that’s a problem. But sweeping all of those things off the table so only God remains as the object of our worship aligns with our ultimate reality. We are to live for Him, breathing for Him, and spending our lives for Him. God in the center of our attention is the essence of worship.
Our God is a jealous God. Jealousy typically has a very negative connotation on this world, and often describes someone who has a controlling or a demanding kind of love. But God’s jealousy for us is far from controlling. He created us, and He rescued us to know and enjoy Him forever. He desires to have an exclusive relationship with us. He loves us as a parent loves their child, and He wants what is best for us. His jealousy is not like our self-centered love that drives us to behave in a controlling or demanding way, placing our own needs first. No, His jealousy is for our benefit. His desire for us is an expression of His protective zeal for our hearts.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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