Friendship With the World
By Rick Renner
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God…?
— James 4:4
As we saw yesterday, James began James 4:4 by calling his readers “adulterers” and “adulteresses” — which is strong language to use when addressing believers! James obviously wanted to get their attention. In some way, they had violated their relationship with Christ. They had been unfaithful; they had crossed the line and given a part of their hearts and souls to the world around them. By calling them “adulterers” and “adulteresses,” James was saying that whatever they were doing was the equivalent of spiritual adultery.
James probingly asked his readers, “…Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God…?” The word “know” is oida. It refers to firsthand knowledge that these believers should have already possessed. In this case, it means, “Don’t you know?” “Don’t you understand?” “Haven’t you grasped by now?” Then he continued, “…Know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God…?”
The word “friendship” is the word philia, a noun taken from the word phileo. The word phileo describes affection, attachment, devotion, endearment, or familiarity. It can be used to portray the intense sentiment between two or more people. It was most often used to denote a relationship that was dear, precious, and valuable. In fact, it carried such a feeling of endearing affection that the word philema comes from it, which is the Greek word meaning to kiss. There is no doubt Paul meant that these believers’ tie to the world had never been fully severed. In some manner they were still being attracted to the world — to such an extent that its influence was encroaching on their relationship with the Lord.
Worldliness is a serious thing with the Lord, and it tries to wrap its arms around all of us. If we begin edging in on worldliness with the way we live our lives, the Holy Spirit will warn us to break that wrong relationship with the world and return to Him.
If you want to have a quick wakeup call, just take a little time to think of the things you tolerate in your life today that you would never have tolerated ten years ago. For example, do you watch movies today that you would have considered a sin ten years ago? Are
you more permissive in your thinking about sin now than you used to be? Are there any areas of your life where you used to be more on fire and less compromising than you are right now? Do you pray and witness as you much as you once did? You may as well be honest with God because He knows your real spiritual condition anyway.
You can’t bluff God by making up excuses. At least when you’re honest with God, you put yourself in a position where He can deal with your heart. Once you’re being truthful with yourself and with Him, you can begin to repent and return to being on fire for Him the way He desires you to be.
We could all admit worldliness in some area of our lives, but if we don’t deal with the areas as the Holy Spirit leads us, over time we will become more conformed to the world than to Jesus Christ. Being a friend of the world doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. It’s a very slow, seductive, and methodical process as our thinking, behavior, and outlook on life grows to look more and more similar to the world than to that of Jesus.
The Bible says that a Christian who is entangled with the world is at “enmity” with God. The word translated “enmity” is the Greek word echthra, meaning hostility or enmity. Allowing the world to encroach on your relationship with God is a very serious thing in His view. The word “enmity” tells us that this is very serious!
Today I want to ask you: Are you on fire for Jesus as you once were? Or have the things of the world slowly begun to douse the flames that once burned so brightly for the Lord? Are you free of the world, or has its attraction lured and seduced you from Christ? Would Jesus say that you are completely committed to Him, or would He say you are sharing His rightful place with other things? Who or what is the central focus of your life? If you consider yourself to be a serious Chris- tian, these are very important questions for you to answer today!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I want to burn brightly and live on fire for You. I ask You to search my heart. If worldliness has found a place in my heart and soul, today I repent of it. I turn toward You to walk in holiness and sanctification unto You. I can see how worldliness can slowly creep up on me, and I ask You to forgive me for allowing the lure of the world to affect me. It wasn’t intentional. I repent for allowing myself to become distracted and for not keeping first things first. I got busy and involved, and before I knew it, I had sunk to a spiritual low that I detest. I ask You to refire me and help me return to my first love and to keep You in that position for the rest of my life.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare by faith that I am on fire and burning brightly for the Lord. I live in the world, but I am not a part of it. It has no lure on my heart and soul. Every day I am growing more passionate to know Christ practically, through experience for myself, and to become more fully committed to Him. Jesus Christ is the Object of my heart’s desire — and I refuse to ever live the kind of life that would make Him want to say I am guilty of spiritual adultery.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Are you burning as brightly as you once burned for the Lord? If not, what happened to cause you to lose the fire that once burned so brilliantly in your heart?
- In order for you to return to that place of spiritual fire and passion for Christ, what do you need to change or sever from your life? The Holy Spirit has already been speaking to you about it, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to answer this question. So what do you need to change?
- If you were asked to describe a worldly Christian, how would you do it?