James 4:4 (NLT)
You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
The puritan Thomas Manton put it bluntly when he said, “Worldliness in Christians is spiritual adultery.” As a Christian, you are married to Christ… so when you go to another to find satisfaction, you are committing adultery. Even more so, you place yourself into a terrifying category: an enemy of God.
The main question, then, is what does “friendship with the world” look like? We obviously have to live in the world. Most of us have to work, earn money, pay bills and interact with the secular on a daily basis. The key to this verse is the word “friend,” which means a person one knows, likes and trusts. Are you well acquainted with the ways of the world? Do you like what the world has to offer you? Do you trust the world to satisfy your needs and desires?
The great J.I. Packer said it well and painfully:
“Being of the world means being controlled by what preoccupies the world, the quest for pleasure, profit and position... Those who love the world serve and worship themselves every moment: it is their full-time job. Worldliness means yielding to the spirit that animates fallen mankind, the spirit of self-seeking and self-indulgence without regard for God.”
If God were to call you by name today, would it be “good and faithful servant” or “adulterer?” In which Kingdom have you planted your flag? Who has captured your heart?
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