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Friday, January 25, 2013

Friendship with the World

James 4:1-5 (ESV)
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 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”? 

Somehow many believers do not realize when they are acting as if they have never met Christ. They fight and are filled with the same passions that the non-believer has but do not recognize it in themselves. James calls them adulterous. They have committed themselves to God but are playing around with the devil.

I have always wondered why a prayer meeting is the hardest thing to get people to attend. Why would anyone want to attend something that yielded nothing? This is exactly the sentiment of those who are worldly. They have said prayers but they have not received so they cannot see the power of prayer. It becomes something to begin and end meetings with. 

Friendship with the world seems so benign but James makes it equivalent to becoming God's enemy. It is clear that friendship with the world is opposed to the will of God for our lives. It leads us to expressing what we want rather than what God wants. It changes our prayer lives. I changes the desires for our future. It changes our focus. It takes God from the central part of our lives and places Him in His own little corner. Thus, we can tip our hats to Him when we must but still do as we please.

Friendship with the world seems benign because it is so natural. We all live in the world. It makes sense to make our homes here and work hard to make our lives as comfortable as possible in this world. It is so natural that we might fail to realize that we have made friends with the world.

There is no true communication between those who are friends with the world and the Spirit. God jealously desires this communion of communication. He wants us to know Him in such a way that we can tell when we have wandered from Him. He wants us to desire Him. He has placed our spirits within us for this very purpose. This is why people know there is something missing in their lives but may not know what it is. 

Friendship with the world seems benign because it is necessary to feed yourself and even allow your self entertainment or even have ambitions in your job. These things are not wrong in themselves but they are always near to becoming friends with the world. Too many church dinners have resulted in gluttony. The desire of the flesh overwhelmed the desire of the Spirit. Too many times righteous indignation has turned into unrighteous revenge. It takes more than simply starting with the Spirit. 

Some of this makes me fearful. How many times have I become the friend of the world and never noticed it? How many times did I step over the line between something that the Spirit endorsed to something the Spirit deplored?

I better make sure I am listening to the Spirit.


Deb Willbefree said...

This post sounds like you and Andrew Murray are good friends. :)

Deb said...

"I better make sure I am listening to the Spirit.", this is the last line of your entry; interestingly enough, I have finished preparing the message for my coming marketplace Divine Healing Meeting, and I concluded the same. The message is on "true peace and joy - the reward of pleasing God".

We all want peace and joy, and it can be had as a reward from pleasing God. Knowing this, that peace and joy can come as a reward from pleasing God, is not of much use for people, if they do not know how God can be pleased.  The Holy Spirit is the key.  Scripture said that the Holy Spirit is the one who knows the mind of God. We can please God by doing that which is on God's mind, and we can do that when we listen to the Holy Spirit, for He is the one knowing God's mind.

Yes, in that chapter 4 there, the Apostle James said friendship with the world is enmity with God.  The Apostle John also did not fail to warn the same (1 John 2:15-17):

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Loving the world is a betrayal of our pledge of love for God.  If we love God, and we have to love God, we are to obey His commands or do His will. It is the way of the kingdom of God; it is His prescription for us - John 14:15 those who love me (God), obey my commands; and John 14:21a, those who obey my commands are the ones who love me (God). If we love God, we are to obey; we are to please Him; we are to do His will.  God has a Kingdom for us, and we are to live according to the ways, God prescribed for that Kingdom.  If we are loving God, we live out that Kingdom life.  Satan has his ways in the world; he perpetuates his ways in the the world.  Loving the world is loving Satan, and therefore, a betrayal of our love for God, and it is NOT wrong for the Apostle James to label those who have pledged love to God (us, believers) and yet still love the world, adulterous.

We, believers, were once of the world, and we are still in the world, although we no longer are of it.  That is reason it feels so natural to flow with the ways of the world.  I tell believers that we are supernatural when we live out the ways of the Kingdom of God, in this world; it is not just performing miracles that is supernatural.

Yes, the Apostle Paul described our situation as a "tug of war".  Paul called for us to listen to the Holy Spirit indwelling us, instead of doing as before, listen to the voice of the carnal flesh  (Iniquity Satan infested all men, from the Fall, is still there, in the flesh, even in believers), Scripture said to resist the devil and he will flee; well, this is also meaning, we are to resist his ways, he perpetuated in the world.  In Scripture, the ways of the world is equated to the ways of Satan.

Hunger for the Word, get to know your God, and His ways, even as we want to listen to the Holy Spirit. Scripture said the Holy Spirit does not contradict the Word.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions