“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
James 4:1-4 NKJV
Enemy of God
I don’t miss the old Bernie. There was a time when I battled between life in the world and life in Christ. I was a new believer, but I had not let go of the values of the old man. I was like one with two personalities, the man seeking after God, and one seeking the pleasures of the flesh. A friend of mine told me how she was convicted about looking for “loopholes” in her spiritual life. I was definitely looking for loopholes. I got as close to the edge of sin as I could go.
I can say, as I look back, that this was a very painful time. I was at odds with myself. The struggles that I had, can also be extrapolated to illustrate the struggles in the Church. The passage in James, reminds me of the reality that we are living in at this time when there are forces seeking to define what it is to be a Christian. There are many churches that are seeking to be relevant, to fit a niche where they can draw people to attend and fill the pews.
Many have done this by seeking to remove the things that appear offensive to people in the world. The bible is preached little, sin is not even spoke of, and there appears to be desire to applaud the unmentionable and affirm gross sin. Meanwhile, the Gospel is not being preached, sins not forgiven, and people are going to hell. Those in this movement seek to make their definition of what christianity is the norm, and go about attacking others, who adhere to the teachings of the Scriptures.
The battle has left the inner courts of the sanctuary and entered the political sphere, as people seek to project their beliefs onto the greater world. As a result the world has more influence on people professing Christ than the word of God, as people seek political power and worldy affirmation. The world has become the influencer, and is projecting its values on the Church. As a result, many are seeking friendship with the world and finding emnity with God. Choices are being made.
I choose to follow Jesus.
Deciding to follow the Lord has marginalized me in many sectors of my life. In the past have been labeled a zealot, out of balance, and a wide variety of other names, some of them very offensive. It is a price I am more than willing to pay, as some day, and I think soon, I will stand before the Lord Jesus to give an account of all that I have done. My status in the world will not be a factor.
Believers, seek the Lord today. Seek to live according to His values, as if He is the only one you need to please. In reality, He is the only one that we need to please. Avoid the tempation of seeking affirmation by the world. Avoid also the temptation to project your views onto the unbelieving world. It is better to lead people to Jesus and change them from within than to seek to force them via laws and legistlation.
Seek the cross. Live by the Scriptures, preach the Gospel, be guided by the Holy Spirit. Be the peculiar people that the Lord has set aside for Himself. We are in perilous times, and many things will happen in the coming weeks that will make life more perilous still. Our world needs truth. Sinners need salvation. Time is short. We are at the critical time when people will need to say they are friends or foes of the Lord.
Be warned! Being a Christ follower will make a target for those who hate God, and a target for those who worship the God of politics. Standing for the Lord, means standing in the gap, praying steadfastly for everyone. You are on the side of God.
A greater warning: Do not be an enemy of God.
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