James 4:4,7 4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Can’t we all just get along? NO!
Okay, so I fully realize that the titles of the blogs the last couples days are getting really long. I will work on that. I tell you what, this James guy really tells it like it is, doesn’t he? It’s kind of shocking, really, to grab your morning coffee and sit down for an encouraging time in the word. Then James jumps off the page and smacks you across the face! Maybe Peter will be nicer to us when we start 1 & 2 Peter soon.
So here’s the picture today: you’ve got these two friends. They don’t really like each other. One of them is this straight-laced perfect superhuman. The other is always getting into trouble, always sidetracking you and oddly likes to watch you fail. But you have some sort of relationship attachment to this friend so you keep him around. One day you are all driving in the car together on a road trip. You are on a long stretch of highway and it just seems to keep going and going and going. You are starting to think you are lost so you ask your friends what to do. The nice, perfect, always do everything right friend says, “just keep going straight on the road. We will get there eventually.” The other friend however, disagrees. He wants you to take the next exit. Surely that will be the right way and even if it isn’t there will surely be something fun to do along the way. An argument ensues. Fists are flying and these two friends let each other have it. They actually hate each other! That’s when you chirp in, “can’t we all just get along?”
The answer? NO! This is a picture of what happens when we try to befriend the ways of the world and the ways of God simultaneously. James tells us that friendship with world is hatred towards God. In other words, well I think James put it bluntly enough, so paraphrasing shouldn’t be necessary. But somehow we have decided that in order to remain comfortable, we should try to maintain our friendships with both God’s ways and the world’s ways. Here’s the problem, while it may seem naturally comfortable, it is very spiritually uncomfortable. So what do we do? James tells us to submit to God and resist the devil. I once heard the word “submit” defined as this: to stand under another’s power. Standing under God’s power will give us the strength to resist the enemy and he will flee. In fact, he MUST flee. God cannot and will not “get along” with the devil. That’s a friendship that just can’t happen. So let’s stop trying to make it happen.