James 4:4 “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
The “world” in the Bible refers to the world system that is under the control of the evil one. It’s that modern system of thought that pervades governments, television, the movies, the music industry and other elements of the entertainment world, as well as the news media. It’s that system of thought that is antithetical to the teachings of the Bible but which is “just the way things are” and the accepted way in the world around us. It includes not just the practices but also the attitudes and the thought patterns of the day in which we live. The “world” influences everything around us, both outside and unfortunately, inside the church. It encroaches on us bit by bit, so that things that at one time might have seemed evil and almost universally rejected by society are now commonplace and accepted as ok, if not even virtuous. Yet when held up to the Scriptures, these things, these attitudes, these thought patterns, are clearly contrary to the way God thinks and grievous to Him.
It becomes very clear who our friends are when we speak out against such things or don’t go along with those who do them. The Bible calls this coddling of the world “enmity” which actually means “hatred” of God and adultery against him. The word picture here is someone that may say they love their spouse; one who makes a regular practice of whispering tender, loving thoughts in his or her ear; maybe even someone that often brings flowers and other gifts to their spouse to express their “love,” while on the other hand they secretly are involved in a sexual affair with someone else. This person, no matter what he or she may say, is not loving their spouse; they are hating them.
We are such experts at self-deception. We can be so “religious.” We can go to church, give our offerings, serve others, be kind to others, even visit the sick or do other self-sacrificial things, while we at the same time hold on to some secret sin that we have convinced ourselves “isn’t that bad,” because “everyone is doing it” or we may offer some other excuse. We need to understand that the Bible calls this spiritual adultery and hatred towards God, no matter what we may call it.
May God open our eyes to where our friendships really lie – and if He would call us His friend, or a “friend of the world.”
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