“…don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
In today’s verse, James writes “that friendship with the world means enmity against God;” it’s strong language. “Enmity” means to have a deep-seated hatred, an open and active hostility. When he says “world” he’s referring to the world system or the culture of the world. He’s writing to Christians, admonishing them against being consumed by the culture in which they live.
As I was contemplating the meaning of this verse, I realized that just as friendship with the world means enmity with God, so friendship with God means enmity with the world. When we place our faith in God, He invites us into a friendship relationship with Him. Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15).
In that same passage Jesus goes on to say, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (vs. 18-19). And Paul tells Timothy, “…everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
You cannot embrace both God’s ways and the ways of the world; they exist in irreconcilable conflict with each other. If, as a follower of Christ, you find that the world loves you and you are never in conflict with the culture around you, maybe it’s time to take inventory of where your friendship lies: is it with God or is it with the world?
Question: Does the world love you, or does your faith put you in conflict with the culture?
Challenge: Ask the Lord to help you respond in love when your friendship with God inspires the enmity of the world.
Prayer: Lord, help us to pursue friendship with you despite the cost.
Dan Kinnaman -- Coordinator, MLB Draft League