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. (James 4:4, ESV)

Observation: James is famous for his comparison and contrast of faith and works.  He says “faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26) Ouch! He also reminds us that we are to be “do-ers” of the Word (James 1:22).  We are not just to hear the Word and then ignore it.  No, the Word should both affect and infect the way that we do life!  Everything from what we ask God for (chapter 1), to the way we treat others (chapter 2), to the way we speak (chapter 3) is to be guided by the Word of God.  In chapter 4, James adds to the list even those things that we desire.  He points out to us that we often ask God for things that we only want for selfish reasons.  In fact, we do this because we are too tightly bound to this world.  Indeed, we are friends with the world! However, our friendship with the world comes at a cost; it pulls us away from God.  James encourages us to change our affinity and allegiance, and instead “Draw near to God” (James 4:8)

Application:  Drawing near to God comes with a cost – we have to let go of the world and the world’s way of doing things.  We no longer mourn the way the world does. Instead, we have hope even in death.  Likewise, we mourn at what the world rejoices over (James 4:9).  The world finds joy in flagrant disregard for God and His Word.  This, however, causes us to mourn and weep.  James is truly calling us to pick a side. Either we go after the things of this world – which are here today and gone tomorrow (James 4:14), or we seek God – who provides life, salvation and hope!  Drawing near to God comes with a cost, but it also comes with a promise.  If we draw near to God, we are promised that he will draw near to us!  When we loosen our grip on the world (and therefore its grip on us!) we are able to cling more tightly to God.  The less we are friends with the world, the more we are friends with God.  Which is better to be?

Prayer:  Lord, help me to withdraw from this world – not from the people in the world or the needs of the world, but from the pull and lure of this world.  May I set my sights on that which you value and draw nearer to you in my daily walk.  May I be as good of a friend to You as You are to me!  Amen.