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James 4:4: You Adulterous People! Do You Not Know That Friendship With The World Is Enmity With God?

James 4:4
[4] 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. (ESV)

Perhaps you have heard someone say, "Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship." There is some great truth to that. In fact, in support of such a claim, James goes so far as to use the imagery of adultery to describe someone who is not walking in ways that are pleasing to God. The relationship has gone sour because someone is cheating. And for the record, it is not God who cheats.

In a marriage relationship each person is supposed to love and loyalty to the other while despising all others. The same is true in our relationship with God. We are to despise all others who would try to pull our attention away from our Lord. What would pull us away? James tells us in this verse it is "the world" that attempts to be our mistress.

The world is a system, not a person. Scripture tells us that the world is under the power of Satan himself. This system is one that is fueled by a passion for selfish pleasure. Whether it is power, fame, material possessions, or lust the world entices us to pursue all the things which are contrary to what God offers to us.

Friendship with the world is enmity (hatred) with God. That is a strong statement. James is not saying that we should not have any friends who are in the world. That would be contrary to our mission of rescuing people from the world. While we love people trapped in the world's system, we must not fall for the temptation of loving what the world has to offer.

Are you having an affair with the world? What is it that you are pursuing in your daily life? Lust? Fame? Material possessions? Power? Let those things go and be faithful to the Lord.