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The Tragedy of Divided Allegiance

(James 4:1-10, 13-17)

Lesson 4 -- fourth quarter 2003
September 28, 2003

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications

What constitutes friendship with the world?

Across the vast expanses of time and in multitudes of cultures, God has always called His people to unswerving loyalty. He insists that we come out of and away from ungodliness. He demands our clear-cut separation. He commands us to choose Him or lose His favor. And as He declares in James 4:4, "Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Since "the friendship of the world is enmity with God," we should daily investigate the level and nature of our relationship with the world around us. Just what does constitute friendship with the world?

Values. When my values begin to spring from and mirror those of the world, I have established my friendship with it. The world's values aren't just different from God's, they oppose His. The world values independence; God says we must depend on Him and His people. The world treasures, coddles, and promotes self; God says self must be crucified. The world says we must get ahead in this life; God says we must keep our eyes fixed on our eternal goal. To avoid the world's values we must choose God's values daily. If we isolate ourselves from His values by neglecting the Bible and becoming careless in our fellowship with Him and His people, we will surely embrace the world's values. So let's seek Him early, for then we shall surely find Him!

Attachments. Our attachments spring from our values. If our souls let down our guards, we shall surely become attached to the same things that seize the lives of the unregenerate. Our choice of music, reading, and entertainment reveals whether or not we are the world's friends. If we become fixated with laying up various types of treasures on earth, we cannot lay up treasures in heaven...and neither can we be loyal friends of God. When material things cease to become a means to honor God and promote His kingdom, they have become the leeches that suck the life out of our friendship with God. I believe ungodly attachments tend to ease themselves quietly and unobtrusively into the lives of the believers. So let's ask God to keep us alert and committed.

Of course there exist other elements of friendship with the world. Stay in tune with God for He will always lead all seeking souls to the truth and security found in friendship with Him. Each day reaffirm your choice of God and His friendship. Then the deceptive friendship of the world will have less draw on you.

Can I know if I'm humble?

"If you think you are humble, then you can be sure you aren't." Really? I cannot accept that God would give us a command without also making it possible for us to knowingly obey it. Just as I know when I have put on my clothes, so I will know when I am "clothed with humility" (1 Peter 5:5). One of the evidences of that spiritual clothing known as humility is full-hearted submission to God: "God...giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God" (James 4:6,7). If I can see the evidence, how shall I ignore the reality? In other words, when I can see my submission, I shall see my humility also.

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