James 4:4b "Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."
This is really a sobering verse. Why? Because I think a lot of us are stuck in a desire to be a friend of the world.
What does this mean exactly? The word friendship and friend in this verse comes from the word "philio". Philio is simply a friend, an associate, a companion. The key word here is "wants". This is a deliberate affection, a mindful purpose. If someone has a deliberate affection to be a companion with what Strongs says is "the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ" then that person is God's enemy. This person is hostile to God, opposes God, hates God. Strong stuff. That is why John says: "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, for if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him."
I know that when I was a kid growing up in my GARBC Baptist church, this was preached about all the time. Separation from the world was one of the pillars of this denomination. Unfortunately, it seems that it may have gotten to the point of legalism at times, but nevertheless, their warning was not any stronger than the warning that James and John give. The point is: If you love the world, if you run after the stuff that this world has, if you desire what this world can give and deliberately pursue the goods, pleasures, advantages, power, status…then you are an adulterer…you are an idolator and guess what? You are not a believer. It seems like the world is a strong competitor in our lives and God does not allow any competition. He is God. Nothing can take His place.
So, I have to once again examine myself. What motivates me? What drives me? What do I passionately run after? Is it God centered or is it world centered? That is a test of my relationship with God.
And, I am afraid, that we have many people running around in our churches who say that they are believers, but they really are not. In fact, their consuming desire to have what the world has, to think like the world thinks, to be like the world is, really is evidence that they never knew God to begin with. In fact, they are God's enemies. To think that we have enemies of God in the church is really sobering.
This is a huge warning. It is an urgent message. I am wondering why we don't hear about this anymore?