whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. – James 4:4
Scripture reading: 1 Peter 1:1-2
As Christians, we still deal with the fact that we are sinners and so quarrels and fights among us happen. James tells us that they happen because our passions are at war within us. We too easily fall into concentrating on our wants and our pleasures rather than serving Christ and His kingdom.
In times of war, when soldiers are fighting the enemy and protecting their country, their personal wants and pleasures are seen as less important. When we are on a mission to honour Christ’s name and to promote His kingdom, our personal wants and pleasures will be less important and thus quarrelling and fighting will be minimized in our churches.
In our world today, where personal pleasures and wants are emphasized, James is telling us to swim against the culture; otherwise, murderous thoughts, words, and quarrels will happen because we won’t get what we want.
When our prayers are based on our wants and pleasures and not on the honour of God’s name and His Kingdom to come, we might say we love God but in reality, we really love the things of this world more. When the things of this world become our dearest things, we will try to use God to get what we want. When we do this, James says we make ourselves out to be an enemy of God. James is warning us not to be sucked into friendship with the world, desiring what the world offers, and so forsake our first love and greatest treasure: God our Saviour and Lord.
Suggestions for prayer
That our wants and desires would be for God’s honor, His Kingdom and doing His will and not on the things and pleasures of this world.
Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.