Monday, November 22, 2021

Are You Friends with the World?

 Are You Friends with the World?

What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts? You lust and do not have, so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose, “He jealously desires the Spirit whom He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. JAMES 4:1-10 NASB 

Quite often of late, I don't get to read past my Bible reading. God stops me in my tracks and something just sticks out. 

In my inner turmoil of me, on a daily basis I struggle between my wants and desires and that which is set before me to do because God put it there to be done. I have written of our moving and the chief of reasons being 1 Thessalonians 4:3a. 

Yet in me is a back and forth battle over more detailed direction for my life in Christ Jesus. 

Friendship with the world. That's a heavy thought that can go very deep very quickly. 

I have shared of some of the things in my life that I have been shown by God to be identified as idolatry.  Yes, I realize this is a matter of personal conviction. Nevertheless when the Lord Jesus Christ in His having the Prophets write to the people of Israel, He wasn't splitting hairs on specifics. He called it what it was. In the Gospels, Jesus still called it what it was. 

It's easy to be lost in self when immersed in the world.  You forget conviction, you forget the wages of sin. You brush aside the pain and the guilt of it even if but for a moment. 

Then, eventually, reality sets in. Then we inevitably find out that our desires cost us more than the pleasures lasted. 

To be sanctified is to be set apart for God’s purpose, not ours. 

In this move, comes opportunities to start down either the same wrong path or start down the right path.  To begin anew doesn't require moving, you can start it today, where you are. 

I had it reaffirmed that in deciding on what to keep and what to toss, to let go of, that those things were just things.  Holding onto things strictly due to emotional attachment will do you more harm than good.  In a strictly Spiritual sense you can unwittingly create a shrine concerning an event or person.  Granting reverence where none should be. 

We will be in a new home in less than a month.  It's taken years to get to this point. 
We have before us a clean slate. The ability to start over with most areas of our lives. 
Again, in your world, you don't need to be in the midst of moving to experience the same. 

Both of us have our own hobbies and interests. Mine are as multifaceted as my Wife's. 

The question that I have before me is what will become of the blank slate that God's given me?   Is there yet still more of me to let go of?  Am I still embracing too much of this world?
THAT is the question. 

As also previously shared, my letting go of sports, to me, was letting go of idolatry. I was more impassioned and passionate concerning a sports team than I was in my walk with Jesus. 

Scripture says in several places concerning stumbling blocks. Both to be wary of them and to absolutely not be the source of them.

Matthew 18:7 NASB "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to the person through whom the stumbling block comes!"

Romans 14:13 NASB "Therefore let’s not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this: not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s or sister’s way."

I, in my mistake, had been a stumbling block to others. Showing both my embracing of the world and showing where my misguided passion had been. Add to it that I was showing others to do the same.  Read the rest of Romans 14. 

In this new beginning, God started early in getting my mind to slow down and consider the new start. Removing all of my world for a while has caused me to rethink just where I still have been embracing the world. I am not considering a further purge of things, however, I am looking to create right priorities. 

When I get dressed, what I wear, shouldn't reflect the world.  That's what those in the world do.
When I sit in public to eat a meal, I should never forget to give thanks for what has been provided, regardless of the audience. 

In my living out my life, it should be a reflection of Christ, not of me.

In my life at home, it should be in an orderly fashion, should still be God honoring. 
Keep in mind Ephesians 4:27 NASB "and do not give the devil n opportunity."

In your life are you? Have you? Are your reaching for fulfilling your own pleasure and desires causing you to be less than what Jesus wants of you?  Are you becoming so close to the world that you are in danger of offending God? You know that on many occasions that God has had me write of giving an account of our lives before Jesus.  Of the Scriptures revealing that He is able to separate our thoughts and intentions.  Will you, like I am discovering about me, continue to lie to yourself about your thoughts and intentions?

We all like to fit in. We all at some point have caved to that particular pressure. 
Desiring what God wants for you and I isn't the same as receiving or living it out.

Look in a mirror each day this week. Look at what you adorn yourself with. 
Look at what music you listen to. Look at what passions you have and where they are directed.  Look at where you spend your time. Look at what you spend your money on. 

Look, because in this life either you address the things in your life that are not pleasing to God or He will.  Read practically any headline. A life can come crashing down in an instant. 

In a moment your world can turn on its ear. You could find yourself face to face with Jesus that quickly.  Will you be happy to see Him or ashamed because of what you know about you?
Of the life you have lived, of the bad choices you made.  Turning and repenting is a prevalent theme in the Bible. Living right before Christ is a prevalent thought in the Bible. 

Is your life going to be about being right before Christ or right before you?
Your friendship with the world or your friendship with Jesus defines your thoughts and intentions. 

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