by David Brenneman
"How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart." Psalms 119:2 NASB
"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
"for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21 NASB
Is your life full of things and people that you've convinced yourself are what's best for you?
An interesting question.
Are you friends with the world? That part of James stood out this morning. Some argue that they have thousands of friends on social media. But how many truly known them?
What also stood out was how the rest of the Triune God desires for the completion of all things so that we are all together again. The Spirit is at work in this world and yet is in Heaven as well. When Christ returns all who have the Spirit will leave and the Spirit will step aside as the restraining One in world affairs. Judgment will come because He will no longer stand in the way of it.
We can look at our social status we can look at an address book, we can look at our list of who's getting a Christmas card this year...when we do...do we think of where those people are headed? If they are saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ we know they will go to their home in Heaven. We also ought not forget that those who are not, will not, see Heaven.
We often gather with people to forget about life. We are intentionally doing activities to not dwell on the seriousness of life.
But life is serious when all that is done. It may have been delayed but it's still there.
Some never make it home from some fun gathering, never considering their eternal future.
Friendship with the world. You read in the prophecies of the Old Testament and you see the honest heartbreak of the Lord Jesus Christ at the depths of friendship that Israel and Judah had with the world.
Lamentations...a book of lamenting...of mourning and sadness.
We read over and over how the Lord takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He takes no pleasure in the death of sinners. He certainly didn't leave perfection in Heaven, live a sinless life, die as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity because it was the fun thing to do. He didn't come to be entertained by the Jewish Leaders.
He didn't come for the dinners. He came to save lives.
We really don't consider most of our life choices as being that bad. But...if we honestly looked at them as God sees them, would we have made those choices?
Would we be those, should Jesus physically be here preaching today, that He would be directing His Words towards?
Read your Bible...He IS here today, He IS speaking today...question is: Are we listening?
Are we indeed doing what we read in James? Spending on our pleasures rather than on what God intended us to be doing with what we've been given?
I have been trying to be intentional about this that I have often referred to as a second chance in my life. Truth be known, God alone knows, it could be my thousandth chance. It just took this long to be applied.
I have often thought about getting this or that "just because". It wouldn't be something that I NEED, it wouldn't help me in my walk with Jesus. In this time in my life it's becoming a more easily given "no".
Being commissioned by Jesus...as all who are in Christ are...we have a mission and a purpose in life and as in Christ's example in living His life...it's not us.
We aren't to give our heart and soul and mind to the corporate world.
We aren't to give our hearts to anything in this world.
We aren't to be, honestly, promoting things of this world but rather to be pointing people to Jesus.
Jesus said the world wouldn't like us for it. They hated Him so they're not going to be too happy with us for doing what we've been charged with doing in Christ Jesus.
Are the lines between you and the world blurred?
Is there no clear distinction between you and the world?
This is a huge indicator of where our hearts are. "Love not the world nor the things of this world".
Rather read it all: "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world." 1 John 2:15-17 NASB.
When I stand before Jesus in giving an account of my life, my hope is that it will show that Christ was active and alive in me.
I don't want to be nor do I want any who read this or anyone that I know to ever hear: Depart from Me for I never knew you.
For Jesus to say those words means they were no friends of His.
Are you so focused on things in life, in prosperity, in your little slice of Heaven that you're ineffective in your life in Christ?
We who are in Christ have an irrevocable calling in Christ Jesus according to what Paul was directed to write in Romans.
We cannot replace it because of how people treated us.
We cannot fulfill something else rather than it because of how mean people are.
We were told in advance that people would be how they are. We cannot even use being surprised as an excuse. We cannot use the painful emotions as an excuse because we read that Jesus endured that as well.
We are to be in the world yet not of this world. Our citizenship is in Heaven with Jesus.
Look at what you've grown accustomed to in your life and see if it needs to go. We were challenged many months ago to look at our time. I struggle still with effective use of it. But I am pushing to replace wasted time with profitable time with Jesus. I don't want to look back over my life and see a close relationship with the world. Do you?
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