Be Slow to Anger – Part Two
Life Lessons from Hard Times – Studies in James
Much of life is, by necessity, compromise, finding the middle ground, seeing mediated solutions, and understanding value to multiple perspectives. But not so with spiritual allegiances – in that world, there is no compromise, no fence sitting.
James 4:4-6 4You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
1. Friendship with the world is transparent infidelity to God. In this early church there are example of crass materialism, boasting about business ventures 4:13-16. James’ earlier warning was “keeping oneself unspotted by the world” 1:27. The rich and wealthy in the church were being favored and deferred to. James has already called this out as “evil thoughts.”
2. Fence Sitting – Choose your path carefully. In this section, friendship with the world means choosing and following values that are evil, that are selfish, that are from Satan. Just as no one can serve two masters. Either you will have the one or love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matt 6:24. Choosing the world’s values makes us an enemy of God. Flat out, in stark terms, no mincing of words.
3. Good News – Grace available on request! God is our advocate, the Spirit is our unction and urging as He lives in us, and God gives grace to the humble in this battle for our minds and allegiances. The Spirit jealously desires for us to do well! In the battle for our minds and values around us, God meets our humble requests and needs with grace. Grace to persevere, to do well, to grow and mature in faith and our Christian walk. This is an amazing section of Scripture full of warnings and encouragements. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t fence sit with the world and with God. We can have money as our God and Jesus as our Lord. It is spiritual oil and water. But the good news is still God’s grace is available. And the promises are secure:
James 1:5 5If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
– John Moore