Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4 ESV) God doesn’t choose to be our enemy. We make the choice ourselves to become an enemy of God when we make a priority of compromising with the world, instead of standing firm for God. Paul tells us in Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. When we do conform and try to play both sides, we alienate God. I’ve heard it said that if you try to walk the middle of the road, you will get run over from both directions.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
2 Corinthians 7:1: …let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. Reaching for what the world has to offer is what contaminates us and prevents holiness, and without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Holiness and contamination are spiritual opposites, and there is no middle ground.
Being tempted is not a sin. “It’s the bite, not the bait,” as the saying goes. If we don’t take the bait, we’re pleasing God. The sin comes in reaching for the world instead of obeying Jesus’ words in Luke 9:23: …Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?
Making ourselves an enemy of God is absolutely the worst thing we can ever do. The warnings against that, and examples of the consequences for making that choice, are all through the Bible.
We purify ourselves by making the hard choices. In Jesus’ words: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14) The choice is between God and His holiness or…being deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures… (Titus 3:3), which are toxic in the end.
There is no middle ground.
© 2018 Darvis McCoy
Picture: Cliff warning at Ephesus, Turkey, taken in 2009
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