Saturday, August 18, 2018

August 19, 2018

"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." James 4:4-6

A good friend once challenged me with this question, "If you don't feel close to God, who moved?"

His point was well taken. The truth is I can be as close to God as I want to be. So can you! He longs for intimate fellowship with us.

So, what is it that keeps you from enjoying that close fellowship with God?

Sometimes it is other people.

Here are several examples:

You can allow another person to get between you and God. If you are in a relationship with a nonbeliever that can draw you away from God.

If you over-invest in a relationship where you spend all your time and energy focused on a person that can distract you from God.

You might get wrapped up in your children, running to their activities and events. Before you know it your week-ends are all spent traveling and you neglect the fellowship of your church. Soon you become a stranger with God.

Sometimes it can be other pursuits.

Here are some examples:

You might get preoccupied with a hobby and spend all of your spare time involved in it.

You might get caught up in a sports activity and focus your time and energy bowling or golfing or fishing and not have time for God.

You might get involved in outdoor recreation and spend all your week-ends boating or camping or riding a motorcycle or RV.

After several weeks or months of devoting yourself to these pursuits you suddenly find your heart cold toward God.

Always it is your pride.

All of these things we have mentioned are good and wholesome in themselves. But when you place more importance on them than you do on your relationship with God, they get between you and Him. But when that happens the problem is not them - it is you! You have placed your pleasure, your needs, your enjoyment ahead of God. That is the essence of pride.

James reminds you that God is a jealous God. He demands to be first in your life. If you are going to choose Him and decide to serve Him, He must hold first place in your affections, your thoughts, and your time. He will not occupy second place to your pride, your pursuits or other people.

These verses pronounce some harsh judgments on those whose pride comes between them and God. He calls them "adulterers". Do you want to be an adulterer?

He says God opposes the proud. Do you want to be in opposition to God?

If you are not as close to God as you once where or as close as you want to be - who moved?

Have you allowed something or someone to come between you and God?

If so, how do you think that is going to work out for you?

What are you going to do about it?