James 4:4 (CSB) says: “Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?”
Let’s think about that much-neglected passage for a moment.
First, “friendship with the world” means just thoughtlessly approving and going along with the values of the society around us.
Second, James teaches that when we do that, we are being hostile toward God.
In other words, when we just simply agree with the values of our society we might be demonstrating hostility toward God and what he teaches.
I say “might” because there are of course some areas of positive overlap—values that are deemed to be good by both our society and by God. For example, being kind to others and respecting the environment are good all around.
But what James means is that we shouldn’t just uncritically bow to societal pressure about what is right or wrong. In particular, he’s arguing that we shouldn’t take a highly individualistic and me-first approach to life; that would sideline God’s role in our lives. That’s a faulty outlook which contaminates how we approach things.
So instead of just drinking the cultural Kool-Aid about what is right and wrong, and about what our priorities should be, we should ensure our perspective, morals, and decisions are consistent with biblical teachings.
Be diligent. Be loving to our world and the people around us. And be faithful to God first.
“Don’t you know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?”
By Matthew Ruttan
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