World or God?

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.
(James 4:4)

Those are tough words. But they’re true.

Which side are you on? Look at your actions the past 24 hours. Do they show more friendship with the world or with God?

When Satan was tempting Jesus in the desert, he took him to a mountain and showed him “all the kingdoms of the world in their splendor.” Then Satan said:

All this I will give you,
if you will bow down and worship me.
(Matthew 4:9)

Jesus’ response?

Away from me, Satan!
For it is written:
“Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
(Matthew 4:10)

Satan’s response? He boogied. (Matthew 4:11)

James picks up on this theme. Immediately after the “friendship” warning above, he says this:

Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you . . .
Humble yourselves before the Lord,
and he will lift you up.
(James 4:7-8a, 10)

Choose your friends wisely. Choose the world and it’ll drag you down. Choose God and he’ll lift you up.

CHOOSE GOD

Proverb of the Week

Here’s this week’s Proverb . . .

As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.
(Proverbs 27:17)

God designed us for relationships. People need people.

But let’s be honest. Sometimes people can be a pain. They can rub us the wrong way. Sparks can fly.

Sometimes we just want to be alone. And on those all-too-rare occasions when we step away from the computer, turn off the TV and unplug the iPod, we often seek out people who will flatter us or agree 100% with everything we say.

Stay sharp. Surround yourself with people who will challenge you and tell you the truth. And then do the same for them. In a world full of deception, sometimes that’s exactly what we need.

SHARPEN YOURSELF AND OTHERS

Get Together

For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them. Matthew 18:20

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

When I look back over my life, most of the stupid stuff I did happened when I was alone. God knows that we’re weakest when we’re by ourselves — that’s why he designed other human beings.

Consider the Trinity for a moment. It’s a beautiful picture of how relationships are supposed to be. Father, Son and Holy Spirit — three people who live in such tight, loving community that they’re truly one.

It’s a love party. God loves to hang out with us. And God loves it when we hang out with others. Our relationships should reflect the love and unity that’s in the Trinity.

Here’s a dumb but relatively meaningful example from my own life. A few years ago, I would have wasted the next half hour watching SportsCenter by myself. Instead, I’m getting together with a group of guys to help comfort a friend whose brother just passed away. God will be there with us.

HANG OUT WITH GOD AND OTHERS