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

Tempted?

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)

No temptation has seized you except that which is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The world is full of things that tempt us to take a step off God’s narrow path. Just turn on the TV for five minutes. We’re constantly bombarded with messages promoting a 100% self-centered and 0% God-centered approach to life. Pleasure. Riches. Beauty. Stuff. Lust. God is rarely mentioned and when He is, it’s usually as a profanity.

Don’t buy it. Anything that leads you away from God is a step in the wrong direction.

Everyone faces temptations in life. Even Jesus did. For forty days he went one-on-one with Satan in the desert, facing temptation after temptation. But Jesus never gave in. God gave Him a way out and He promises to do the same for you and me.

So, what’s the escape route? God’s narrow path. He lights the way with His word through the power of the Holy Spirit. Whenever you’re feeling tempted to stray, pray. There’s absolutely nothing in this world that you and God together can’t handle. He’ll always point you in the right direction.

GOD WILL SHOW THE WAY