[Doesn’t God want you rich, comfortable, successful AND spiritual?!]
Three questions about living like the world and truly being spiritual- could it be possible to do both?
Q.1 Can a Christian live for here and now but still be spiritual? 4:1-4 [Worship Wars!]
I think God must be yelling at the church “Don’t get distracted church!” All kinds of minutia distracts the Church from becoming the pure spotless Bride of unity, wholeness, and a catalysis for spiritual change in our communities. One of the biggest distractions has been and in some places continues to be “WORSHIP WARS.” Typically this is a growing animosity between those who hold to the great hymns of the faith and those who connect with an expression of worship through popular modern day worship choruses or bands. In fact in some churches this worship war has reached almost a Cain and Abel status. It is both sad and frightening that the first recorded death in scripture happened shortly after the first recorded worship service in the Bible. What you realize though when you study this passage is that it wasn’t really a worship style problem but a heart of worship problem. This is what James confronts in answering the question can a Christian be both spiritual and filled up with the things of the world. IT’S A WORSHIP PROBLEM! Look at the words used to describe the heart- passion, desire, longing to spend it on self – these are worship words. DON’T GET DISTRACTED CHURCH- the real worship war is not in the style of music or songs you choose. The worship war is in what we look to fill us up! Our passion for self comforts, success, wealth and how we try to manipulate others, religious expression and yes even God Himself to make ourselves more comfortable! James bluntly calls us adulterers! Wickedly pretending to be spiritual while we are passionately engaged in lusting for the world! This is the true WORSHIP WAR going on in the heart of the Church.
Q.2 Can a Christian Live in Opposition to God and Still be His Friend? 4:4-6 [A Risky Reality]
Re-read the question… o.k. I admit it the answer is obvious. You can’t be in opposition to someone and still be their friend, can you? James continuing in his hard hitting style simply answers, “No! You can’t be intimately hoping the world fills you up and be in an active friendship with God. No!” We don’t think of all that we risk when we pursue this passion for world. What’s at risk? a) friendship with God- actually James doesn’t equal it to a friendship gone cold but as though we have become an active enemy of God and what He wants to do in our lives. That’s a BIG risk- being God’s enemy for the sake of our world lovin’ passion. b) jealousy of God- in the Old Testament we read that God’s name is Jealous! God disciplines those He is jealous over- those He loves. We risk putting ourselves under the strong arm of God’s jealousy.
c)We risk the daily experience of the grace of God. Of all that we risk this one should cause us to truly be saddened. God gives grace to those who are in humble relationship with Him- a daily grace to endure and grow in everything a day may send our way- a grace found in Christ alone for the friends of God alone.
Did you know the grace of God is for a daily experience in the Christian’s life?
Q.3 Can a Christian Participate in Everyday Grace? ch 4:7-10 [Imperatives of Experience]
In three short verses we are given 10 imperatives! TEN direct commands to protect our friendship with God and to be an active participant in the grace of God in our daily lives. These ten imperatives are a separate study in themselves- which I don’t have room to write, nor you the attention to read, right here. But read them over slowly. Think on each one- YOU can experience this sort of spiritual life because of the grace given to us through the cross of Christ! i.e. You can confidently, boldly resist the devil in your life daily because by the cross of Christ the devil is a defeated foe! You can participate in this grace by resisting the defeated enemy! Go through each one with these glasses and you will discover a deeper appreciation and courage to live in the graces of Christ today!
Live humbly in the grace of Christ today and God’s mighty arm will lift you up, a friend of God.