TODAY'S SPECIAL: James 3:13-4:10
TO CHEW ON: "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you now know that friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." James 4:4
These are stern words for us who, as Christians, may already feel sidelined and snubbed by our culture. But, according to James, this is how it's meant to be.
A sidebar article in my Bible comments on the "world" and what our relationship with it should be:
"The spirit of the world (Greek: aion) is one of the perennial enemies of the believer. "World" refers to the world system—to its values, mind-set, philosophies of life, and priorities that run contrary to the will and way of God. … Romans 12:2 provides a strategy to combat the pull of the world through the renewal or 'reprogramming' of our minds. The Holy Spirit's power can transform our minds (Philippians 2:5,13; Titus 3:5) and redirect us toward the things of God (Philippians 4:8)" - Kenneth C. Ulmer, "Growth Inhibitor," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1756 (emphasis added).
Romans 12:2 says;
"And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Jack Hayford's sidebar article "Renewal of the mind" fleshes out the concept:
"To 'renew' is 'to renovate' implying restoration to freshness or to an original state. … Being 'transformed' by the renewal of the mind indicates a literal 'change in the form or formulas of thought or being.' This describes redemption's provision of power to instil godliness in us—a power that transforms
1) our thoughts, which lead to formulating
2) our purposes, which proceed to dictate our actions; and thus
3) our actions become character-determining habits, shaping the life and setting the course for the future" - Jack Hayford, "Renewal of the Mind," New Spirit-Filled life Bible, p. 1569 (emphasis added; formatting changed a bit from the original).
Nurturing a friendship with God or the world starts out as such a small, private matter. Our thoughts are invisible and silent to all but ourselves and God. However these thoughts—these inhabitants of our minds—eventually set the course of our lives.
I ask myself, am I allowing God access to my thoughts, through His word, godly speakers, uplifting music? Or have I invited enemy-of-God stuff into my mind through what I look at, read, listen to? Do I understand the gravity of this and how it can jeopardize my friendship with Him and the renovating work He wants to do in my mind and thus my life?
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to understand how crucial my mind and thoughts are to my friendship with You and the direction of my life. Amen.
New King James Version (NKJV) Used with permission. The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.