Friendship is such a great thing! We all like to be liked and one of life’s greatest blessings is being able to spend time with those whom we can rightly call friends. After all, no man is an island! It simply is the way we are made.
According to the saying, ‘Friends are the family one chooses’. True or not, it elucidates the fact that friendship is something we choose, for it doesn’t land on us outside of our own wills. God likes it when we choose. He’s not in favour of ‘sitting-on-the fence’ or ‘having one-foot-in-both-camps’. But He does put out a fairly serious warning against choosing the wrong side. We are not to be friends with the world!
What does this mean? Does it mean that we can’t befriend unbelievers? Does it mean we aren’t allowed to enjoy the good things of life, like spending time relaxing, watching a movie, playing a game or even having a glass of wine? I don’t believe it means any of those things – that’s not the kind of life Jesus modelled to us. He obviously enjoyed God’s good gifts with thanksgiving and He definitely spent time with those who didn’t know God (Luke 7:34). ‘Friendship with the world’ is something that runs much deeper than that.
In the passage in James friendship with the world is put in the context of greed and lust: selfish pleasures. It illustrates that it’s the self-indulgent ‘ways of the world’ which God hates. We can’t love those evil ways and pursue His friendship at the same time. If we’re to be God’s friends we must hate that which He hates, and love that which He loves. So away with these wicked things! Yes, it’s true, when we leave behind the ways of the world we might lose a few friends, and we might ‘miss out’ on the things the world is currently indulging itself in. But we gain friendship with God! Isn’t that something that far outweighs the benefits of being friends with the ways of the world?
Having the Almighty Creator and Redeemer as our Friend is a privilege that can’t in anyway be overstated. It literally is the best thing ever! Do we really appreciate that? Are we living our lives accordingly? When God’s our Friend we’re safe in His protection, secure in His provision and embraced in His care. He’s a Friend who is faithful, who won’t let us down and who freely gives us all benefits of being ‘connected’ with Him. Did I already mention that this friend is also Almighty?
Therefore, when we take stock of our lives, and consider who we would like to be befriended to (the world or God), let’s remember we can’t have it both ways. Thanks be to God that He’s willing to have us as His Friends. My prayer is that He will help us all in choosing radically for Him!
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