Friendship with the World
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
The Laodicean church was strongly rebuked by Jesus for basically wanting to have it both ways: to be recognized as followers of Christ while still embracing the sin of the world. That’s why he called them “lukewarm” and wanted to spit them out of his mouth (Rev. 3:14-22). The Christians addressed by James seemed to be following a similar path.
What was a problem two thousand years ago is still a problem today. The temptation to conform to the world (Rom. 12:2a) is strong. The power of influence cannot be overlooked. We are influenced by the people around us every day in numerous ways. The clothes we wear, the way we comb our hair, the cars we drive, the food we eat…these choices and more are made by us as a result of the influence of the society around us. Yet, God calls us to be different from the world, so different that they will notice, wonder why, and malign us (1 Pet. 4:2-4). Well, no one likes to be mocked. And so Satan tempts us very subtly, just as he did with the Christians of James’ day, to conform.
What we need to remember is that we became part of the bride of Christ when we obeyed the gospel and he added us to his church (Rom. 7:1ff), and we are basically committing spiritual adultery by unrepentantly embracing the sin of the world rather than striving to live as God would have us to live. By doing so, we become the enemies of God. Is that really worth “the fleeting pleasures of sin”? (Heb. 11:25) Read Revelation 21:8 and decide for yourself…