James 4:4 -Desire for the World = Hostility toward God

In 1938 there was a significant conflict going on in Europe. At the heart of this conflict was none other than Adolf Hitler himself. Nazi Germany, with Hitler at the helm, had begun to take over regions of Europe beyond its own borders. As this was going on tensions began to rise among European superpowers, and for the first time since WWI military forces had been mobilized. As September of 1938 rolled around it seemed as if a region of Czechoslovakia would be Hitler’s next target. Both France and the Soviet Union had alliances with Czechoslovakia, but both were unprepared to help defend
Czechoslovakia in war. In an effort to avoid any further conflict a conference of European leaders was called with the purpose of discussing the future of Czechoslovakia (In an interesting side note Czechoslovakia was not even invited to the conference.). The decision of this conference, which is now known as the Munich Agreement, was the surrender of a strategic border city in Czechoslovakia, and de facto control over the rest of
Czechoslovakia as long as Hitler promised to go no further. All of this was done to end the conflict, and avoid war. The PM of Britain, Neville Chamberlain, returned from this conference boasting that he had returned “from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.”  Unfortunately PM Chamberlain was dreadfully wrong. The problem was that there was conflict that went deeper than this issue of Czechoslovakian land. This deeper conflict centered on Hitler’s desire for power, and ultimately resulted in WWII. In the first 3 verses James 4 we have seen the outer conflict that plagued the recipients of this letter. What we will see in verse 4 is that there is a deeper conflict that is at the heart of the problem. This conflict is a conflict with God.

James begins this verse quite abruptly. In the Greek it is one word, Adulteresses!  You can almost hear the intensity in James’ word. It is a far cry from the “my brethren” that James began 2:1. That being said, it should not surprise us that James uses such strong language here. Just a couple of sentences ago James equated these people’s lust with murder. It should be very clear to us that these people were immersed in the world rather than God. This is what James means when he calls them adulteresses. He is using the term in a spiritual sense, and if we read on the rest of the verse will tell us what it means to commit spiritual adultery…

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