You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
In James 4:4 we saw something very interesting. We saw that there were spiritual adulteresses among James’ readers, and they did not even know they were committing adultery. They were so preoccupied with a love for the pleasures of this world (v. 1) that they did not even realize their hostility towards God. To say that these people did not know what they were doing is not an excuse, rather it is an indictment of there complete indifference towards God. Let me give you an example of what it would be like. Imagine if your parents were leaving town for the weekend and were letting you stay home alone (every teenagers dream). Before they left on Friday afternoon they gave you instructions, left you food, and told you were some money to eat out was. The weekend goes buy and when they return they find that you have not eaten the food that they left for you, but instead you sold family valuables for a package of bologna and some bread. If you were to tell them that you did not know they left food that would be no excuse. In fact, you would be in deeper trouble because you did not pay attention to your parents when they left you instructions. This is what James is talking about. These people had every opportunity to know the grace, love, mercy, and glory of God. They should have known the inexpressible joy, the hope of eternity, and the ultimate pleasure that comes through devotion to Christ; but they didn’t. To use the words of C.S. Lewis they were “far too easily pleased,” and desired “mud pies” to fill their appetite rather than God.
My concern for you is that you will fall into this same trap. I do not want you to get caught up in the pleasures of this world and think that there is nothing better than these pleasures. Cars, money, i-pods, shoes, clothes, computers, they are all mud pies! There is so much more pleasure and joy that is available by becoming a disciple of Christ. This joy and pleasure is not even dependent on your circumstance. This means that you can have joy and pleasure even if you are put into prison for following Christ. You can have this life, or you can be like these people who didn’t even bother to take a look around and see God’s glory.
Over the next few days we will look at vv. 5-6. In vv. 5-6 we will continue to see that these people were not thinking correctly in this matter. They were ignorant of the teaching of Scripture. Specifically, they were ignorant of the teaching that God desires our complete devotion. Thankfully we will see in v. 6 that God gives grace to those who will humble themselves to admit their need for divine enablement so that they can be completely devoted to Him.