Adulterous people. James goes all in with name calling when he writes this letter to people within the Church. James is the half-brother to Jesus (i.e. he was a son of Mary and Joseph). During James’ life he did not believe his brother was the Son of God, but after the resurrection of Jesus he believed. From that point on, he recklessly followed Jesus as His Lord and Savior and became zealous (in a good way) for God’s glory. Rumor has it that James’ knees were like Camel’s knees, in that they were swollen and had no feeling in them because he spent a majority of the day kneeled down in prayer. James became the Pastor over the church in Jerusalem and was a much respected follower of Christ, meaning that when James spoke, people listened.
The book of James is a letter written by James to area Churches. His desire was to address some issues he observed, or had heard about, within the Church. If you read through the book of James you will feel like a punching bag when you are all done due to the heavy blows James gives over and over again. In James 4, he is really swinging.
And there is a reason for this; James wants to get their attention. He wants them to wake up and see the cliff that they are about to plummet over. James is approaching the situation as life and death, whereby he must slap the person into reality; and praise God that he does, because I know I need to be slapped once in a while.
I don’t know about you, but I am tired of fluff. I want truth, cold hard truth. I get enough fluff in the world. When it comes to God, I want Him to shoot me straight. I want Him to show all the cards. I want to know exactly where the line in the sand is, and this is exactly what James is doing in James 4:4. He is drawing the line and calling people out.
The issue that James was writing about is a common issue. It is not isolated to James’ days. We struggle with it today, maybe more than they did back then. It is the issue of cheating on God. By this I mean people who seek pleasure, not in Christ, but in food, or sex, or T.V., or vacations, or new appliances, or 401Ks, or prestige, or facebook, etc.
Why is this cheating on God? Because when you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are choosing to live for Him, and not for yourself. You are choosing to be satisfied by Him, and not satisfied by the things of this world. You are choosing to lay down your life and live for God, not your pleasures. Being a Christian is a radical call to fidelity to Jesus. So many Christians don’t get this. They believe they can have a relationship with the World simultaneously to the relationship with Christ. The Bible flat out says, no you can’t.
If you are a Christian reading this, here is a quick way to find out if your BFF is the world or Christ. Look at your checkbook or credit card statement, where does your money go? Look at your calendar, where does your time go? Look at your reading list, what interests you? Look at your facebook posts, what do you like to talk about? Do all of these things prove that you love Christ or love something else?
If so, end it; end your adulterous relationship with the world and return to your true love, Jesus Christ. If you don’t, James tells us that God counts you as an enemy because it proves that you never really loved Jesus to begin with, you were just faking it; you were just using Him. John tells us clearly:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15
This is a hard truth, but make no mistake that it is still truth.