Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 – December 20 – Choices … Friendships

Study from God’s Word Reading two traveling letters, the books of James and Jude, written to the church written by these two brothers of Jesus, who were trying to get the persecuted Jewish Christians to remember God’s covenant and to remain faithful in spite of the persecutions of the world … Passage for Reflection: James 4: 4 … NIV You adulterous people,[a reference to adulterous Israel – see Hosea 3: 1] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

My Journal for Today: Reading the books, i.e., letters, of Jesus’ brothers, James and Jude this morning, if one cannot see the relevance of Scripture to our world today, that person would have to be a non-believer or a foolish Christian who has been duped by the paganism or carnality of worldly pleasures or materialism; and unfortunately this is a very common failing evidenced in the church and Christians today.

Dr. Smith makes the relevant case that today’s parents will try to get their kids to recognize the truth that “bad company corrupts good character;” yet, these same parents often will take up deadly close friendships with the world and allow worldly values to corrupt what God’s word teaches us. Let’s get right to Dr. Smith’s closing devotional question today (with one little addition from me): Do the decisions I make reflect a greater friendship with a faithful God or with an ever-so-fickle friend [the world]?”

Dear one, I don’t trust myself; and I acknowledge the truth of Jeremiah’s warning in Jer. 17: 9, which tells me how weak my human heart (i.e., my very HUMAN being) is; … and that I have a heart which is deceitful beyond measure. James and Jude recognized this; and they were writing (i.e., preaching) a message of warning to all Christians; yes, to those in the first century after Christ, but also to all Christians in any generation who could be deceived that we followers of Christ cannot be wooed and won by the world away from the truth which is found in God’s word.

More specifically, we see these two letters throwing up a loud warning against trafficking in worldly and fleshly pleasures and expecting us, as Christians, to be able to have a deep and abiding relationship with Christ. NO WAY! It simply cannot happen; and that is what today’s highlight text almost yells out in warning to the man or woman of “the Way,” … i.e., any follower of Christ.

So, my fellow Christian, let’s be honest and ask ourselves the question raised by James and Dr. LaGard Smith today: Are we cavorting too closely with the materialism of the world and trying to have one foot following God’s truth [i.e., the Bible] and the other foot pursuing the lured values of the world? And can we not see that such dualism will split us in half and take us away from Christ’s simple (but, oh so difficult) charge (see Luke 9: 23) to deny self, to take our cross (of Christ) daily, and to follow our Lord?

Take careful note here, my dear one, and see where your path is leading. Because if it is pursuing friendship with the world, we will be lured by the sirens of materialism and pleasure-seeking onto the rocks of death and darkness and we’ll never be able to foster the friendship offered by Christ by being obedient to Him and following Him in the friendship He and only He can offer.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I want to follow You and to stay away from the lures the world uses to divert and distract me. Amen

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