Updated: May 1
"You adulteresses, do you now 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." - James 4:4
I (stefan) has been studying through James recently and this verse smacked me in the mouth whenever I re-read it. James wants to take away any chance that one may have wanted to be "impartial" on earthly and Heavenly matters. He reminds us that each person makes an active choice to either be a friend of God and an enemy to the world. Or to be a friend of the world and an enemy of God.
Recently I have been questioning, "What exactly does this look like one a practical level?" I want to continue to be sanctified and grow in my discernment on what friendship with the Lord vs. the World actually looks like. Being in Africa has helped me realize areas of my life that I was actively living in adultery against the Lord.
My biggest adultery? My friends! I have realized after being here that I would not find my sense of comfort and confidence in the fact that Christ died for me and loves me. Rather, I would desperately seek out man's approval as a dog pants for water in a desperate attempt to satisfy my own insecurities. Having friends and family stripped from me I am exposed before the Lord and asking Him on a daily, "God, you give me my source of comfort and peace. Not my friends, social media likes, group chat invites, etc. It's only YOU!" This came to the forefront of my mind again recently because our team in West Africa, who were only here until the end of May, went back home a month early for some family business. This was a hit to my identity again for I was left in the wake of realizing I had again committed adultery against the Lord. I was feeling validated, loved, and supported by team members over the Lord.
FOR CLARITY, there is nothing wrong with having friends and family that love and support you. This is also not an attack on any person or culture. This is just me being honest and airing out what the Lord is bringing me to. Friends and family are good and Biblical things. However, one must be careful that those gifts from the Lord do not become things we begin to worship and slip into adultery. Romans 1:25, "For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."
ADULTERY CHECKLIST (if you have done the following you may have committed adultery against the Lord):
If you find the source of your validation in friends and not the Lord -- you may have committed adultery
If your feeling of value and self-worth is crippled by man's approval -- you may have committed adultery
If, whenever you face a trial or tribulation and you call on a friend, before the Lord -- you may have committed adultery
If, whenever something good happens in your life and you call on a friend, before the Lord -- you may have committed adultery
God is El-Qanna (a jealous God) He wants to be our first love. He deserves to be our first love. It has been a sweet stripping away of things that cradled me so tight while in the states. It has only been in allowing the Lord to strip me of things that He has regained His rightful place as being first in my heart.
It has been hard saying goodbye to all of our friends and family. It has been hard missing birthdays of those closest to us. It has been hard whenever our friends have ended up in the E.R. with various medical conditions and we cannot be there for them. It has been hard feeling irrelevant since we live on the other side of the world. It has been hard getting close to another family and them leaving unexpectedly soon. It has been hard making friends whenever our language ability is that of a 3 year old. However... "God thank you for reminding me that my source of everything good comes only from You! Take it all Take it all away. Magnify no other name. You are again my first love and I thank you for correcting this adulteress heart."
"When everything in life is stripped away except God, and we trust Him more because of it, this is gain and HE IS GLORIFIED." - John Piper