James 4:4-7 

4You adulterous people, 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. 5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


When our children were younger, we had a foot-long conveyor belt hanging next above the television. Three letters “FPJ” were written in it. When our children needed reminder to behave, I would say, “Do you like to listen to FPJ? Our children understood that the foot-long conveyor belt named “FPJ” is specially used to cause skin-deep pain.

For love and care, parents would do what they think best to discipline children. How do your parents discipline you when you were delinquent and rebellious? Rebellion is not exclusive to children. What is biblical reality of stubbornly rebellious children?

It stated in Isaiah 30:1, 1“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord.

A declaration from the Lord that starts with “woe” signals grief and lament as a result of obstinate attitude or lifestyle. The Lord declares it, therefore, it surely happens; it’s expected that obstinate children will face grief and lament for rebellious attitude. The term “obstinate” is also properly translated as rebellious or stubborn. Woe to the stubborn and rebellious children; grief and lament await them.

The obstinate children (mentioned here) pertain to stubbornly rebellious people of Israel. Nevertheless, do you accept that God ignores rebellious children in the world? Likewise, genuine believers are children of God; so, it is also a warning for all of us.

When the Scripture warns against friendship with the world, was it an emphasis on the prophecy of Prophet Isaiah against the rebellious Israelites? Can we consider as rebellious attitude when listeners are selective of godly instructions they may choose to follow; and, they disregard what they don’t like to obey? How do we choose or select?

1.  Select

4You adulterous people, 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. 

With faith in Christ, we become children of God; faith must produce faithfulness as practical evidence that faith is active and dead. As children of God, we are related to God; relationship with God is comparable to husband and wife relationship that requires faithfulness and loyalty. God is faithful; his children are expected to be faithful to him.

God has chosen the Israelites to be his holy people. When they worship the gods of other nations, it is considered rebellion to God; they were not faithful. They forsook loyalty to the One True God, thus they were considered adulterous people.

Christians who had Jewish background could understand and perceive fully well when they were rebuked as adulterous people. All Christians with Jewish or Gentile background, are not supposed to be deeply affectionate with worldly trend or lifestyle.

To have fondness or to be deeply affectionate in worldly pattern of lifestyle is considered alienation or hostility to the Lord. Partial or no complete trust and reliance upon the Lord is rebellion to him. Godly wisdom helps us grasp and understand that and personally apply them in our life.

Ask yourself: Do I trust the Lord completely or just partially? It’s tough, right?

Yes! We’re still living in our mortal body that easily attracted to worldly concepts.

What should we do? How do we behave? Let’s learn from what the Lord Jesus Christ taught. It says in Luke 18:15-17, 15People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Remember that the disciples followed the Lord Jesus Christ but they have not received the Holy Spirit yet at that time. The Holy Spirit came upon them only after Christ had returned to heaven. So, the disciples were acting on their natural instinct at that time. The disciples exemplified in their action how not to allow Christ to be Lord. They acted on their own initiative and instinct when they rebuke the people.

Possibly, the disciples thought that they were helping the Lord. They did what they may have learned culturally, that was, to get the audience behave before the Lord.

In many cultures, children are separated and not hang around where adults have conversation. When you were younger, were you told that children should behave, keep quiet and pay attention when adults have conversation? Were you instructed to go to your bedroom when distinguished visitors come to your home?

Well, young children may not be interested in adult conversation, but they love and feel very secure to play around their parents and other older people. Our Lord Jesus Christ clearly stated that he wants children to come to him. So, when we come together as a church, we gather before the Lord, and he would certainly be glad to see young children around him, run around and play in our midst, even during sermons. What do you think?

The disciples rebuked those who brought children to Jesus, but the Lord told that we should learn to trust in him like a little child. Do you think that those little children understood or paid attention to everything that Christ had been teaching?

Yet, the children still wanted to come to him. That’s the best example of faith. We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, and not by understanding doctrines, right?

When the disciples rebuked those who brought babies to Jesus, did they desire or assume that those people should bring their babies somewhere rather than to hang around Jesus Christ? Many people would love to be somewhere else rather than to hang around the Lord.

When the Scripture says that, “anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God,” the term “becomes” is also properly translated as “ordains, appoints, designates, or assign.” Anyone who chooses or intends to select affection to worldly pattern of lifestyle, that person is considered as enemy and adversary of God.

Those considered as enemy have irreconcilable hostility and hatred to God.

The Scripture says that God disregard prayers with wrong motives; prayer items intended for sensual pleasure are ignored; worldly affection is considered adulterous toward the Lord. We’ve got to show that we are faithful and not adulterous. Faith must produce faithfulness. Practically, faith is practically shown in humble dependence, total submission and compliance to the Lord.

2.  Show

5Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? 6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”  

The Scripture teaches us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit dwells in us by faith. Do you sense his presence in your life? Have you received the Holy Spirit of Christ personally? If so, do you accept that worship of other gods or to be affectionate with worldly pattern of lifestyle is adulterous before God?

Surely, the Holy Spirit of Christ will warn us not to be affectionate with worldliness.

The Holy Spirit of Christ is jealous God; he wants us to be contented and satisfied in him. He knows our personal affection; he knows exactly, if we earnestly desire godly guidance or if we crave greatly for sensual pleasure. Anything that we do, does it prove that we rely upon him? The proud would ignore and not seek the help of God.

Believers who depend on the Lord rather than on their self are basically favored. We should aim to be God-reliant and not self-reliant; we should aim to be submissive and compliant to the Lord as practical proof of our faithfulness and loyalty to him.  And, God will favor our prayers. What do you think?

Proof of Faithfulness

Husband and wife: How do you show faithfulness and loyalty to your spouse?

If you were updated, familiar or particularly aware about Philippine celebrities, you may have heard about a confession of a popular celebrity who admitted dishonesty and unfaithfulness to his wife. After three years of marriage, they decided to split. It is truly heart-breaking reality that it is easier nowadays to split rather than to reconcile.

Everyone has limitation; we all have shortcomings; there are many reasons not to reconcile, and pride is one of them. Shaky faith in God can readily prove inconsistency, but the Lord is loving and merciful; he welcomes us back to him when we return to him in humility. We grow in faithfulness, if we completely comply and submit to him.

It says in Ephesians 5:22-24, 22Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Submission of wives to their husbands is practical illustration of submission of believers to the Lord. Truly, it takes humility for wives to fully submit to their husbands.

In humility, we also submit; we also comply with godly instructions. We do not argue with God; it is futile. If we try to prove that our thought is better than his ideas, it shows disillusion, confusion and pride on our part. By faith, we can be submissive and compliant to the Lord.

Radical mindset cannot readily accept such biblical teaching. Why? It’s by faith we believe and obey biblical principles as our pattern for Christian lifestyle. For sure, it is useful to understand and explain logically the word of God. But for us grow closer in our relationship with God, it requires total obedience and not partial compliant to his instructions and not even logical reasons.

Peter saw the Wind

How confident are you about faith in Christ? When you face difficult struggles, are you focused upon the Lord? At one time, Jesus Christ was walking on the water.

Peter might want to practice his faith and said in Matthew 14:25-33, 28“Lord, if it’s you… tell me to come to you on the water.” 29“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

When he was scared, did Peter really see the wind? How could he see the wind? Peter was terrified when the wind caused huge waves splashed to his face.

Figuratively, we also see problems, right? How? We actually see practical causes of problems. For example: What problem can be seen when there’s financial problem?

No savings! Surely, the naked eye cannot practically see the financial problem of no money, but we sense that the absence of money testifies to financial problem, right? To see with the naked eye, you can describe the size and color of things you see.

There are other problems we can face in life that we don’t see, not perceived and cannot estimate how big, wide, tall or deep. We need God’s help, and he favors us if constantly depend on him. If we try to prove that we can live our life on our own effort and do our activities independently, it is considered tangible or obvious proof of arrogance before God.

The Lord favors humility. We have to be fully submissive and compliant to him.

3.  Submit

7Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The kind of humility that would please the Lord is full submission and not partial compliant to him. To submit to God only when we like it is partial; it is not complete submission. Partial submission to God is not favorable to him. God favors full submission to him.

Every now and then, we are bombarded by devilish concerns and concepts. If we are not very aware, we can be easily sidetrack or deviated from our focus to the Lord.

Deviation from our dependence on the Lord is adulterous toward God. We can’t fully rely upon ourselves to submit to God. Total submission to God is reliance to him by the empowerment of his Holy Spirit. It is godly instruction to submit ourselves to God; therefore, we have to rely upon godly empowerment and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Additionally, the godly instruction to resist the devil cannot be done by human effort; therefore, we also depend on the Holy Spirit for empowerment and inspiration.

Do you have any idea what the devil use to tempt us? What can we do?

Before Jesus Christ started his ministry on earth, the devil tempted him as narrated in Luke 4:3-13 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

5The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

9The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

12Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him.

Very familiar temptation that we also face in this world! Right?

Bread or physical needs, power or authority, fame or popularity and worldly splendor, all worldly temptation that the devil used are also the same temptation that we struggle with our life. Another temptation that the devil used was the Scripture.

Anyone can quote the Scripture; and many social media accounts are flooded with Scriptural passages; even the devil can readily use the Scripture.

But the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Man shall not live on bread alone; worship the Lord your God and serve him only; do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Listen: God may allow you to become rich; don’t forget that we need his word to grow spiritually healthy and mature and not dormant in our faith. The Lord may allow you to be famous or popular; he may allow you to be promoted and establish your authority and make sure you worship the Lord and serve him. Lastly, biblical principles in the Scripture can disillusion anyone, even seasoned preachers and church leaders.

We are instructed in Luke 22:46, 46 Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.

Be prayerful and completely rely upon the Lord, read and meditate on his word.

Total submission and compliance to the Lord is humility that God favors.

><((‘> .. ><((‘> … ><(((“. tmec\2022 <“))>< … <‘))>< .. <‘))><


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