Read: James 4- I Peter 3
Reflect: Do you love music? I mean really love music, like you could listen to it all the time? My wife is a lover of music, she listens to it, she talks about it, and, she appreciates varieties of music. And what about me? Not so much. I guess I could blame it on my childhood (music wasn’t a part of our family) or my musical ear (which is non-existent) but I always hated music class and I never understood why I had to endure it. It’s a growing process, I know, and I’m still growing, but there is one genre of music that I have always loved, and that is pop. I guess because it’s easy to listen to, and they play it on the radio.
One of the songs which I always enjoyed was “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips. Great song, with great lyrics. In the song she talks about her boyfriend who leaves LA for the world of Georgia, a better place, a better world. And even though she likes LA, she won’t stay without him. She says: “I’d rather live in his world, than live without him, in mine”.
As we transition to the world mentioned in the Bible, the contrast between His world (living in the presence of Christ) and my world couldn’t be any clearer. James 4:11 says that “this world is filled with fights and quarrels, killings and selfish desires, all out a sinful heart” (James 4:1-2). He says “Brothers, do not slander one another”. Now, please understand, we are not talking about the trees, flowers, rivers and mountains; we are talking about the desires of the heart. We’re talking about loving the pleasures of this world more than we love God. James says in vs. 4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world, becomes an enemy of God”.
Apply: How can I live in this world and still be faithful by not being “of this world”? I believe we can begin with some simple questions: Have I chosen to have time in the word of God instead of things that benefit only myself? Have I chosen to love a co-worker who definitely doesn’t love me? Do I dress in a way that pleases my Savior rather than people who I want to impress? Does what comes out of my mouth honor Jesus? Have I resisted the Devil in all things? (4:7) These are some of the guardrails that help us to navigate in this culture that constantly tries to pull us in. Just remember, when given the choice, take the Midnight Train to Georgia because ““I’d rather live in His world, than live without Him, in mine”!
Bill is a retired pastor who continues teaching, discipling, and working with children through the church and by substitute teaching. He loves to serve his Lord.