Tuesday after the Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: James 4:1—5:6 (NKJV)
4:1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? 6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”
It’s epidemic throughout much of Christendom. We want to be accepted. We want to be liked. We want the world to admire our commitment to our faith. In short, we want the praises of men. And so visible Christendom often embraces the world and its ways, from the more mundane aspects of music and dress styles (even in church!) to the much more obviously sinful matters of divorce, sexual deviance, and disregard for the sanctity of the womb.
Yet we are admonished by St. James, and also by St. Paul, not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2). We need to be discerning. Not every new fashion trend or youthful craze is evil. But we should evaluate all of these things by the Word of God. Ask yourself, “Is this new thing (or idea) something that would lure me away from Christ?” If it is, have nothing to do with it. “You are not your own, you were bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). God grant us to be unconcerned with the approbation of the world, and rather to be courageous in confessing by way of our distinctiveness our faith in Jesus who bought us.
We pray: Lord Jesus Christ, renew my mind by Your Word and Spirit that I may continually set my mind on things above, rather than seeking conformity to this world. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.