James 4:4 & 8a
Adulterers! Don’t you know that to be friends with the world means being enemies with God? So anyone who wants to be friends with the world is setting themselves up as God’s enemy.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
I always love a verse that starts out with “Adulterers!” It’s like, “Listen up!!!” I’m gonna start using this when I really want to get someone’s attention…probably not at home so much.
One aspect of this message which speaks to me is how the world asks (demands?) so much of you, way more than one person can handle, but God asks really just one thing.
The world instructs you to look like this, have a perfect house, stay young no matter what, make sure your kids do what makes you proud, do nothing embarrassing, sound smart, live here, show no weakness, drive this car, have this phone, read all these posts, care about these causes, and on and on and on.
Not to mention, stupid.
But God, in God’s gentle, peaceful way, asks just one thing. For what really matters. Simply to draw near to him.
“Only one thing matters”, Jesus told Martha (Lk 10:42).
Be with me.
“Abide in me” Jesus told his disciples, and asks still of us today.
I looked up that Greek word for abide the other day, and found many wonderful explications of its meaning—to lodge as someone’s guest, to remain, to stay, spend time, remain in someone’s company, spend the night.
Jesus asks one not-so-confusing thing of us, knowing that everything else will then be as it needs to be, for it will be seen and done through the lens of abiding in Christ’s Presence.
The world on the other hand, asks so much of us, demands to keep up with such an insane volume of meaninglessness, that there is simply no room left over for God. Then we’re “forced” to try to squeeze God in where we can make him fit.
I love Michael Casey’s thoughts on this: “We don’t find time to pray, we make time to pray.”
If we’re going to draw near to God, some things have to go. That’s just how it works. We can’t do it all, there’s literally not enough time or energy.
As the old comedian Steven Wright said, “You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?”