Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4
Wishes – “But, I’m not a friend of the world!” you complain. “This scripture isn’t about me. I believe in Jesus.” Well, maybe we need to carefully examine the Greek here. The translation “wishes” doesn’t exactly capture what James has in mind. The word is boulethe. It has some unusual connotations that are vitally important. It is distinguished from another Greek word, thelo, in the following way: boulomai (the root of our word) is about the passive propensity or willingness to enter into an arrangement with the world whereas thelo expresses the active engagement with the things of the world. You see, James is not saying that I must be actively pursuing the world’s measurement standards. All I have to do is be predisposed in that direction. All I have to do is wish they would apply.
“I wish things would turn out better for me. I don’t understand why God has to make it so hard.” Passive denial of sovereignty and divine correction.
“Of course God wants me to be a winner. Then I can serve Him even better.” Passive willingness to use prosperity as God’s measure of acceptability.
“If they would just leave me alone, I know I could be true to Jesus.” Passive denial of God’s choice of circumstances and use of affliction for His purposes.
“As soon as I have this under control, I’ll give more money to charity.” Passive acceptance of the world’s priority scale.
“But I don’t have time to deal with this right now. I have a schedule to keep.” Passive denial of God’s arrangement of life’s interruptions.
Go ahead. Add some to the list. James points out that all we have to do is fawn over worldly fame, fan the flames of celebrity desires, want to “be like Mike” and dozens of other ways that we wish we could make our dreams come true. If your dreams are not saturated with the desires of Jesus, then you are predisposed to adopt another standard. The devil met you in the wilderness and you were overcome. Bodily needs, community recognition or earthly power seduced you. You made yourself God’s enemy.
Now what will you do?