You unfaithful people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? Or do you suppose that scripture is meaningless? (James 4:4-5a CEB)

Many times I’ve watched …

  • strong, grown men sob, weep, and wail like an inconsolable baby.
  • all hint of faith and hope dry up and blow away from the eyes of a beautiful, mature woman .
  • bitterness and resentment turn a vibrant teenager into a boiling cauldron of anger and rage.
  • emptiness and lostness swallow little children alive.

All because someone they were bonded to in great love thought

  • “What no one else knows can’t hurt them.”
  • “God just wants me to be happy.”
  • “We’re just close friends.”
  • “It’s only this once.”

All because someone was “unfaithful.”

Anyone who has walked down that road can tell you: unfaithfulness is hell. Don’t go there. No way, now how. For your own sake. For the sake of others. Just don’t.

Now when James goes looking for a word and an image to try to convey something of what it’s like for a Christian to try to live with one foot in a relationship with God and the other foot in a relationship with the world, he chose this word: unfaithfulness.

Stepping out on God is a hell of a thing to do. Don’t even go there.

You are unfaithful! Don’t you get it? You can’t be the world’s friend without becoming God’s enemy. You don’t think scripture speaks in vain, do you? (James 4:4-5a DSV)

Holy Father, in Jesus’ name and for his sake, deliver me from any all that would seduce me away from you. Amen.

journey through James: November reading

MoSt Church‘s daily reading and Sunday study of the letter of James concludes next month. I encourage you to not only read, but to reflect on, and put into practice what you grasp out of day’s selected passage. Here is the daily reading schedule for the remainder of our Journey Through James.

Tues., Nov. 1 – Doesn’t God long for our faithfulness in the life he has given to us? (James 4:5b)

Wed., Nov. 2 – But he [God] gives us more grace. This is why it says, God stands against the proud, but favors the humble. (James 4:6)

Thur., Nov. 3 – Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you. (James 4:7)

Fri., Nov. 4 – Come near to God, and he will come near to you. (James 4:8a)

Sat., Nov. 5 – Wash your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8b)

Sun., Nov. 6 – Cry out in sorrow, mourn, and weep! Let your laughter become mourning and your joy become sadness. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:9-10)

Mon., Nov. 7 – Brothers and sisters, don’t say evil things about each other. Whoever insults or criticizes a brother or sister insults and criticizes the Law. If you find fault with the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge over it. (James 4:11)

Tues., Nov. 8 – There is only one lawgiver and judge, and he is able to save and to destroy. But you who judge your neighbor, who are you? (James 4:12)

Wed., Nov. 9 – Pay attention, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such-and-such a town. We will stay there a year, buying and selling, and making a profit.” You don’t really know about tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes. Here’s what you ought to say: “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

Thur., Nov. 10 – But now you boast and brag, and all such boasting is evil. (James 4:16)

Fri., Nov. 11 – It is a sin when someone knows the right thing to do and doesn’t do it. (James 4:17)

Sat., Nov. 12 – Pay attention, you wealthy people! Weep and moan over the miseries coming upon you. Your riches have rotted. Moths have destroyed your clothes. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you. It will eat your flesh like fire. (James 5:1-3a)

Sun., Nov. 13 – Consider the treasure you have hoarded in the last days. Listen! Hear the cries of the wages of your field hands. These are the wages you stole from those who harvested your fields. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of heavenly forces. (James 5:3b-4)

Mon., Nov. 14 – You have lived a self-satisfying life on this earth, a life of luxury. You have stuffed your hearts in preparation for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who doesn’t oppose you. (James 5:5-6)

Tues., Nov. 15 – Therefore, brothers and sisters, you must be patient as you wait for the coming of the Lord. (James 5:7a)

Wed., Nov. 16 – Consider the farmer who waits patiently for the coming of rain in the fall and spring, looking forward to the precious fruit of the earth. You also must wait patiently, strengthening your resolve, because the coming of the Lord is near. (James 5:7b-8)

Thur., Nov. 17 – Don’t complain about each other, brothers and sisters, so that you won’t be judged. Look! The judge is standing at the door! (James 5:9)

Fri., Nov. 18 – Brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord as an example of patient resolve and steadfastness. (James 5:10)

Sat., Nov. 19 – Look at how we honor those who have practiced endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job. And you have seen what the Lord has accomplished, for the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11)

Sun., Nov. 20 – Most important, my brothers and sisters, never make a solemn pledge—neither by heaven nor earth, nor by anything else. Instead, speak with a simple “Yes” or “No,” or else you may fall under judgment. (James 5:12)

Mon., Nov. 21 – If any of you are suffering, they should pray. (James 5:13a)

Tues., Nov. 22 – If any of you are happy, they should sing. (James 5:13b)

Wed., Nov. 23 – If any of you are sick, they should call for the elders of the church, and the elders should pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. Prayer that comes from faith will heal the sick, for the Lord will restore them to health. And if they have sinned, they will be forgiven. (James 5:14-15)

Thur., Nov. 24 – For this reason, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve. (James 5:16)

Fri., Nov. 25 – Elijah was a person just like us. When he earnestly prayed that it wouldn’t rain, no rain fell for three and a half years. He prayed again, God sent rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:17-18)

Sat., Nov. 26 – My brothers and sisters, if any of you wander from the truth and someone turns back the wanderer, recognize that whoever brings a sinner back from the wrong path will save them from death and will bring about the forgiveness of many sins. (James 5:19-20)