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Deadly

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In 1969, in Pass Christian, Mississippi, a group of people were preparing to have a "hurricane party" in the face of a storm named Camille. Were they ignorant of the dangers? Could they have been overconfident? Did they let their egos and pride influence their decision? We'll never know.
What we do know is that the wind was howling outside the posh Richelieu Apartments when Police Chief Jerry Peralta pulled up sometime after dark. Facing the Beach less than 250 feet from the surf, the apartments were directly in the line of danger. A man with a drink in his hand came out to the second-floor balcony and waved. Peralta yelled up, "You all need to clear out of here as quickly as you can. The storm's getting worse." But as other joined the man on the balcony, they just laughed at Peralta's order to leave. "This is my land," one of them yelled back. "If you want me off, you'll have to arrest me."
Peralta didn't arrest anyone, but he wasn't able to persuade them to leave either. He wrote down the names of the next of kin of the twenty or so people who gathered there to party through the storm. They laughed as he took their names. They had been warned, but they had no intention of leaving.
It was 10:15 p.m. when the front wall of the storm came ashore. Scientists clocked Camille's wind speed at more than 205 miles-per-hour, the strongest on record. Raindrops hit with the force of bullets, and waves off the Gulf Coast crested between twenty-two and twenty-eight feet high.
News reports later showed that the worst damage came at the little settlement of motels, go-go bars, and gambling houses known as Pass Christian, Mississippi, where some twenty people were killed at a hurricane party in the Richelieu Apartments. Nothing was left of that three-story structure but the foundation; the only survivor was a five-year-old boy found clinging to a mattress the following day.

Worldliness Damages our Relationships

The problems that these Christians faced were at their root problems not of interpersonal relationships, but of misaligned desires.
God created us in the garden to desire relationships.
We see this in Adam. As Adam is in the garden, in , we find that God makes a statement about the reality of his creation and how he created us:
Genesis 2:18 ESV
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
God sees his creation, man, in the garden and he says something about the fundamental character of man:
We were created for community and companionship.
God created man for the purpose of knowing God, and knowing other people, of being a God-proclaiming, God-glorifying, God-witnessing, God worshipping being who created other God-worshippers, but he created him to do it with others.
“Human beings are an ultra-social species — and our nervous systems expect to have others around us,” Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD, Science Director of the Greater Good Science Center at The University of California, Berkeley, tells NBC News BETTER. In short, according to biology, neuroscience, psychology, and more, our bodies actually tend to work better when we’re around not alone.
Being lonely has been linked to worse physical and emotional health outcomes and poorer wellbeing. Plus, a lack of social support can directly affects our potential for experiencing happiness, explains Simon-Thomas, who studies the biology of our emotions and thinking. “We’re built to really seek social companionship and understanding.”
The problem is our love for the world, and our love for ourselves gets in the way of community. It damages our relationships.
James notes that because we “desire and do not have” we murder. We “cove and cannot obtain” so we fight and quarrel. Here James is using hyperbole, but the truth is clear: Sin in our hearts leads to gossip, tearing each other down, character assassination, and all the other things that cause division in our homes, in our communities, and in our churches. Selfishness is at the core of our battles, and it’s at the core of our sin.
Notice Eve in the garden.
Genesis 3:6 ESV
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Here’s the problem that we see: First sin blinded Eve’s eyes to her husband and the consequences of her sin on his life. Then sin drew Adam in with her.
Sin always takes us further than we ever want to go, keeps us longer than we ever wanted to stay, and leaves us more damaged than we ever could have imagined, and the problem is that sin is more like a bomb than a rifle. A rifle is accurate and injures only what it is aimed at. Sin, like a bomb, injures us and those around us.
First sin blinded Eve’s eyes to her husband and the consequences of her sin

Worldliness Hinders our Prayers

But the fall out doesn’t stop there. Worldliness’ end work is not just broken relationship. Our enemy the devil’s desire is to hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and to destroy those lost in sin. So our worldliness not only damages our relationships but also damages our prayer lives.
The problem is that worldliness takes our focus off of God and his good gifts and puts it on what we want or do not have and so we don’t pray and when we do our prayers are so self-seeking that they aren’t answered by God.
Often we find that one of the first casualties in our lives when we begin the drift from God is our quiet time and our prayer lives.
Satan is not afraid of the worldly Christian because the worldly Christian is hiding in the bushes saying to God:
Genesis 3:10 ESV
And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”
The problem is that worldliness takes our focus off of God and his good gifts and puts it on what we want and do not have and so we don’t pray and when we do our prayers are so self-seeking that they aren’t answered by God.
The problem is that worldliness takes our focus off of God and his good gifts and puts it on what we want or do not have and so we don’t pray and when we do our prayers are so self-seeking that they aren’t answered by God.
The best way to keep the enemy out is to keep Christ in. The sheep need not be terrified by the wolf; they have but to stay close to the Shepherd. It is not the praying sheep Satan fears but the presence of the Shepherd.

Worldliness Angers our God

God “yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us.” James brings us to the heart of the matter. Not only do our sins separate us from other believers, but more horrifying is that our sins anger our God.
James’ language changes. Up to this point, James has called his readers “brothers”. (1:2, 16, 19; 2:1, 5, 14; 3:1, 10, 12) But here he addresses them as “you adulterous people”. Like the Jews, when we become friends with God we become idolaters.
Isaiah 54:5–6 ESV
For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.
Isaiah
Jeremiah 3:20 ESV
Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the Lord.’ ”
God uses Hosea to be a living picture of this type of sin as he calls for him to marry a prostitute so that her unfaithfulness might point out the sin of the people with foreign gods.
So James is identifying those he called brothers with unfaithful people of God. By seeking friendship with the world, they are committing spiritual adultery. Those James was writing to had not overtly disclaimed God nor consciously decided to follow the world instead. But their tendency to imitate the world by discriminating against people (2:1–13), by speaking negatively of others (3:1–12), by exhibiting “bitter envy” and “selfish ambition” (3:13–18), and by pursuing their own destructive pleasures (4:1–3) amounted to just that.
We have no evidence that James’s readers were overtly disclaiming God and consciously deciding to follow the world instead. But their tendency to imitate the world by discriminating against people (2:1–13), by speaking negatively of others (3:1–12), by exhibiting “bitter envy” and “selfish ambition” (3:13–18), and by pursuing their own destructive pleasures (4:1–3) amounted to just that.
God takes no rival. He will either be Lord of all or will not be Lord at all.
Friendship with the world is enmity with God
He will either be Lord of all or will not be Lord at all.
Friendship with the world is enmity with God. It’s a declaration of war against God. It’s a proclamation that we view cheating against our Spiritual husband as nothing. And God, like a husband is jealous for us.
Exodus 34:14 ESV
(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

God’s Prescription for Worldliness:

So what does James say is the prescription for our worldliness? Well I think there are three things that James calls us to do:
Proverbs 3:34 ESV
Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.
Submit To God (v. 7a)
First we are called to submit to God. To submit to God means to place ourselves under his lordship. It means to commit ourselves to obey him in all things.
1 Peter 5:6 ESV
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
The essence of sin is the refusal to “submit” to God’s righteous commands and his righteousness. Thus, the cure for our sinful nature and worldliness is to submit.
God’s commands are not a suggestion, and Christians are called to recognize God’s Lordship and to place ourselves under his command. God is Lord of All or he is not Lord at all.
Resist the Devil (7b)
Next, James calls us to resist the devil. While we are to submit to God, this means that we must resist the enemy to God’s rule and reign
Eve’s refusal to resist the enemy led to her fall. The Devil’s primary purpose is to separate God and man. But God has called us to resist.
James calls us to resist the devil and the devil “will flee from you.” Once again, Peter agrees:
1 Peter 5:8–9 ESV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1 Peter 5:9 ESV
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
Whatever power Satan may have, the Christian has been given the ability to overcome that power. So how do we do this? By filling ourselves with Christ.
Draw Near to God (v. 8a)
James comands us
A. W. Tozer notes that “The best way to keep the enemy out is to keep Christ in. The sheep need not be terrified by the wolf; they have but to stay close to the Shepherd. It is not the praying sheep Satan fears but the presence of the Shepherd.”
That’s why we are called by James to “Draw near to God”.
Isaiah 58:2 ESV
Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.
This isn’t about worship alone, but about moving away from the worldliness that surrounds us and drawing near to the God who calls us. This isn’t separation from the world. When I was a young man in the 80’s and 90’s the church spoke a lot about separating ourselves from the world. We were told don’t listen to secular music, or go to secular movies, or even hang around unsaved friends. And while for a season as we are growing there should be seasons of pulling away from the world, we are called to draw near to God where we are.
Pulling away from the world is not the prescription for worldliness but rather filling ourselves with God is. I can be a separate Pagan. It’s about drawing near to God. Like the prodigal son, we must realize that
“God stands always ready to welcome back his children who turn from their sinful ways.”
Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2000), 193.
Repent of Our Sins (v. 8b-10)
Finally, we are called to repent of our sins. Repentance requires two tings from us: We must repent of our external behavior—wash your hands. Repentance isn’t saying, what I’m doing is bad and then doing the same thing over and over again. We must repent of the behavior.
The Pillar New Testament Commentary: The Letter of James V. A Summons to Spiritual Wholeness (4:4–10)

God stands always ready to welcome back his children who turn from their sinful ways.

We must repent of both this external behavior—wash your hands—and the internal attitude that leads to such behavior—purify your hearts.
But we must also repent of the internal attitude that leads to such behavior—purify your hearts.
Douglas J. Moo, The Letter of James, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Leicester, England: Eerdmans; Apollos, 2000), 194.
If all we do is clean the outside of our hearts, but don’t deal with the sin within we are only doing part of the job.
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