Friends and enemies of God

“You adulterers! Don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility with God? So whoever wants to be a friend of this world is an enemy of God” (Jam 4:4).

Although this verse begins with “You adulterers!” it is actually applicable to everyone. One cannot be promoting the principles and values of this world and still be a friend of God. One is either God’s enemy or God’s friend based on what he favours: the values and principles of God or the values and principles of the world. Only those who favour God and His values and principles are His friends and true Christians. Those who claim to be Christian and at the same time promote the things that God hates such as homosexuality, adultery, abortion, etc. are not actually God’s friends but enemies.

Sadly, in our post-modern world, we have many so-called Christians, who are pro-world and anti-Bible. They support the politically correct ideas of the world against the radical teachings of the Bible. On the one hand claiming to be Christian, on the other hand fighting against God and His values. Thus, they are the friends of this world and enemies of God no matter how much they claim to be Christians.

However, those who will obey and promote the Bible’s teachings and the values of God are the friends of God and the true Christians.

May, God give us reverence and fear for His name, bless us with an undiluted commitment to Himself and all His principles and values. May we be faithful to Him and His Word.

Faith in Action

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (Jam 2:19-20).

Faith without works is dead. In other words, its the practical faith that gives life not the theoretical faith. If your faith in God is only a theory then it is good for nothing. True faith is practical and fruitful. If you are only a spectator Christian who is scared or unwilling to take a step forward, make a stand for what you believe, afraid to take risks, afraid to be politically incorrect then I am sorry to say that your theoretical Christianity is fruitless and your faith is useless. True faith is practical in nature and demands action. Be bold! Take a step forward! Stand up for what you believe! Otherwise, do not even call yourself a Christian. Only those who can stand up for what they believe can influence and change the world. Only those who can take risk and step forward in faith can be the salt and the light in this dark and suffering world. Only those who are willing to fight spiritual battles can win victories. All the rest will go down to history as useless theoretical Christians.

Jesus, help me to be a practical Christian not theoretical. Help me Jesus to be bold and stand up for your truth. Help me Jesus to step forward and do what you called me to do. Amen.

Perseverance

Blessed is the man who endures temptation” (Jam 1:12, NKJV).

Temptations, trials and persecution are inseparable parts of Christian life. As Paul said all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:16). In other words, Christianity is not a game, nor a club for lazy happy clappers. It is tough, it is difficult and it requires perseverance and faith even in the shadow of death. Christian history is filled with men and women of God, who suffered all kinds of hardship and never gave up but persevered. When God calls you to do something, surely there will come various kinds of temptations, trials and even persecution on your way. God will allow such hardships to come against you to test and to refine you. In fact, all men and women of God face them. Jesus had to endure hardship, torture and death on the cross to fulfil God’s plan. For many years, the apostle Paul endured all kinds of hardship and persecution in doing God’s will. Similarly, across the world, throughout Christian history all servants of God faced hardship, temptation and persecution. If you want to serve God and do what He has called you to do, you have to persevere and be determined in spite of all difficulties.

Lord Jesus, please help us to keep our eyes on you and persevere so that we may fulfil your plans. Help us to serve you with determination and perseverance as you did. Amen.

Abraham: God’s Friend

““Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.” (Jam 2:23, ESV2011).

Abraham’s life was marked with his friendship with God. His was not just a religion but a radical trust in God. His journey started in Genesis 12 as he stepped into the unknown in obedience to God. For the rest of his life he was always depended on God for protection, guidance and provision. Although, he was a wealthy man he was also a broken man before God. He was a stranger in strange countries, unable to protect himself and unable to have his own children. Although he had many workers, he did not seem to have many friends. Even his wife could not fully share and support his faith and obedience to God (Gen 18:10-15). Abraham was a strange and broken man. His extra ordinary faith and obedience to God made him even more strange and lonely at times. However, in the midst of all, God became his friend (Isa 41:8). So much so that God would visit Abraham and discuss His plans with him (Gen 18). As a faithful friend, God sustained him, protected and guided him throughout the years.

Similarly, your faith and obedience to God might make you unpopular, strange and lonely. Remember then, who called you, who sustains and guides you. God is your eternal friend. Trust in Him and pour out your heart to Him.

Jesus: Always Reliable

We live in an extremely unreliable world. It is the expected norm that no person or no institution is actually reliable. Friends and family fail us, companies we work for desert us, governments we elected betray us, churches we supported hurt us. We, ourselves betray, abandon and fail others around us. As the time goes by people, governments, demographies and even the climates change. All these changes make our world even more unreliable.

But there is one, who has always been reliable, who has kept all His promises and never deserted those who put their trust in him. Jesus: the only truly righteous and reliable person who ever lived in our unreliable world.

13 years ago, on December 6, I decided to leave Islam and follow Jesus. Since then, I have gone through a lot of rejection, persecution and trials. As I was following Jesus, I have experienced the favour and the wrath of people. At times I was an obedient follower of Jesus, at other times I disobeyed Him. But He never abandoned me, never turned His back on me. He kept all His promises, even when I did not keep mine. He became my best and most reliable friend. In the same way, Jesus kept all His promises and never abandoned anyone of His people throughout the history.

Taste and see that Jesus is good, His love and faithfulness endure forever (Ps 34:8; 100:5). He is always the reliable refuge and stronghold for His people (Nah 1:7; Joe 3:16).