Life is hard.
Yes I know, what a shocking, mind blowing statement. I can see all your reactions right now - ‘Whoa… no way! Seriously? Life is hard? I would never have guessed!’. Yep, you’re right. This statement is nothing shocking, nothing earth shattering, nothing overly deep or brilliant or inexplicable. Life is hard. We all know this. But have you ever thought about this – we make life harder than it has to be.
Now before you turn off your brains and think ‘Man, this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about’ or ‘Are you blaming me for my own struggles’, let me clarify. Life is hard. But we make it more difficult that it needs to be. How? By our pursuit of pleasure, at the expense of experience.
So often in life we pursue what we desire, and try to avoid the work it takes to actually get what we want. We see this avoidance all throughout our culture - we want microwavable instant pleasure and expect it to be just as good as the real thing. You wanna be rich? Just win the lottery! No need to work hard and save well! You wanna be less lonely? Just watch porn! No need to put in the hard work of building a relationship with people. No need for hard work at all!
"We live in a culture obsessed with receiving pleasure at no cost of self"
You see, we live in a culture obsessed with receiving pleasure at no cost of self - we feel entitled to what we think we want, and are wiling to do whatever it takes to get what we want. Or as James would put it, “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight” (4:2-3, NIV). In more modern terms, you want what you don’t need but are willing to kill to get it, and you desire what you cannot get, so you are willing to fight for what you think you deserve.
You want something good? You want happiness? You want to be rich? You want to be famous? You want to be loved? You want to feel pretty? You deserve those things - so just take them! Do whatever it takes to get them! Fight people, steal money, take what you want, grab what you want from life and be done with it!
But is that the right way to live?
James calls this idea of living “Friendship with the world”. Or in the Message translation, “Cheating on God” (v. 4); but the concepts the same. We live a life seeking our own pleasure, never asking God for anything (v. 2), or only asking because we want to further our own pleasure (v. 3). And believe it or not, God is not a fan of this way of living.
“Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4, NIV)
To be a friend of the world means to seek out the pleasures of the world at whatever the cost, settling for a cheap substitute of happiness, a cheap substitute of love, and a cheap substitute of sex in order to get the pleasure we seek. But that’s not how God wants us to live - no, He wants us to findtrue happiness, and true love!
James goes on to say that God “is a fiercely jealous lover. And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find” (James 4:5, MSG). Our meager substitutes for what God can offer in full - our substitutes for love, for sex, for happiness, for fun – they’re merely shadows of what God has to offer. Yet we fight for them - we struggle and we fight and we try to take what we think we deserve; when all we need to do is put aside our sword, and ask God. “Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” (James 4:10, MSG).
“God just wants us to stop searching the world for the things He is freely giving us."
You see God wants us to be happy. He wants us to feel loved. He wants us to enjoy life. God isn’t a spoil sport who wants to bore us to death - no! He just wants us to stop searching the world for the things He is freely giving us. But He leaves that choice up to us. He lets us choose. We can continue to struggle and to fight and to try and attack others and attack the world and fight life to try and get what we want; or we can give up our sword, hand it over to God, and let Him give us what we want.
The choice is yours.
Breakaway is a movement determined to empower a community of spirit-filled believers live out their identity as Christ-followersIt's time to breakaway from Christian stigma and legalistic mindsets, and to realize the true nature of our loving Father. You can follow breakaway directly on tumblr and twitter.
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