3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think Scripture says without reason the spirit he caused to dwell in us envies intensely?
As humans all we do in God is filtered through our us-ness. Even some of the most magnificent supernatural encounters are interpreted by our own perspectives. There is simply no getting away from the prayer and the heart of the person praying.
Many people are overly aware of their motives when praying keeping them petrified of asking anything of God. To say that your motives don’t matter would be a lie. James makes this point with a little kick in the pants, calling us adulterers for our division.
From my experience with new testament use of the word world I recognize that the term “the world” refers to the cosmos or the present order of things. For example Jesus came preaching His kingdom, His cosmos, as opposed to the way the prince of the power of the air has been ruling his cosmos.
These passages speak of the way effective prayer is hinged on our hearts connection to the Father. If we are living purely for Him we can expect all our prayers to be answered. Of we are divided between the two cosmos we can expect there to be a disconnect between us and a solid prayer life.
The last statment of the text is a revealing one. “The spirit he caused to dwell in us envies intensely.” The spirit is working to draw us away from this great division. Amazing!
Of coarse James was speaking to matters of the heart. But I can’t help but wonder what did “the world” mean to James in his culture. Was it easier to divide holy things from sinful things? Was it easy to call out the religious from the sincere?
I can’t help but question what God is speaking to me when I read these passages from my personal perspective. What are my motives in being involved in online social networks? What are my motives in watching movies? In shopping? Am I being a friend of the world by these actions?
In what ways have I been tainted by the world?
I guess the only way to really find out is to ask God to show me. To never loose sight of the significance of this concept.
Lord, I want bee connected to you in a way where you are honored by my prayer requests. I want to see every prayer asked answered. Show me how to be in this world but not of it. Don’t let me compromise the jealous spirit of God that lies in me. Draw me out of the world, I release you to in a new way.