How to be an Enemy of God

Enemies despise one another.

Enemies attempt to harm one another.

Enemies see no reason for truce.

Enemies come from diametrically opposing sides.

The more powerful normally enforces its will on the less powerful.

Becoming an enemy is not difficult. Just do something to another party that conflicts with their priorities or, if the party happens to be an authority, their laws. Enmity will be the inevitable result.

crosshairsWhat would it take to become an enemy of God? God actually removes the guesswork with a simple statement: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4, ESV) Christ stresses the incompatibility of His disciples and the world in John 17:14: “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” However, he continues by petitioning the Father to keep them in the world with the right perspective: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (17:15).

In the world, but not of the world.

Becoming God’s enemy simply means being in and of the world.

Choosing to pursue life according to a worldly worldview constitutes enmity with God. The passage in James appears in a discussion regarding fleshly desires creating conflict. Simply stated, operating according to selfish desires and goals constitutes worldliness and, by extension, enmity with God. The product of worldliness comes from an attitude of the heart, not necessarily specific choices about particular activities, clothing, etc., etc. But, specific choices made from selfish patterns of thinking and behavior are worldly.

And the result, whether the internal heart attitude or the external behavior, is the same: Enmity with God.

This does not sound like a pleasant position.

An enemy of the only omnipotent Being. Not good.

Thankfully, the same chapter that indicts the worldly as an enemy of God provides the solution: Raise the white flag. Instead of driving to enforce and promote individual fleshly desires, submit to God. Draw near to God. Be cleansed. Be purified. Mourn. Be humble.

At that point, enmity no longer exists. Instead, the omnipotent hand of the Resistor becomes the exalting hand of the Exalter.

Is grasping the selfish, worldly mindset really worth being God’s enemy?

Christ’s disciples should be the people who care least about pleasing the world and seek first to honor their Friend.

“For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son . . . we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:10, 11)

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About the Author
Nathaniel Pringle serves as the pastor of Eastside Community Bible Church, Milford, Ohio. His goal is to fulfill the commission in Titus 2:1, "But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine." (ESV)

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