When we abandon friendship with God to become a friend of the world, sin looks normal and righteousness seems strange (James 4:4).
David Wells defines worldliness like this: “that system of values, in any given age, which has at its center our fallen human perspective, which displaces God and his truth from the world, and which makes sin look normal and righteousness seem strange. It thus gives great plausibility to what is morally wrong and, for that reason, makes what is wrong seem normal” (Losing our Virtue, 4).
It is normal today to value tolerance. It seems strange to say that there is one path to God… that Jesus is the ONLY way to the Father (John 14:6).
It appears tragically normal today for married folk to break their sacred vows. Having a different sexual orientation seems like finding your true self. But, one man, one women, together in a lifelong union of marriage seems strange and entirely old-fashioned!
To desire to grow rich and lay up treasures upon the earth is valued and affirmed. But Psalm 52:7 reminds us of a man who “made not God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches!” It seems strange and pushy to tell those who have wealth to be generous and ready to share so that they might store up treasure in heaven.
It is normal to fawn over the rich and court their friendship while being callously indifferent to the plight of the poor (James 2:1-4). Critical, slanderous and filthy talk is normal (3:1-12; 4:11-12; 5:9). Cursing people made in the image of God seems like sticking up for your rights. Returning a blessing seems like losing your mind and something a wimp would do. Dissensions and quarreling is normal. Seeking the heavenly wisdom that promotes peace seems strange and unattractive. (3:13-4:3).
Who’s friend are you becoming? The world or God’s?