I keep reading James 4 and 5. It seems like for the past couple of years I will go through moments where I keep going back to these two chapters… over and over. The other morning I sat down to read and James 4 came to mind so once again I begin to read. The words, “You’re cheating on God.” stood out to me. My first reaction was, “No, I’m not.” Until I read the next couple of verses.
You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.” (James 4:4-6, The Message).
If you have been keeping up with me the past week or so – you will know I have been reflecting a lot from Margaret Feinberg’s new book Wonderstruck. I have been more focused on the wonder of God and how He takes the opportunity to show up in our lives. Margaret’s thoughts have led me down a path that looks for how God plans on showing up next. I have been finding that life is a bit more wonderful when I live with this kind of expectancy.
God wants our attention. Not only our attention but our affection… deep love and commitment to Him. He desires for us to want only Him. The book of James reminds us, “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” I asked myself, “Where have my pursuits and thoughts been?” Career, money, family, that problem I can’t seem to conquer, some sin, and/or God’s will more than God Himself – These are all areas in which any of us could be accused of cheating on God. Now why any of us would really do that is really the mystery. While I sit here and ponder this I really wonder how in the world I could ever put anything else before God. His love for us goes beyond what any language can communicate. In fact, His love is best communicated through the life of His Son – Jesus. But, I know the attraction to flirt with the world is there. The way James puts it each time I decide to give my focus and affection somewhere else – I am cheating on God.
It doesn’t have to be a sinful thing that moves us into flirting with the world. It could be a good thing… even a godly thing… as long as it takes the place of God then we have walked into a situation that could lead us into relying upon ourselves, someone else, or that thing that has won our affection more so than God.
So, where do your thoughts take you? Are you living in oneness with God or are you cheating on Him?