The Right Side Of The Line

eternal perspective eternity kingdom business purpose spirit submission temptation Mar 18, 2024

I find the book of James challenging because it is written by a Manager of note. The apostle James, a brother of Jesus Christ, writes with clarity and pokes holes in my ambiguous meanderings. He draws a line in the sand, and on the one side of the line is friendship with the world, and on the other side of the line is friendship with God. “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world, becomes an enemy of God,” says James. Anyone.

So, imagine for a moment that on the left-hand side is the love of this world and on the right-hand side is the love of God. How wide is the distance in-between? There should be a DMZ or demonetized zone between the two. We should not spend any time or money on things that aim to get us friendship with the world. Certainly there is a clear difference between spending money on things that we need to live in this world, such as food, clothing, transportation, etc. and spending money on things that will make us appear attractive to or successful in this world. One is living towards a temporal audience and the approval of others, and the other is living with eyes lit by eternity.

“Or do you think scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely?” The part of the godhead who is the Holy Spirit camps in the zone between our old life and our new. On the one side of the line is submission to God; on the other side of the line is constant harassment from the devil. Don’t make it a thin line: it is meant to be a chasm that makes us temptation resistant.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Interestingly enough, the 4th chapter in James goes on to talk about not judging our neighbors – so this is something between me and God, not a standard whereby I assess those around me. James also goes on to speak about business and how we should walk humbly without bombastic predictions.

“Now, listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this, or that city, spend the year there, carry on business, and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. Instead ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.“”

Living on the right side of the line, applies to my own heart, to the focus of my living on earth, and to my business life. My life is much easier when this is not a fine line but a wide River of Holy Spirit life that keeps me safe from being on the wrong side of the line. Beware that the “seeker sensitive” nonsense of recent decades has often reduced the intended Holy Spirit-filled gulf to a trickle so God’s people meander in and out of the world without knowing a line has been crossed or that a Jordan River has been reduced to a dry creek. Come, Holy Spirit—fill our river again.