Don’t Forget About Your Best Friend

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:4

One of my favorite songs in this season is “Best Friend” by singer songwriter Jess Ray. The first time I heard this song, the lyrics stopped me in my tracks:

“Don’t forget about your best friend / The one you used to call when your heart was broken / Tell me when did you outgrow him / You think you have reached the age / When it’s too complicated / Maybe it don’t have to be if you don’t make it”

For so many of us, the child-like or “on fire” faith we had when we were younger has burned out thanks to apathy, difficulty, or desire, and more than we’d like to admit, we find ourselves distant from God.

James, Jesus’s brother, speaks on this topic very directly in his letter to fellow Christians. He tells his readers that they have forgotten Jesus, their friend, and now find themselves opposed to God.

What led them astray? Their idols and covetousness. In James 4:2-3 he says, “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

James sees the way all of our hearts are: we desire things of the world that we think will satisfy us and spend our time trying to get them in our own strength. We forget God’s promises that he will provide for us (Matthew 6:31-32), care for us (Luke 12:24-26), and love us (Jeremiah 31:3).

Yet even in James’s rebuke, he offers hope through the phrase, “But He gives more grace” (v. 6). Shortly after he offers a solution to his readers about how to return to God:

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (v. 8-10).

While this might seem like a negative direction, James’s call is the same as Jess Ray’s: do not forget your friend Jesus. If you’ve turned away to try and fulfill your own desires in the world, God’s grace is strong enough to turn you around. Yes, it should cause some heartache when we realize what our walking away from God has done to both His heart and our own, but James promises that as we humble ourselves, God will lift us up.

As we confess our shortcomings, we are met with love, grace, and forgiveness, and we are restored to the greatest friend we will ever have: Jesus.

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