Jump Start # 2499
James 4:4 “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
A while back I wrote about a bumper sticker that I saw (Jump Start # 2482). I have yet another one to tell you about. I was driving behind a van. I could see a baby seat in the van. It was being driven by a young dad who was wearing a ball cap. The bumper sticker said it all: “I once was cool.” I felt for him. Been there. It’s hard for a van to be cool. I had several through the years. You need them when you have kids. People buy vans out of necessity not because they want to or think that they are cool.
You give up being cool when you become a parent. Diaper bags, strollers, sippy cups and armloads of toys, books and stuff to keep the little one happy is a long way from cool-ville. I was with some young parents the other day, and they were talking about how hard it is just to get out of the house without having something spilled on them. By the end of the day, tired, stressed, hair a mess, young parents just give up on trying to look cool. They are happy if they can just survive through another day. “I used to be cool,” so true and for many such a sad commentary of their current status.
For God’s people, our verse is a good reminder. Friendship with the world makes us the enemy of God. You can’t follow both. They are moving in different directions and in eternity they wind up in different places. But in the broad expanse of things, why do we have to allow others to define what is cool? What do we have to allow others to define what is successful? Why does a label make the difference? The reality, many labels come with very high price tags. And, they are a means to show off. Look what I have and you don’t. And, for some, the more high profile and expensive labels they have, the more important they feel on the inside. For some, it means I am better than most. I have achieved. And, in too many situations, it’s nothing more than trying to impress people that you do not even like. I saw a news report about an actress at a recent award show. She was wearing a $60,000 dress. Why? Is it really worth that much? Probably not. It probably made her feel important and that she was somebody.
And, that is the difference between the world and the child of God. I don’t need to wear a $5,000 Italian suit to make me feel that I am important. God has proven my value by sending Jesus to rescue me. My worth, my value is not defined by real estate, brand of car, watch, size of TV screen or where I vacation. Those first disciples of Jesus were simple, common people. Many never knew what a vacation was. They were poor, yet they had a heart and a faith that shames many of us today.
A young person going to a local community college may feel intimidated because he didn’t go to a prestigious Ivy league university. But when it is over, he got his degree and likely he didn’t leave with a mountain of debt that the Ivy leaguer will have. Within a few short years, it will not matter about which school, but rather, what ability and talents one has.
We are the people of God who are heading to Heaven. Nothing can top that! Nothing is better than that! The world is constantly telling us that you have to buy this, go here, do this, to be someone. We don’t need the world to tell us what shows to watch, what music to listen to, and what items to buy. We don’t need the world to tell us what is cool.
Your worth, your happiness, your wellbeing, is not based upon what someone else says. It’s not based upon what you own. It’s not based upon where you are. It is an internal, not an external thing. It’s based upon you and the Lord. This is why a prisoner in a Philippian jail could tell the disciples on the outside to rejoice. He wasn’t miserable. Prisons do not take away your joy. Joy comes from within. It’s a choice. It’s realizing who you are and where you are headed.
So, can a guy be cool driving a van? It’s not the van that defines his “coolness.” It’s not even what others say. It’s what he thinks and that is based upon where he is with the Lord. If you have to buy something in order to be someone, then the world has you by the tail and it will forever pull you, lead you and convince you to do things that are not necessary.
We are the people of God. It doesn’t matter whether you have a new car, or, old car, a big house or a little house. What matters is how big your heart is. What matters is how much you believe. The difference between the child of God and the world? The world would buy that $60,000 dress and say, “Look at me.” The child of God would buy a much cheaper dress and use the rest of that money to help the kingdom of God.
The story is told, back in the 1940’s, the two leading men in Hollywood were Clark Gabel and Gary Cooper. Gabel bought a very expensive and rare Duesenberg car. When it hit the press, Cooper ordered one, except his was made longer than Gabel’s. “I’m better than you!” Cool? No, just showing off, and wasting money.
“I once was cool.” I expect if one did as he should, his family would think the world of him. I expect if he was a vital part of God’s church, those brethren would think the world of him. And, whether he realized it or not, God thinks so much of him that He sent Jesus.
It seems when you are young, you want to do what everyone else is doing. When you get old, you want to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
We are the people of God– don’t forget that! We won’t fit in with the world. What matters is what the Lord thinks of you.