Thursday, July 30, 2009
The story is told of a Russian named Ivanovich who visited the Moscow zoo for the first time. To his amazement, he found a little lamb sharing the cage with a big fierce bear.
Ivanovich expressed surprise to his guide. The guide smiled and said, "That is peaceful coexistence."
When Ivanovich shook his head in a doubtful way, the guide explained, "Of course, we have to put in a fresh lamb every morning."
As much as we should strive for peace, there are some things which simply cannot coexist peacefully -- truth and error, righteousness and ungodliness, morality and immorality. If we try to combine two such things in our lives, they will only coexist "peacefully" only if one gobbles up the other. That's why James was so forceful in his warning:
"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." (James 4:4, NASB)
This verse frightens me more than just about any verse in the entire Bible, because I see the influence that "the world" has on me and on Christians around me. We have just as much interest in accumulating "things" as the world does. We often don't do a better job of taking care of those in need than the world does. We worry just as much as the world does. We value the same things as the world does. We imitate the world to such an extent that if you were to go into an average workplace and ask the boss, "Which of these men and women working for you are Christians?", he wouldn't be able to identify us.
Let us beware lest we make the mistake of thinking that our association with and imitation of "the world" doesn't affect our relationship with God. Some things can't live in peaceful coexistence, and "whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."