Would you be surprised if you were called “an adulterer?”
These piercing words in James 4 were designed to shock us:
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4)
Here in this world, the land of lust, it is so easy for our hearts to be pulled away from the Lord. The wisdom of this world seems to offer such a warm welcome. But it leads you to the lonely prison that is “earthly, sensual and devilish” (James 3:15). What begins as a romantic, enticing affair of the heart leaves you trapped by a taunting world.
How can we escape this warm, wicked embrace?
We must face our accuser, who gives us proof of His accusations. Though the Lord shocks us, He is willing to show us the truth.
He is blessing us and not blasting us.
How would we know that we are “adulterers,” devoted friends of this world? What evidence would show us that we are acting like enemies of God?
It’s important to know that the Lord is not blasting us; He is blessing us. He is turning our hearts to Him. The Lord knew how much potential Peter had when He warned, “Get behind me, Satan!” Peter was acting like the Lord’s enemy, and he desperately needed a sharp rebuke. But Jesus prayed for Peter; He knew that Peter’s faith would not fail. The Lord knew that He would turn Peter into a fountain of blessing.
In James 2:1, the Lord is speaking to Christians. They are brethren who hold the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, in James 2:5, they are called “beloved brethren.” As a beloved brother or sister in Christ, will you rise to face the accusation of spiritual adultery?
Remember, He is blessing us and not blasting us. You can see this by His approach in James 4:1-2. He stirs the conscience with a question: Where do these fights among you come from? The Lord invites you to search for the source of your quarrels and criticisms.
Where do these contentious words come from? These catty complaints and petty quarrels overflow from a poisonous fountain of foolishness. Where is it?
Why are you so angry when you are annoyed?
How did this horrid griping and sniping grow up in your heart?
How is it that you so easily “murder” reputations and wreak havoc on the hopes of others?
Your tongue is like a destructive fire (James 3:6). Yes, you may stop short of killing someone, but it doesn’t bother you to use harsh speech to “control a situation.” But it never works; it only makes things worse – much worse. May God help us!
And He does. He does help us. The Great Physician explains what is behind our caustic speech and quest for power. There is a passionate war within us; it is a passionate desire for control. These lusts, our evil desires, are at war within our hearts. But how does He help?
Why are you suffering the effects of this war in your soul?
There is a very important word in James 4:2. It’s “because.” It is telling you why the war goes on in your heart. It is “because you do not ask.”
Why are you suffering the effects of this war in your soul? James 4:2-3 gives us two reasons: We don’t pray, or, when we do “pray,” we are self-centered. Picture this as two sisters: prayerless adultery and her wicked step-sister self-centered prayer.
They are snickering at you, and sniping at you because you don’t use the power of prayer.
If you aren’t praying, then you are playing with the world. Yes, it’s that simple. You are having an affair with the world. It’s goals and games, ambitions and aims, causes and claims have seduced you. It’s simple prayerless adultery. The world, the flesh and the devil know that the prayers of a righteous person have tremendous power (James 5:16). They are snickering at you, and sniping at you because you don’t use the power of prayer. When the apostles prayed (Acts 4:31), the place was shaken. At Thessalonica, their accusers said that Paul and Silas had “turned the world upside down!” Instead of fighting and quarreling, turn to the Lord, and make faith-filled requests to Him.
It’s time to “pour out your heart before Him” (Psalm 62:8) in a season of prevailing prayer. Selfish prayers are of no benefit. In fact, according to James 4:3, self-centered “praying” is just another sign of spiritual adultery. You “ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Let’s get to the bottom of all this: let’s pour out our hearts before Him.
This would also help you turn away from “the prayer games” that some play. You’ve heard it before. Someone will say, “I’d like to share a prayer request with you.” Then they will go on to make harsh accusations or vent frustrations that should have been heard by God’s ears alone. The great need of the hour is to “pour out your heart before Him.”
It’s time to turn away from prayerless adultery and her wicked step-sister, self-centered prayer. They have seduced us for too long. In this season of prevailing prayer, let us enter into the Lord’s presence with the promise of His blessing: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
If you aren’t praying, then you are playing with the world.
Yes, it’s that simple.
This article is part of “A Season of Prevailing Prayer.”