In John 3:16 we read, “For God so loved the world…” But then we read in James 4:4, “…friendship with the world means enmity against God. Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”
Are we to believe God loves the world, but those who follow Christ are not to love or be-friend the world? No! In John 3:16 we are told God loves humanity (world) and His creation. We who follow Christ are to be like God, we are to love each other (world). In James 4:4 the writer is speaking of the world’s way of thinking, worldly affairs, worldly ordered systems that contradict the wisdom of God.
Jesus taught there are two ways of thinking and two different ways of living. In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus speaks of two gates and two roads. There is the wide gate and wide road, and the narrow gate and narrow road. These two gates and two roads represent two very different ways of believing and living in this life.
The world has its way of believing and doing, right? Care only about yourself, use people for personal profit or pleasure, cheat or be dishonest if it profits your cause, lie, gossip about others, be a hater, be racist, manipulate others for your own agenda, love money, be proud, greedy, ungrateful, conceited, unforgiving, abusive, boastful.
Jesus comes into this world system and teaches a very different way to live. Jesus taught, prefer others above yourself, treat others as you want to be treated, be honest in all your dealings, speak the truth, love others, be generous, don’t retaliate, be humble, be grateful, be thankful, be kind, forgiving, a lover of God.
Jesus example of the wide road and narrow road was to simply state that we are all born into the world’s system (wide road) of thinking and behaving. Be selfish comes natural doesn’t it? We must learn and choose to live unselfishly. The world’s way (wide road) comes natural while the ways of Jesus (narrow road) must be learned and we must choose to travel this very narrow way. It’s narrow as Jesus states because few will choose to travel this road, because it’s a road of self-denial, and if you have ever tried to deny yourself you know how difficult that can be at times.
So, love people but don’t get friendly with the world’s way of behaving and living. BECAUSE, when we treat others as the world teaches we stop loving them as God instructs.