‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.’ 2 Timothy 3:1-5
I know when God repeats a passage in 3 different forms to me in less than 12 hours, He is speaking and commanding my attention. Imagine my surprise when He speaks that I should have nothing to do with myself! The book of 2 Timothy has been heralded as the apostle Paul’s famous ‘last words’. He knew he was to be executed soon and so as he was in prison he wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy. It was a passing the torch kind of letter and it tells of the urgency Paul knew to be true for God’s people.
This same urgency has been placed in my spirit, to not just know about God but to have a transformative relationship with Him and to urge others to do the same. I feel many of us are walking around as Paul says above, ‘having a form of godliness but denying its power.’ We go to church, we speak the language, but have we truly allowed the living Word of God to transform our minds and hearts? Can you read in the list above and see yourself in it? ‘lovers of money’, ‘boastful’, ‘proud’,’ungrateful’, ‘unforgiving’, ‘lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God’. To name a few.
My heart is repentant and heavy today, I had to come before Him and confess that there are many areas in my life I have not let His Word change. I have often been as 2 Timothy 3:7 says, ‘always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.’ Repentance is a change of heart and mind that is a literal turning away from our sin and brings us closer to God. The first step to receiving God’s forgiveness is admitting that we need it. Needing it is not just at the point of salvation when we realize we have sinned in the world and need Jesus, it is an everyday part of walking with God, realizing that we fall short and have a great need for Him to help us in our humanness. How easily and quickly we can fall.
I think I have skimmed over these verses with thoughts of all the terrible things that are to come but dare I say it is here, and it is in us. Corrie ten Boom once said, ‘If satan can’t make us bad, he will make us busy.’ I fear in this we do not take time to know God and there are too many distractions from really sitting with Him and knowing His heart and having ours changed in the process. Louie Giglio said, “Why do we look so forward to eternity but we do not want to spend time with Him now?”
Verse 16 in 2 Timothy 3 says, ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ How are you letting the Word do its work? Do you know enough of it and God’s character that it has changed yours?
Has the time come that Paul talked about in 2 Timothy 4:3,4 as he gave Timothy a charge to speak the word, correct, rebuke and encourage others with it. ‘For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.’
We like to have our ears tickled don’t we? To hear all the grace filled things in God’s truth but if we are true followers of God’s Word, we need to give heed to all of it. A lot of it is correction, not because He is against us but He is for us! Do we discipline our own children just for kicks? Well neither does He. Our heart is for their best and if we take the time to know God’s heart, we will see clearly His is the same.
The beautiful thing is that He waits for us to come. He is a gentleman, He stands at the door and knocks, He does not barge in and force His ways upon you. He wants us to know Him but He has given us free will. My deepest desire is that I know Him and He knows that so I heard these words out of love and not condemnation today. He wants all of my heart, the hardened parts included. As He does yours. Are you willing to give it? Are you willing to sit with Him and listen, read His Word and ask Him to open your understanding. Jeremiah 33:3, ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ This does not necessarily mean the secret to world domination. Today it meant, see these places in your heart that keep you from me, bring them to me. Turn your heart from them and turn toward me. I love you and want you to know me.
Go to Him. What are you waiting for? He is waiting for you, just as you are.