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Rejecting What I Need

January 16, 2020

You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT

Paul met a young man named Timothy in his travels planting churches. He knew his mother and grandmother and had observed their faith that shaped him as a young man. Paul saw the gifts and calling of God on Timothy’s life and initiated a mentoring relationship with him. By the time he wrote the letter we know as 2 Timothy, Timothy had grown into a trusted leader, pastoring a church himself. Paul continued to share God’s wisdom with Timothy.

Mentoring well requires the mentor to be courageous and honest enough to share some things that are hard to say. It requires the mentee to be courageous and teachable to hear some things that are hard to hear. In our key verses today, Paul teaches Timothy that hard times are ahead because of the way people will choose to live their lives. He describes these people in very direct language. Money and themselves will be what they love most. They will mock God and consider nothing sacred; they will be disobedient, rebellious, unforgiving, and unloving. Their mouths will be out of control with cruelty and they will actually hate what is good. They will simply want to have fun at any expense and will be disloyal friends. As bad as all this is, Paul saves the worst for last. They will pretend to be religious (to believe or have morals). Despite the realities of their behavior, they will speak as if they are people of faith. Their actions and their words will have nothing in common.

And the most foolish choice is yet to come. “They reject the power that could make them godly.” In other words, they reject the very thing, the only thing, that can match their actions and words—the power of God. Paul says these people are so foolish and dangerous that Timothy must protect himself and his faith by staying away from people like that.

All of us start as self-centered sinners. We pretend when it suits us to be people we are not. But God has the power to authentically transform us to be like him. Life’s most foolish decision is to reject that power.

  • Pray: God, you can make me like you. You can transform me into an authentic person I can respect and you can use. Today I accept your power to match my words and actions. Help me work and walk with you. Amen.