2 Timothy 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
To be honest, I chose this verse because I didn’t want to type in all of verses 2-5! The description Paul gives of people in the Last Days sounds entirely too familiar. In every era there are some people like that, but the current situation, with the sheer number of people who fit the description perfectly, is distressing to say the least. The question then becomes, as Francis Shaeffer so aptly put it, “How shall we then live?” I’ve never read his book by that title, but I’m very aware of that existential question. One way to answer it would be to go through the description here and reverse each descriptive term and set that as a personal goal. I think we would end up pretty pleasing to God if we did so! There are several risks here. The first is to become judgmental, condemning people in our minds and hearts and so unwittingly becoming like them. The second is to compromise and excuse, confusing accepting people as human beings with accepting their behavior as normal. That is actually what they are demanding these days, not to be tolerated but to be admired, when to do so would be to spit in the face of God. The third is to allow ourselves to be colored by the filth around us, unconsciously conforming to the world, as Paul explicitly warned us not to do. (Romans 12:2) We’ve got to remember that we are in the world but not of it. (John 17:14-16) It is entirely reasonable to be distressed by the sort of behavior described here, but we’ve got to remember that’s exactly the sort of thing God saved us out of. (1 Corinthians 6:11) If God could save us, then He can save even those who seem so despicable now. Pride and self-righteousness are never the answer, but neither is compromise. We’ve got to walk in personal humility and holiness.
This applies to me in spades. It is easy to check the Internet each day, be disgusted or even horrified by what I read and see, and then go on my own self-satisfied way, not praying God’s mercy and repentance on individuals and nations but rather slowly accepting the things around me as normal. That’s what the devil wants! I need to let the Holy Spirit generate Christ’s attitude in me, accepting people as they are but not leaving them that way, not being satisfied with how they currently are. After all, that’s how He treats me! It has become a truism, but I indeed need to love the sinner but hate the sin. At the same time I’ve got to do the same toward myself, loving myself because God loves me, but hating each sin I commit, repenting as soon as I become aware of it. I can’t do that consistently in my own strength, but again as Paul said, I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
Father, thank You for this reminder. My appetite for information can be pretty depressing at times! Help me take in what You are saying to me far more than I take in current events, so that I may indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, allowing You to change people and circumstances through me, if that is Your pleasure, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!