Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A Good Hard Look in the Mirror

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 2 Timothy 3

Wow. Yeah, God pretty much has me pegged. As I read down the list, it’s a like I’m reading a description of myself. Not the kind that graces my Facebook profile, because I’m far too vain to portray myself in that light. It’s the kind of description that could only be written by the One who sees straight through to my heart.

Seriously, let’s look at the list more closely:
1. Lover of self – Heck yeah. I am my own biggest fan.
2. Lover of money – Ya think? If I didn’t love it so much, I wouldn’t work. Period.
3. Proud – Check.
4. Arrogant – Check. (you don’t know my heart)
5. Abusive – Okay, it’s true that I don’t beat my kids or abuse drugs; but that’s not the issue here. The dictionary definition is: characterized by wrong or improper use or action; using harsh insulting language. Now it fits. Check.
6. Disobedient to parents – Check. Ask my mother.
7. Ungrateful – Double-check.
8. Unholy – Definitely unholy.
9. Heartless – Not always, but sometimes. It counts.
10. Unappeasable – Sho Nuf. Ask Dirt.
11. Without self-control – See what happens when you leave me in a room with a cookie.
12. Brutal – Check. Cut me off and then play a video of the scene rolling in my mind.
13. Not loving good – I think I do, but I don’t. I love what I think is good, like ice cream, not what God thinks is good, like selfless love.
14. Treacherous – I had to look this one up, Guilty of or involving betrayal or deception. Teaching my kids about Santa Clause qualifies me for this one.
15. Reckless – Only when it comes to my sin.
16. Swollen with conceit – Yes, we’ve already established that I love myself. My natural inclination is to try to steal God’s glory every chance I get. I’m a big fan of me.
17. Lover of pleasure rather than lover of God – Does this one really have to be an “rather” statement? I really do love God, but I also really love my own pleasure. I love my house, my car, my comforts, my things. If my priorities were God’s priorities, I’d be more concerned about feeding His children or rescuing His little girls from the bondage of sex slavery - rather than getting a new back deck. Just sayin’.
18. Having the appearance of godliness, but denying it’s power – I’m sure I look “godly” sitting in the pew on Sunday, singing Jesus songs. But where is His power evident in my life? Far too often I rely on me, when I need to rely on Him.

Before you think I’m being too hard on myself, know that 1) I’m not, and 2) I think you’re just as bad as I am. So yeah, this describes me, but I’m pretty sure it describes you too. What freaks me out the most about this passage is that this is a description of Christians in the last days…and this is a description of many Christians today… “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power”. Ouch. Double-ouch, actually.

Verse 6 goes on to say that those of us who fit this description will be burdened with sins, led astray by our passions, and get this, be always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. I hate that part the most.

The good news is that I can’t fix all of this on my own, it’s only through Christ’s amazing power that these characteristics will change. I love that I can lean on Him. When I am weak, He is strong!

Lord, please transform me, help me to be more like you…help me to think less of myself and more of you. Use my life for your honor and your glory, I ask these things in your mighty and powerful name. Amen.