II Timothy 3
1-9 | Difficult times will come with men exhibiting false godliness
10-17 | Continue in the truths that you learned from Paul in the scriptures
The first section of this chapter is a difficult one to read because Paul is describing people who claim to have faith in God and yet act completely opposite to the truth revealed in scripture. The description of such people in verses 2-5 is said to be taking place in the last days and yet it is chillingly similar to people in the world today. Consider the list of attitudes and actions the Paul describes.
- lovers of self
- lovers of money
- disobedient to parents
- without self-control
- haters of good
- lover of pleasure rather than lovers of God
- holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power
- seeking to take advantage of others
I would have to say that most people don’t exhibit these qualities. Most people are good and prefer to treat others with kindness and dignity. However the world around us seems to over emphasize those that do exhibit these qualities and seem to promote these attitudes as the norm. Just consider many of the “reality” TV shows that people seem to be almost addicted to: Survivor (a show that promotes lying and gamesmanship to get an advantage), Big Brother (similar), Real Housewives of … (I’ve never watched any but don’t really have to in order to know what the content is about), etc.
I won’t comment further on any of these attitudes other than to say this, If I/you had to rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “I never do this” and 10 being “I always do this”, where would I honestly rate myself? If I/you had at least 5 friends honestly rate me/you in these attitudes, how would their answers compare to my/your personal rating?
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing the above exercise but wanted to kind of shock us into true reality and help us recognize that we all exhibit these attitudes at times, usually to a much lesser degree than the extremes. Instead, I would encourage you to consider the example that Paul gives to Timothy in how to develop our faith so that it honestly reflects our desire to worship and honor God.
Here is what Paul encourages Timothy to continue doing.
- Look for godly examples to learn from
- Remain faithful to the truth of the gospel
- Study God’s Word because it has a fourfold benefit: teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness
If we allow God’s Word to penetrate our lives, it will change us. Consider the words of James regarding studying and applying the truths revealed in Scripture.
James 1:21-25 NASB Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. 22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
Here is a simple formula that comes from Jesus’ parable about comparing my LOG to others SPECK that can be used to make application to our lives from reading God’s Word. While reading a passage, answer the following questions.
- S – Are there sins for me to confess or avoid?
- P – Are there promises to claim?
- E – Are there examples to follow or avoid?
- C – Are there commands for me to obey?
- K – What knowledge have I gained about God / Jesus / the Holy Spirit?
It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but it can reap rewards of great eternal value.
Lord God, help us not to be conformed to this world and its values, but help us to be transformed into the image of Your Son and live to honor You by following Your commandments and showing love, mercy, and compassion to others. I pray that Your Spirit will help us to know and understand Your Word so that we can be doers and not merely hearers of Your Word. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, in Jesus’ name. Amen.