But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2Timothy 3:1-5
Paul warns the believers that in the last days people will be lovers of pleasure, having a form of godliness but denying its power. How can we be the people who are Godly and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit!?
First, there is nothing wrong with enjoying life, but when pleasure becomes the means for us to be happy, our heart has changed! There are some who live a double life and want to enjoy worldly pleasures by drinking, carousing, using drugs, dancing in clubs, etc. At the same time, they also want to show up to church on Sundays and enjoy the presence of God! We can’t have both! We can’t be lovers of pleasure and lovers of God! Following Christ requires wholehearted devotion to Him. It means that we cannot straddle the fence for too long without losing our peace and joy. Some people are so afraid and offended by those who confront their questionable activities, that they miss out on what the Holy Spirit is speaking. When Jesus told the woman at the well about the condition of her life, she could have been offended and walked away from Him. Instead, she responded with humility recognizing that this man cared about her wellbeing. This caused her to open her life to the living waters that Jesus offered her, and it also allowed her to share the gospel message with her countrymen (See John 4:1-26). If we want to thrive in the last days, we need to stop getting offended by people and pay more attention to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to us or through others.
Second, Apostle Paul addressed people having a form of godliness, but rejecting the power of God. There are many in the body of Christ who claim to be strong Christians. They are proud of the fact that they have been walking with the Lord for decades or that they have family members who are in ministry. They will quote scriptures and have a self-righteous attitude, but they are not experiencing the freedom they claim to have! Sometimes they misinterpret the scriptures, and sometimes they focus on other people’s sin in order to deflect the issue.I have also seen intellectuals who take their understanding to the borders of unbelief by reading materials written by heretical commentators. Hence, their views of God, Jesus, and the Bible are a hodgepodge of different doctrines.
Paul’s writing is a warning for the body of Christ. There are going to be many who will have a form of godliness but not having the power of God to live a Godly life. Some big trees in our neighborhood have given me an analogy to our spiritual walk. Many of these trees look alive and flourishing. However, in the last couple of months, I have noticed that that some big branches have fallen in the middle of the streets. We have no rains, winds, or storms that would cause these thick branches to break. The trees don’t look diseased or dry. They still look like a alive and flourishing tree, but inside they have become dry and hollow eventually leading to the fall of the branches. That could also be true in the life of a believer.
Those who have been a “Christian” for a long time, will have a form of godliness. People may know the Bible and can quote scriptures. However, if they reject God’s dealings in their lives, they will lose their connection to the Lord. They will begin to become powerless, which will lead them to unbelief and questioning the things of God.
Jesus is a good example of how a believer receives power. After forty days of fasting, prayer, and temptation, Jesus came out of the wilderness with the power of the Holy Spirit (See Luke 4:14). Similarly, our power comes from seasons of prayer, fasting, and obedience in the midst of famine or tribulation. The perilous times will require us to be faithful in the midst of adversity. God will give us the grace we need when we look to Him. We will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do what we would not be able to sustain in the natural.
The Lord is preparing us for the perilous time ahead. Are we ready to be light and salt in these times? Lord, we pray and ask that the Holy Spirit would show us anything in the above scriptures that relates to our lives, our attitude, or our parenting. Give us your grace to confront it and repent from it. We want to be your holy priesthood ready to reach a generation of lost and self serving people by your power and your anointing! In Jesus’ name. Amen!