2 Timothy 3

This devotional is by Becky Charles.

2 Timothy 3

But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

A final charge to Timothy
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings – what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Reflection

Paul is writing from prison near the end of his life to the younger evangelist Timothy to help him in the work of evangelism- to encourage, guide and pass on his knowledge and wisdom.
 
In this chapter Paul warns Timothy not to be naive about Christians who appear to be religious, but whose actions show that they have no faith in God's ability to help them. There is a long list of shortcomings this type of person might have as well as pointing out those who deliberately manipulate vulnerable people's spiritual needs for their own gain. In short, people who give Christianity a very bad name! Paul says that these people will continue to go from bad to worse, deceiving themselves and others and causing trouble for those who genuinely have faith in God.
 
How many times have people said to you that Christianity causes bad things as a reason to not have faith? Does it become dispiriting when Christians behave badly?
 
Paul lives in the reality of a powerful God who helps him in his situation. He contrasts his behaviour of suffering on other's behalf with those who, without trust in God's power and goodness, become self seeking. He encourages Timothy not to be fazed by criticism, to stick with what he has believed about Jesus and to look to God's word in scripture for guidance and help in his situation.
 
God is there for us today, living and active, powerful to help. Let's ask God to speak to us freshly through the scriptures and to guide us in our situation.

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