"You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!"
2 Tim 3:1-5
God wants us to understand that in the last days, there will be very difficult times. This goes against everything in me as I LOVE COMFORT.
Even last night, I got in my comfy bed with Tim under my electric blanket and said, "ahhhhhh, I LOVE comfort."
After 2020, I think I love comfort even more! Nothing about 2020 felt comfortable or familiar. Walking around a world of people in masks who are terrified of getting close to you due to a Chinese virus that may have been developed in a lab, feels like a sci-fi movie. A Presidential election with fraud written all over it, feels like a sci-fi movie. The streets of Washington filled with millions of hard-working Americans who just want to protect the freedoms God so mercifully gave us, feels like a weird dream.
We are watching our freedoms being assaulted and stolen.
Our comfort zones are slipping and we are realizing that Jesus Christ really is our stability.
"HE will be the stability of your times"
2 Tim gives us a picture of the other things we are seeing. It is so WILD how prophetically accurate the Bible is.
The part of this verse I want to talk about is the "religious" crowd.
I grew up in the Bible belt.
I grew up going to Church.
A Church that had a lot of problems. (There were some amazing people there! There are amazing people in every Church, I think!)
But there were shady relationships between secretaries and the pastor that caused multiple splits. Prideful leadership. "Platform" was the goal.
It took great courage to question leadership so sin was overlooked for years. Sin was minimized or labeled as an "emotional affair" and for some reason, those aren't that big of a deal in the Church. (BTW, It is never just an "emotional affair"). After so many years of controversy, the pastor would eventually leave and go start another ministry in another town. It would take YEARS for the Church to heal and regain strength.
I really didn't want much to do with Church after seeing the messy hypocrisy and "religion".
It wasn't until I had a personal encounter with the Lord in college that changed me forever. I couldn't believe I could know Jesus! I couldn't believe He knew me and still loved me! I couldn't believe the grace and forgiveness I found that night. He placed a calling on my life and put His Spirit inside me!
God was so faithful to plop me into the home of a pastor and his wife who loved God and loved me. They have discipled me for over 20 years. They taught me how to walk with God and to trust His Word. They taught me how to listen to the voice of the Spirit and know the difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. Not that I am invincible. I still have major blind spots but I am so thankful that I was taught how to walk with God. How to march in step with His Spirit. Not worshiping Church but worshiping God.
My mentors taught me if the Church where you are going gets weird, you leave. Your allegiance is to Jesus Christ and His Word. He said if one well of water gets muddy, God will spring forth clean water somewhere else.
The spirit of religion is still alive and well in the South. One of the good things about this past year is that it has exposed where the Spirit is at work. Where the Spirit is at work, ministry went on. You cannot stop a minister of God who is compelled to do the work of God. If ministry is able to shut down, it wasn't of the Lord. The Word of God cannot be chained (2 Tim 2:9). If Shepherds no longer care about their sheep, they aren't true shepherds. There is a powerful passage in Ezekiel 34 about this: