What does it really mean to be, “lovers of self”? (2 Timothy 3:2) The bottom line is if we put ourselves first then we have to put Jesus second. To be lovers of self-means to live a life that revolves around us and that manifests itself in many ways.
Paul tells Timothy that in the last days men will be “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful and unholy” 2 Timothy 3:2
Lovers of self sets all this in motion. When we put our own wants, desires, ambitions and dreams ahead of what God wants for our lives we relegate everyone else, including God, to the backseat.
Today I was reading about a pastor in South Korea who cares for eighteen children and young adults in his home. Pastor Lee has a baby box built into the side of his home and when someone abandons a baby they ring the bell and run. Pastor Lee and his wife, aided by a handful of volunteers, then take that unwanted baby into their hearts and their home. The film crew that went to Korea to make a documentary on Lee and his work were so impressed that the filmmaker became a dedicated Christian.
When Christianity becomes more than our legalistic culture of do’s and don’ts people will take notice. Jesus tells us in John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” How hard is that to figure out?
So, why do we Christians show such little love and yet manifest such great amounts of criticisms and faultfinding?
As Christians we become so wrapped up in our every day lives that we have no time for Jesus. He becomes second in our pursuit of wealth, success and prosperity. We become “lovers of self, lovers of money,” and “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” 2 Timothy 3:2, 4
It is a sad commentary when the church that professes to follow Jesus takes such little interest in the world around them. And the reason we take such little interest is because all our true interest revolves around ourselves and our wants and desires.
What makes all this doubly sad is that Paul’s words are directed at the church, for they are a people who are, “holding to a form of religion but denying the power of it.” 2 Timothy 3:5 This is not the world that Paul is talking about, but instead it is us church members. The world isn’t interested in a form of religion, let alone lament the lack of power in it.
We are going to be divided into two camps at the end of time. There will be Christians who have, “sold out for Jesus,” as the old saying use to go. And then there will be Christians who are followers of Jesus in name only and have no interest in discipleship, revival or building a relationship with Jesus. These people will be content to know about Jesus but not to know Him.
So the question we must ask ourselves, in all honesty, is where do we stand? Are we going to pick up the cross and carry it into our workplace, school, home and society or are we going to simply go through the motions of being a believer, leaving our faith and commitment at church on the way out?
It’s not easy to walk close to Jesus, in fact, Jesus tells the disciples in John 16 that they would be put out of the synagogues for their faith in Him. Maybe the same will be true in our own time, except instead of synagogues it will be churches that do the rejecting.
People are going to think committed Christians are weird, fanatics, zealots, over the top, Jesus freaks and whatever other names they can conjure up to describe them. People who are lovers of self don’t like to be around or associate with people who aren’t as they are because it pricks their conscience and when that happens they become angry and abusive.
Yes, I’m not ashamed to say that I really want my life to be more than it is. I’m praying for God to show me ways that I can serve and minister that can have an impact on others. I read somewhere the other day that if an evangelist wins 1000 people to Jesus a day for ten years there will be close to 10 million new believers after a twenty-five year ministry. But, if one person shares their faith with one other person a year and then the next year those two people share their faith with two more people and so on that at the end of twenty-five years there will be over thirty million new Christians. There is an amazing success in the power of one.
Jesus hasn’t called most of us to set the world on fire. He’s simply called us all to be faithful in the arena of our own lives. He longs to give us the joy and excitement of ministering to one person or maybe two people a year. That ministry may involve strengthening a family member in their faith, or sharing your faith, or caring for a sick neighbor, or using your finances to make a difference in someone’s life. It doesn’t matter how God chooses to use us, but what matters is that we allow Him to work through us.
I am privileged to associate with a number of Christians who are true disciples of Jesus. They give their time, their money and their energy to service and though they would never think it, their influence is having an impact on my life. When I am around these people I am lifted up, encouraged and get excited for what God could do through me.
And I am beginning to be open to the voice of God in my life. In prayer I’m beginning to hear His voice speaking, directing my thoughts and directing me. Now let me ask you a question about the last sentence I just wrote; do you think I’m becoming a fanatic or just in tune with God? See what I mean, we become weary and a bit suspicious of anyone who starts to talk about God leading and directing let alone feeling the presence of God in their life. It is not easy to break free of institutional religion and take ahold of the hand of Jesus and allow Him to lead.
Our love of self tell us it is dangerous to give our all to Jesus, and that it’s a lot easier to have a “form of religion, but deny the power of it.” 2 Timothy 3:5 But do you notice what Jesus says in verse 5, “have nothing to do with these people.” Wow! Jesus is actually warning us to stay away from people who love self, money and pleasure more than Him because we so easily can become caught up in their pursuits.
This has turned into a long post so I will continue in 2 Timothy next blog.
* Please remember to pray for the Christians who are suffering persecution for their faith in many countries around the world. There is a great evil settling on this earth and we must be vigilant in our prayers and stay close to Christ. Our hope is in Christ and he is faithful to his people. Please take the time to read about what is taking place in the world around us at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…