“But REALIZE this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God...”-{2 Timoty 3:1-4}

Don’t be naive. Paul tells Timothy to “realize”– it is in the present imperative which means this is to be your practice to keep continually before him “But REALIZE, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,…”-{2 Timoty 3:1-2}.

Why does Paul tell Timothy that “Difficult times will come?” With the word “FOR” he gives him the reason, an explanation of why. Paul does not want Timothy to be blindsided on the attacks that will come against the people of God. The word he uses for Difficult” is used only one other time in Scripture in Mathew 8:28 and describes the two violent demoniacs. The word, means “Harsh, fierce, savage.” When Paul uses it he is speaking of the time between the LORD’s ascension and the second coming.”Times” means “seasons,”s or “time periods.” The idea is that during the church age, there will be different intensities of attack and with it not only Timothy but His people must not be nieve but be constantly aware such savage, fierce times will come and Paul lists out the type of characteristics of those who oppose God’s people.

And he says men will be “lovers of self” and lists the character of such people as he follows on with a list of the attributes…

Paul does not want Timothy to be naive or ignorant, concerning the state of society. He wants him to understand this and continually keep before him of the way things really are not what they may appear. And neither should we be naive but to understand our times and people’s true condition before God and in society,… For all of society’s benefits and advancements, the hearts of people are still wicked and evil while everyone is doing right in their own eyes playing “god,” in pursuit of their own chief end and not His. People are not getting “better” and will not get better.

The world will not get better for without the miracle of the new birth it is impossible for people to shift from love for self to Love for God! If you read the list of sins in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 you see the list of what Paul described of difficult times and they all begin with “Lovers of self” as the heading and fount of which all else of the sewerage of sin spew out. The church of Jesus Christ has been opposed down through the centuries for people are offended by the truth and the LORD Jesus. They do not want to hear about personal sin and their accountability to the living God. They don’t mind at times someone speaking about”God” in a generic way but do not want to hear the Name Jesus as they find offense in Him, His claims, and conclusions about their sin. They do not want His offer of salvation where they have to submit to Him for in their rebellion they love nothing better than to be the captain of their own ship, not realizing He controls the clouds above, the winds and rain and sun, and waves and waters beneath them which at any time He can use to capsize their “ship”. His mercy and longsuffering are evident in the number of years some live upon His earth defiantly so. “but God is not slow concerning His promise as some consider but desiring all men come to repentance!

We often hear even in Christian circles that we need to love ourselves more as though that will change our conduct. No, Scripture says we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. Self-love is the root from which sin comes forth. Self-love rather than lovers of God. The word Paul uses here for “Love” is the love of affection and friendship to. We are the selfie generation. I remember once heading to a college where one of my boys had hurt his leg, and I was waiting at a cul-de-sac to pick him up after class to take him to a doctor’s. When out of the corner of my eye to my left camera woman power walking and so as I looked she stopped abruptly held out her arm at an angle above her head, took a selfie, and then continued back power walking!

Be aware self-love is rampant…Paul says that men were “lovers of self, lovers of money, lovers of self more than lovers of God”...and how more in our day. The world is not getting better but more putrid in sin as self-love abounds, is flaunted, and is promoted to the exclusion of love for God.

The problem with self-love? Self is at the center, the focus, fixation, and not love for God as the primary purpose of our lives and in turn to love others!

We must not be naive, nor withdraw but be Informed and go lovingly forth with the weapons God has given us, namely- The Spirit of God,The Word of God- the Gospel, and Prayer! So we prayerfully reach out with the Gospel so the affection of people may be towards God. And his people shrink and shrivel not up but be about His business in their circumstances, depending upon the Spirit of God to meet the need of hearts for Jesus sake!

Our identity as followers of Christ is not in Self-esteem but in the Savior. The PROBLEM is not poor self-esteem BUT SIN. The Answer is Christ-{Read Matt 1:21} and “in Christ” we find our true identity but Christ’s esteem such as is found in who we are “In Christ” in Ephesians 1:3-14. The danger is not in loving ourselves but in loving ourselves too much to the exclusion of loving others and God! Don’t be naive. We live in difficult, deceptive times. Sometimes the opposition is subtle seeking to lure God’s people into a stupor with the allurements of self-love offered up as the answer to society’s need and as the world influences some of God’s people they buy into it and from the pulpit to the pew to the seminar to promote the error of self-love rather than “lovers of God” as our focus.

We are not to be naive, but Informed and aware and going forward prayerfully aware of our times and people’s condition. Going forward in prayer and sharing the Gospel in the hope of God’s mercy upon individuals so that people would turn from self to God so that He may be loved as He truly deserves! And to hold fast to the teaching of Scripture as our authority and anchor to teach us the truth of God to influence, guide, and govern our view of life.

There are two views, a world view and God’s view and Paul points them both out to Timothy and us in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. Familiarize yourself with them, so you may not be caught unaware!

Paul wants Timothy to be Informed not Ignorant. We too must do likewise!

God bless,