But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people! 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Avoid these people? “How?” I wrote in the margin of my Bible. How can I avoid all these people when they seem to surround me? Now, I’m not trying to say I’m never any of these things, because I’m just as flesh and blood as everyone else, but the media, commercials, songs, business owners, politicians . . . seem to fill the news and airwaves with every one of these items on a constant spin cycle. It’s overwhelming. In fact, I reached the point a few weeks ago where I was so totally drained by the world I felt spiritually empty. I had poured it out and poured it out, but forgotten to surround myself with other believers to fill up. Church, Bible study and small group aren’t enough! I prayed and hibernated for a few days when God answered my prayers in a mighty way by giving me an emergency refill of deep and meaningful “Jesus” talk. He brought true Christian friends into my path on Friday, Sunday, and twice on Monday. It renewed me and helped me realize how I had neglected to recharge with those who are like-minded. We are called to serve and be the light to those who surround us at work, in our neighborhoods, community and even churches. However, we are only able to serve if we are filled up because we will face evil, deception and the deceiver will try to shut us down with exhaustion, frustration or guilt. We need reserves for that so we don’t fall victim to the persecution and deception.
In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:12-13
We must remember to fill up not just at church and small group, but by time with God and having close friends, family and co-workers who we can sit down with and share meaningful Biblical discussions. This is vital to our hearts and minds so that we have the knowledge, strength and courage to proclaim God’s love with grace and patience.
Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2