But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having …a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. — 2 Timothy 3:1-5
When you read this verse, is there any doubt that we are in the last days? I think about just my little world that I live in. I see people every day that are in love with themselves. People will sell drugs to children for money. I talk to people that are boastful…they only want to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. I have heard an adult tell me that their child hits them and is completely disobedient to them…and the kid is proud of it! More than any other generation, this generation is ungrateful for what they have. The majority of us only focus on what we do not have instead of being thankful for what we do have.
Most of the population is unholy…meaning that they do not set themselves apart from this world and take on the characteristics of Christ. Just browse through Facebook statuses and see how long it takes you to find un-forgiveness and slander. It doesn’t take very long to find pictures of underage drinking and teenagers (and adults) showing zero self-control. I know I have not hit all that is listed in the verse…but you get the idea. Our society was without a doubt supposed to read about the society that Paul is writing to Timothy about, because it looks just like ours.
But, the part of the verse that got me was “have nothing to do with such people.” This bothered me for a while. Aren’t we supposed to HELP these people? The answer is believe it or not…no. What Paul really means when he says “Have nothing to do with such people” is this: “Have nothing to do with such people.”
The key to understanding what Paul means is the words “having a form of godliness.” He is talking about people who claim to know God, claim to be followers of Jesus, claim to be Christ-like…but still live in the manner that he explained beforehand.
The people we as Christians are supposed to stay away from are the people who claim that they have it all together, but still live obvious, blatant, sinful lives. Many people claim they are Christians, but look and behave exactly like a worldly person full of sin.
I am actually learning to have a lot of respect for the person who says “I do not follow God or care anything about the Bible.” At least they are honest and are just admitting that they want to do their own thing. I actually find myself wanting to hang out with them. It is amazing how if you will just listen to them and NOT judge, how they are interested when you tell them about Jesus and how He has worked in your life. I actually like just hanging out with them and hearing their viewpoints.
It is crazy how the people I can’t stand the most say they are Christians. I know “Christian” parents who NEVER discipline their children. I know “Christian” parents who come up with the lamest excuses ever to not go to church (I wonder how their children will treat church?) I know other “Christian” parents who make an absolute fool out of themselves at little league ball games. I know “Christian” students who cheat consistently on tests and other assignments. I know “Christian” students who treat many of their teachers like garbage. I’ve seen “Christians” absolutely cuss another person out simply because they talked to their boyfriend or girlfriend.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done more than my share of stupid stuff as a Christian. Even though I have done the majority of that stuff Paul mentioned, I never accepted that it would remain a part of my lifestyle…at the end of the day, I recognized that those particular sins had to go and I continuously asked for forgiveness and HELP! Eventually, in His own time, He took my sins away and is still purifying me to this day. If you know a person that has a “form of godliness” but blatantly lives like Hell and says they can‘t change or “that‘s just the way I am,” they have denied the power of God to help them conquer sin in their lives…have nothing to do with them. They will drain you and you will spend hours in pointless, religious arguments (I often wish I didn’t know from experience).
Spend your time with a group of true followers…they will strengthen your faith and help keep you on the straight and narrow. They are pretty easy to spot. Just ask yourself if they are bearing the fruit of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5. Are they patient with people that most others are not? Are they kind to people who do them wrong? Do they display self-control in situations most people don‘t? Do they have God on their lives? If yes, hang out with them! Then, make a point to spend time with non-believers who are only that way because every “Christian” they know has a form of godliness…but looks exactly like the world. Be the coolest, most attentive and most helpful person that they know. Trust me…they will want to know how you got that way. You already know what to tell ‘em…