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. 1-5)
Timothy … young believer … next generation … upcoming Christ-follower … THE LAST DAYS WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT TIMES.
Did Paul know that Jesus would NOT return during Timothy’s life? Why did he tell this young believer how to prepare for such times? He spoke as if Timothy would see the end of humanity as we know it … as if Christ would return before Timothy lay in the grave.
2000 years later … and that didn’t happen. Since then there have been very difficult times indeed. People fed to lions and torched for sport … the bloody battles of the middle ages … slavery … gas chambers of WWII … genocides … drugs … sex trafficking … murders … tortures … hatred … rebellion … children murdering parents … husband and wives destroying each other … parents murdering their children … slaughter of the unborn … merciless rulers … greed … corruption … evil … and more evil … and the justification of these atrocious messes.
And yet, whether or not Paul had an inkling of what this earth would endure past his own life, I sense that he spoke correctly and prepared Timothy appropriately.
Paul described exactly what the world will look like when Christ reappears to fully reclaim what He won at the Cross. Paul ALSO described what each of us as Christ-followers might expect in the last days of our own lives, whether Christ returned now or later.
There will be difficult times … the seed of Satan’s work (to kill, steal, and destroy) shows its ugliness in generation after generation making our hearts cry out with agony …
Hasn’t the Bible and History and the nature of humankind shown over and over that without God, peoples and nations self-destruct? Every generation will face its “end time” moments, and I should each expect that Christ could appear in the midst of the darkness I am seeing …
In season after season after season, rebellious, hard-hearted, lost people have done despicable, cruel, and desperate thing to one another. Just when I think I can’t see anything more evil than I’ve already seen, something more difficult … something sadder … something that is anguish-producing … unfolds on the front pages of the newspaper or on the television or in my immediate world.
Our earth shudders under the horrors and under the confused lostness. The innocent cry, “When”?!
Your answer, Lord? I sense You whispering to us (maybe even shouting sometimes) …
Out of the darkness will come either renewal and revival or My RETURN. Wait for Me. I know what I am doing.
And me … what am I to do, Lord?
But you, Timothy … (Christ-follower) you certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance … everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. 2 Tim 2:10,12
Don’t become impatient.
Don’t let my love grow cold.
Don’t point my fingers as if the wrong doers are out there somewhere … look in the mirror at the one who has to change first.
Don’t shake my head but rather … raise my hands in praise … bend my knees in prayer.
Forgive … teach others to forgive.
Don’t grow weary of doing good things in Christ’s name and likeness.
Remain faithful … show patience … love the Jesus way.
And, for the love of God … turn off social media.
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught … 2 Tim. 3 13. (All verses from NLT)