Living at the Last
Gracious Lord, give me a passionate love for all those whose hearts are frozen and who love all the wrong things.
Read 2 TIMOTHY 3:1-9
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
This is a wonderful reminder of God’s gracious love: “There is no pit so deep, but Christ is deeper still” (Corrie ten Boom).
Like a shaft of lightning in which the entire sunless landscape is exposed in an instant, Paul’s incendiary words expose the truth of the world we live in, the last days. We grew up in the intellectual atmosphere where the assumptions of modernity taught us that life was getting better. Technology and science, which deal with “facts” and not “values,” were supposed to bring deliverance. These verses rip away the façade and make us face into the raw river channel of the human heart. It is a heart of darkness, intensely bent in on itself, caught in a massive gravitational pull away from God and into itself.
These “last days” is where we all live, somewhere between Satan’s defeat on Calvary and the final defeat of evil at the end. We are always living in the stressful, fierce, violent season, carrying the future victory in our hearts. Take note of these days, Paul says (1), not to despair, but that their impact cannot be denied. “Opposition to the truth is not a passing situation, but a permanent characteristic of the age” (John Stott). These verses feel so terribly contemporary.
Only the Gospel has the power to reverse and heal a world living in the last days. For now, let us recognize the truth: our loves are so easily disordered, our priorities so often unbalanced and wrong. Three times Paul tells us that we love the wrong things: self, money, pleasure more than God (2,4). Our loves are twisted and misplaced, and none of us is totally immune from this distortion. We settle for the form of godliness, but deny its power (5): “These people…honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Isa. 29:13).
Ask God to show you how to bring his truth and mercy today to someone who is gripped by the darkness of these days.
Lord, my own life has been stained by the darkness of these last days; cleanse my heart, and relocate all my loves and desires more closely in Your will.
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