“In the last days perilous times will come: People will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5
Wow. That’s heavy duty isn't it? Most people shy away from reading passages like this in the Bible because they think it’s too harsh and they would rather focus on the warm fuzzy scriptures that don’t convict them of their sin or remind them of God’s wrath. But a true believer knows that, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. So we have to read and acknowledge the Bible in its entirety if we are to live in right relationship with God and with others.
Nowadays everyone is fearful of offending, or being politically incorrect so many water down the scriptures and only talk about God’s love and grace. God is love and gracious, and we should be thankful, grateful and praise Him for that, and we should share it with others. However, there are a lot of other scriptures that we need to read and acknowledge that talk about sin, God’s wrath, and the coming judgement, because it is real and it is coming. Why? Because we are still rebelling against Him.
Look at our world. Aside from the pandemic and the violence erupting everywhere, we are obsessed with ourselves. Social media, tv, movies, magazines and news make it clear. Back in the day it was called narcissism, now it’s called, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the photo album in our phone titled “Selfies.” We are obsessed with our bodies, our clothes, our hair, our make up, our food, our career, our families… the amount of selfies makes it clear this is true. I’m guilty of it too.
We used to stand in front of a waterfall or a sunset and just be in awe of it and take a picture of it… now we need to be in the center of it.
We feel the need to be in the center of everything.
We are the first person we look at in a photo, and now we can just delete it if we don’t like the way we look.
We want the best parking spot in the lot, even at church.
We look for the seat the best suits us, even in church.
We come to church looking for what we can get, rather than what we can give.
We want the pastor to entertain us and tickle our ears, and don’t talk about sin or God’s wrath.
We want the music to be what we’re used to.
We hear that scripture that says, ‘love God and love your neighbor as yourself’ but all we focus on is loving ourselves. That’s not what the verse says, nor what it means. It says, ‘love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul, and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself,’ because you clearly already love yourself more than anyone else. The verse means, focus all your love and affection on God, and others, more than yourself.
We are obsessed with ourselves and we wonder why we're unhappy and discontent.
We are constantly looking into the mirror or into the selfie mode of our phones and we are left wanting and aching, because we aren’t supposed to be staring at ourselves. We are supposed to be staring at Jesus and our heavenly Father, and asking how we can love and serve others.
We come to church every week expecting to be fed all the time, when some of us should be teachers of God’s word by now. Yes, any true born again believer can teach God’s word. You don’t have to be ordained or have a degree. God’s word is for everyone and everyone who reads and studies it, in its entirety, and cherishes it, can teach it to others. That’s what ‘go and make disciples’ is all about. Instead we’re just weekly consumers of church, and then we complain about the message and the worship because it didn’t feed us enough.
We complain about our spouses and children because they aren’t satisfying us enough. We do this at work too. We keep sucking the life out of all our relationships because we aren’t right in our relationship with God. We keep expecting others to fulfill us and give us what only God can, unconditional love and acceptance.
We need to get over ourselves and love God and love others as Jesus did. We need to think of others and serve others more than ourselves as Jesus did.
If we were to turn our attention away from ourselves and onto God we would find so much more joy, purpose and fulfillment.
We were created to worship God with our whole life, with our whole being, and look to Him for everything we need, and in all that we do, and yet we're more captivated by ourselves.
What if we actually lived like Jesus? What if we got out of 'selfie mode' and turned our attention to God and loved Him with our whole life, and loved others better than ourselves?
What if we stopped feasting on all the fake news and social media crap and feasted on God’s word?
What if we actually stopped grumbling and complaining about things we think are unfair, and things that don’t satisfy us, and actually thanked God for our daily bread, and for the abundance we really do have?
But, our idolatrous hearts always covet for more and better. Think about all the things you want more and better. More house, more clothes, more shoes, more handbags, more jewelry, more cars, more money, etc. A better body, better spouse, better kids, better job, better hair, etc. The high numbers of adultery, divorce and debt prove this is true. We’re all guilty of one or more of these offenses.
Believe it or not you can live life content with what you have and not ache for more or better, but only if your life is surrendered to Jesus. It’s only when we truly love God, (meaning we are captivated by His love for us more than anything or anyone else), that we can truly find contentment. It's only when you come to the end of yourself, joyfully, not begrudgingly, and you look up into the glorious face of Christ hung on a cross and risen from the dead all for you, that everything else fades to the back and you are supremely satisfied.
It is possible, because all things are possible with God. We will still long for heaven but that’s a good longing because it keeps our eyes where they’re supposed to be, on Jesus rather than ourselves.
I’m doing some serious heart checking and getting out of “selfie mode.” I’m fixing my eyes on Jesus, seeking God’s kingdom, and purposing to love others better than myself.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting."
Taste and see that the Lord is good and all you need for life, and start sharing Him with others. We are truly in the last days.
"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple." Psalm 27:4
I took this photo while sitting on a bench with Mark at Tunnel Park in Holland, MI. It's another favorite spot we like to go to. My camera phone doesn't do it justice. It's very beautiful and peaceful. I just sat there with my love gazing at the sun lit lake with a tiny little sail boat in the middle. I almost said, 'hey, let's take a selfie,' but something inside me said, just enjoy, and you know what, I did, very much. I thank God for this moment that He reminded me to get out of the way and put Him in the center of everything.