My Righteous Rebellion
Paul was writing to his protégé, Timothy, warning him of things to come. If we look at what he wrote, we will see that we are indeed living in the days of which he wrote –
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 Timothy 3:1-5 NLT)
There is no doubt that these are very difficult times globally. So let’s look at how people will be.
“people will love only themselves…”
Jesus was asked which the greatest commandment was.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
(Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)
There is a New Age mindset that uses verse 39 to say that we cannot love our neighbours unless we love ourselves so the first person to love is ourselves. If we are honest with ourselves, we all love ourselves. We might not like ourselves – our faults, our temperament, how we look – but our automatic response to danger with self-preservation is evidence that we love ourselves. What this New Age message is saying is that you are Numero Uno – Number One. Yet that is contrary to the scriptures which tell us to think of others before ourselves –
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Philippians 2:3 NIV)
We can see an example of how to value others above others (in other words, put others first) in Romans 14 where Paul takes time to write about issues of personal conviction like being a vegetarian or not, or observing one day as sacred or not….and says that we should accommodate each other’s conviction. It goes beyond just accepting that the other believer doesn’t eat meat to God’s glory because he thinks eating meat is wrong; it goes as far as avoiding eating meat in front of that believer so as not to cause that believer to sin. Interestingly, in these matters that are based on personal conviction, one’s conviction is what makes it sinful or otherwise. If I believe something that’s not clearly stated in the scriptures as sin is sinful (like watching movies) and do it, I have sinned; while someone who doesn’t believe that thing to be sin would do it and not sin because with God, it’s all about the heart.
But if your brother is being pained or his feelings hurt or if he is being injured by what you eat, [then] you are no longer walking in love. [You have ceased to be living and conducting yourself by the standard of love toward him.] Do not let what you eat hurt or cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died! …. But the man who has doubts (misgivings, an uneasy conscience) about eating, and then eats [perhaps because of you], stands condemned [before God], because he is not true to his convictions and he does not act from faith. For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin [whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful]. (Romans 14:15,23 AMPC)
The way the world is thinking now, you’re foolish to put others above yourself; it’s all about you and your happiness before anyone and anything else. Why should you inconvenience yourself for someone else? Sadly, the church is imbibing this ungodly philosophy not realizing that loving others is actually evidence of love for ourselves because we’re treating others the way we would like to be treated ourselves.
The evidence that this pursuit of personal happiness above all else is not working can be seen in the staggering numbers of still unhappy people and suicides all around the world.
“…and their money”
I don’t think I need to say much about this. The world has always loved, pursued and served money (and material possessions) but the problem is that Christians are doing the same now under the guise of ‘godly prosperity. The problem has never been money or possessions themselves but the heart of the one who is pursuing these things.
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in). (Matthew 6:24 AMPC)
Whether we like it or not, we cannot love God and money simultaneously unless Jesus was telling a lie. He ended this sermon that addressed our needs on this earth and our attitude to money with these words –
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. (Matthew 6:33 AMPC)
I chose in this blog to just highlight the first item Paul mentioned and leave my readers to ponder on the others.
Because I know it’s so easy to slip into these states of heart and mindsets with the brainwashing happening through social media and entertainment, I decided to write out a statement I could declare as often as I wish about having the right heart – the opposite of what Paul was warning about. You’re welcome to download (free of charge) the declaration which I titled ‘My Righteous Rebellion’.
Click here to download