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. 2 Timothy 3:1-4 NIV
Talk about a laundry list of nasty qualities. Like Baskin-Robbins 31 flavors, we too have many flavors of unpleasant qualities just waiting to find their way to the surface. And when they do, the days will taste more and more terrible to us.
What do you think of when you hear the word terrible? For starters, think of the most terrible thing that happened to you? Only you know the searing pain it brought into your life. Let your mind wander to those terrible events that are marked by history.
There is no shortage of terrible things that have marked and marred the human race. The extermination of 6 million Jewish people is probably at the top of many peoples list. The institution of slavery and the conquest of indigenous people and their land also makes the list. Abused and battered children that grow up hiding in their rooms hoping their father comes home in a good mood. Most of us could fill a football field with terrible things if we gave it some thought.
When writing to his protégé preacher Timothy, Paul warned him that the last days will be swallowed up by terrible times. It is no coincidence that the next line of his letters says, “People will be lovers of themselves.” Anything that has energy behind it, must first be ignited and fueled by an outside source. A car is fueled by gasoline. The first locomotives were propelled by coal. A hand glider is carried by the wind beneath its wings. Everything needs something to ignite it, even terrible times! Knowing Paul from his letters and sensing the closeness he shared with the mind of Christ, was there ever any doubt that he would write, “Lovers of Self,” as the engine that led the way.
We live in a culture that encourages us to look in the mirror as much as possible. It tells us that our value and worth is found in the reflection that stares back at us in the mirror. Do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do, its your life. Look out for # 1. Be all you can be. You can’t love anyone else if you’re not in touch with your feelings and don’t love yourself. Do these sound familiar? Have you drank of the cool aid?
Maybe you feel like your sitting on the couch with Oprah right now. If so, politely excuse yourself and join Jesus on his sofa. No matter where you go, you will be hard pressed to find a person without a smart phone. Just look to peoples back pocket, you’ll always see one sticking out. You know that button on the bottom of the camera icon, the one that flips the camera around on you? That must be the most pressed button in all electronics. There may not be a more lethal and dangerous button invented than the infamous, Selfie Button. Whether at the beach, a back -yard barbecue, a graduation party, or alone in our rooms, we all have hit that selfie button way too much. Like a hand in a bag of Doritos, the more that button is tapped the easier it is to keep on taping it. Simply put, living our lives on Selfie Mode, is at the opposite end zone from where God's Kingdom lives.
Jesus put it this way, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters- yes, even their own life, such a person cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26 NIV. Wow, those words do not go down easy. They are difficult to swallow, but when consumed there is nothing more pleasing to the pallet. In comparison to our love of and for God, everything other relationship even the one with yourself should look like hatred. That is what I call living your life off of selfie mode. That is the epitome of true discipleship. It is the pointing of our cameras to Jesus, so the world might see Him in us. It is the only picture worth taking, the only one that will last.
Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost you your life.