2 Timothy 3:2-5
2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!
In the last days this is what men will be like — how does it contrast with me? I know I read this list and can remember times, if not multiple ones, where I’ve fallen. Some were before I started walking with the Lord, and some are still struggles now. So, what sets me apart from them?
Verse 7 says these men are “always learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” They have a godliness but deny its power. What does that mean? They haven’t come to accept the truth about themselves, then let the truth of the gospel change them. The only power strong enough to change us is the one that renews us day by day, and it only works in the hearts that have humbled themselves before the Lord in recognition of just how sinful they are.
In a lot of ways this list is just the ways I don’t humble myself before the Lord. The ways I walk away from the knowledge of truth. In reality you only see the truth if you look down at your sin first. And daily I choose to be stiffnecked and still walk in these sins. One of the biggest ones for me is headstrong. I very well my be one of the most stubborn people you’re ever going to meet. I was raised in a family where if your opinion wasn’t heard, it was because you weren’t yelling loud enough, and the “winner” of an argument wasn’t the one with the right opinion, but the one who gave up first.
I was raised to be headstrong, but that is no excuse because the Lord has the power to work in and change me. And, If I chose to remain in and walk in that, I have a form of godliness but I’m denying its power just like these perilous men.
The holy spirit doesn’t just have the power to transform lives, it is the power to transform lives. Once you choose to let Him in your heart, and have a personal encounter with Him, there’s no way to walk away the same. So, for the one whose never had that encounter, know that the only way to change and be free from sin is by first looking down at your sin, in humility, and seek the Lord. For the believer, are you pushing the spirit out of control of your heart slowly? Desiring godliness but not the power of real change? The change from the spirit is hard and hurts sometimes, but it’s also gentle and filled with love — it’s the only change that reaches the heart.