“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-5
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
We may have survived Dec. 21 and the end-times predictions of the Mayan calendar, but time’s still running out on business as usual in this world of ours.
The signs are everywhere.
God is sitting on His throne in heaven, but He’s about to act.
The world as we have known it throughout our lifetimes is going to change dramatically and forever.
A date certain is set. I don’t pretend to know when that day or hour will come, but I know it is near – very near.
I know all this because the Bible tells me so.
For instance, is there any more apropos description of the time we live in than the one described in 2 Timothy?
Turn on the television and you will see the evidence.
Read the news and you will see it.
Visit your neighborhood school and you will see it.
Worse yet, attend many churches in America and you will see it.
What abounds in our world today is sin, pride, arrogance and spiritual darkness. And it’s getting worse every day. It’s palpable. It’s obvious. The handwriting is on the wall.
There’s a growing divide between the ways of the world and the wisdom and truth of God’s Word.
And this is exactly what the Bible tells us will happen before the end.
The reigning ethos of the age is self-esteem or self-love. Those concepts sound reasonable – even righteous – by man’s standards. The notion of self-love as an ideal was popularized in 1956 by psychologist Erich Fromm who postulated that loving oneself is different from being arrogant, conceited or egocentric. He suggested that loving oneself means caring about oneself, taking responsibility for oneself, respecting oneself and knowing oneself. He went even further by saying that to be able to truly love another person, a person needs first to love oneself in this way.
But that’s not what God’s Word tells us.
In Deuteronomy 6:5, we’re instructed to “love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Jesus, or Yeshua, as I prefer to call Him, reaffirmed this as the first and greatest commandment in Mark 12:29-31.
“The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
The Bible condemns self-love and contradicts “conventional wisdom.” So who are you going to believe – psychologist Eric Fromm or Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?
Self-love or self-esteem as an ideal is the gospel of man, not the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Self-love and self-esteem are inextricably linked with pride.
In this age, pride is celebrated.
But not in God’s Word.
In Proverbs 16:18, we’re told: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
It’s not just true of individuals. It’s true of nations, too.
In Ezekiel 30:6 we read: “Thus saith the Lord; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord God.”
Even ancient Israel, the nation God chose to be a beacon of light to the whole world, the people He set apart and the land to which He committed the holy oracles, fell because of the sin of pride, we learn in Hosea 5:5.
“And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity: Judah also shall fall with them.”
In 1 Timothy 3:6 we learn that even the elect can be “lifted up with pride” and “fall into the condemnation of the devil.”
Pride is the realm of Satan – not God’s Kingdom.
Satan himself fell from heaven because of the sin of pride, the Bible tells us in Isaiah 14:12-17.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”
But today the world celebrates pride. It even celebrates other sins with pride.
These days, we don’t thank God for our blessings. We take pride in what we’ve been able to accomplish by our own hands. This has become America’s greatest sin.
Is there a way out?
Of course there is. Individually, we’ve got to turn away from our sins and back toward our Creator.
It’s just that simple.
It may not forestall judgment on the world, which is coming. But it will make it much more bearable when it happens.
And as I have pointed out frequently of late, God also gives us a prescription to heal our land. He doesn’t require mass conversions from disbelievers. Instead, as He instructs in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (Emphasis added.)
In other words, all it takes is for believers to humble themselves, pray, seek His face and turn from their wicked ways. Is that too much to ask?