Paul, in 2 Timothy 3:13, alerts us that in the last days “evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse.” Crime and murder rates in this world are accelerating; and the porn industry has gone out of control. Here are two reasons for our present moral and spiritual corruption.
1. A rejection of God and the love of self. In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul begins his list of evils with the main one: that people are lovers of self.
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. (bold for emphasis)
Many people, even Christians, think that God wants us to love ourselves, that we can’t love others unless we love ourselves. But that is not true. When the bible tells us to love others as ourselves, it is assumed that we naturally love ourselves. But we can’t leave it there. That natural love of self must be checked—or it will get out of control. The love of self will soon turn fleshly—to impurity and to all the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). And in the end self-love will prevent us from loving God.
2. A rejection of truth. Once people have rejected God by focusing on self, they will have no interest in truth. Why? Because they get so caught up in what pleases them, and that’s all they want.
Yes, self-love is very dangerous. It…
- Causes us to rationalize sin—because we want to satisfy a sexual urge.
- Causes us to redefine sin. We tell ourselves it’s not so bad. We are too proud to admit we are wrong.
More on Self-Love
I think self-love is very deceptive. It is hiding everywhere, lurking on every corner. It is the basis of worldliness. We can’t get away from it, especially if we watch TV, go to movies, read the newspaper, etc. The world constantly is telling us how to love ourselves and that self-love is good. But the bible says the opposite (2 Tm. 3:2).
Self-love is selfishness. And we know that that is bad. But we don’t think of self-love that way. We think of it as being a good thing. That is why it is so deceptive. And it is also deceptive because what feels good to us isn’t always good for us in the long run. Food that tastes good may be very bad for us. Okay, good fresh fruit and vegetables are good for us to a point. But overeating anything, even healthy food can be bad. One apple is good; but three or four will give you a belly ache and may damage your stomach.
Do you have favorite TV shows or favorite movies? I don’t think anything is wrong with that; but when you sit and watch TV all day long on your days off, that is too much. You are feeding your flesh. It is the self-love talked about in 2 Timothy 3:2. If you really care about your physical and spiritual health you may want to think about denying yourself—which may involve some suffering. I think fasting—with suffering—may be good for you and good for the kingdom of God.
God has called us to love others, to reach out and care for others as much as we naturally care for ourselves.
Now that I think about it, I spend far too much time thinking about, planning for, and doing for myself. I ought to think more about doing for others and praying for others—being a servant as Christ was (Phil. 2:3-7).
Will you join me and do what you need to do to break your trend of self-love?
- Begin a new habit of thinking and praying for others.
- Begin a new habit of denying yourself something that you crave.
- For myself, I love watching cooking shows. But you may notice, as I do, that the cook always emphasizes bring out the good flavors, about what tastes good to the senses. You may also notice that most of the cooks are over-weight—sorry! My point here is that these TV shows are compelling us to love ourselves, to treat ourselves. In effect, I think the devil is using these shows to put me in a sort of self-love-spell, so that I will eat not to keep me strong, but to please my flesh and to keep me in a state of euphoria by tasty food. Oh, the devil and the world are out to get me. I will be more aware of what I watch on TV and what I eat.
Source: Foreshadows, By Steve Miller