The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:1-4, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” I think we can all agree that these times are upon us right now.
What is the clear and concise advice that Paul gives to Timothy and to us, “Avoid such people.” What is becoming more challenging all the time is that it is getting harder to avoid these people. And honestly, I believe Paul and Timothy would agree that in some regard, we must seek to share the Good News with them as circumstances allow.
The key to addressing this situation is that I need to begin to understand what my true motivation must be when coming across these sorts of people. My motivation must be Christ’s love for them. Trying to do this in my own strength is virtually impossible but with the power of God’s Word (which is living and active…) and prayer and active listening for the Holy Spirit’s reminders to me, I am, only then, able to accomplish this.
What the Lord has focused me on is this section of 2 Corinthians 10:5, “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” The first challenge I faced in focusing on this verse section was, “Is it possible for someone to take EVERY thought captive and make it obedient to Christ?” That was my first hurdle to overcome. Since about 6 or 7 years ago I settled on the truth that all that is written in God’s Word is true and that I need to conform myself to it rather conform it to me. From this point forward, life has improved giving me greater clarity and peace. I think this is because I decided not to spend time wrestling with God’s Word, arguing with it or questioning it. I just accepted it no matter how difficult and continued to study it in deeper ways. What I discovered is that when I came across those difficult passages that I questioned or wrestled with and then studied them further, I always found sound and legitimate reasons why God did what He did or said what He said, etc…
So back to 2 Corinthians 10:5: What happened when I began to simply trust this verse, God began to make me aware of my thoughts and feelings. Nothing more than just making me aware of my thoughts and feelings. It was something I had never done with any power or wisdom. Within a short time, by simply thinking about my thoughts/feelings and scrutinizing them to see if they were obedient to Christ (as best I knew at the moment) I began to almost immediately overcome a struggle with depression that I’ve had since I was probably a teenager (I was born in 1957 just to give you a timeframe).
So, since taking 2 Corinthians 10:5 seriously and beginning to learn to practice this discipline, I have begun (and I emphasize “begun”) to take more thoughts/feelings that were, what I call, not of God. The next step beyond awareness was to actually begin to take these thoughts/feelings captive to make obedient to Christ. What I’ve clearly sensed is a greater ability to walk/live in the spirit as God’s Word speaks about even within the midst of those people who are lost and living lives that are portrayed in 1 Timothy 3:1-4.
If you are interested in walking/living in the spirit with confidence, power and wisdom, let me know and we can discuss it further. I hope to write about the next step of how one begins to take captive thoughts/feelings to make them obedient to Christ at a later date. It’s a simple process that may help you begin your own journey with power and wisdom and hence, peace. I’ll even give you a hint: Jesus did the same thing when He was tempted in the wilderness by Satan.