Scripture Focus: 2 Timothy 3.2-5
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—having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Reflection: Confessing, Instead of Weaponizing Prophecy
By John Tillman
When we read Paul’s word to Timothy about people being “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, etc…,” does it not just sound like another normal Thursday on Twitter?
Some days we might find all of these descriptions in the trending topics alone, much less digging down into the @ replies of avowed trolls.
I suppose that every teacher of the Bible, in every age of the church has looked at these words of Paul and thought it a prophecy of his or her own time. It isn’t hard to imagine Paul, in a prophetic vision glancing over our collective shoulders at our social feeds and shaking his head. Calvin, Trotter, Lewis, and Corrie Ten Boom must have imagined Paul reading their news in like manner.
We can humorously rail on Twitter (and other social media and technology) as if it is the source of evil, but the joke is not merely on us, it is us. Evil is in us. Twitter is just a megaphone, amplifying the words of our hearts have always been spouting. Or to think of it another way, Twitter is a microscope allowing us to see deep into the heart of humanity and be shocked at the diseased and horrid condition of our souls.
It is helpful to remember also that Paul was not speaking to Timothy of dangers from outside the church. He was not speaking of governmental, or political, or cultural oppression and sin. He was speaking of sins and false teachings within the church.
We have written before that the best way to read Old Testament prophecy is to imagine yourself not as the noble, righteous prophet or the helpless faithful the prophet stands with, but as the target of the prophet’s message and the ones in need of repentance. New Testament prophecy is no different. Rather than weaponize Paul’s words to attack our culture with an accusing cry, we should instead cry for forgiveness and mercy as we recognize that these faults are also in us.
May we take a priestly stance, confessing the sins of our age. Through the power of the Holy Spirit may we repent each of the items in this prophecy, turning our lives into the antithesis of Paul’s vision and affecting our churches and communities around us with the overflow of God’s Holy Spirit.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Call the Prayer
The Lord is King; let the people tremble; he is enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth shake. — Psalm 99.1
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
2 Kings 13 (Listen – 4:33)
2 Timothy 3 (Listen -2:21)
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