Jump Start # 2356
2 Timothy 3:10 “but you followed my teaching conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance”
The third chapter of Timothy shows a major contrast between the believer and the man of the world. Paul warns the young preacher about coming trouble. The storm clouds were gathering on the horizon. Things were going to get bad. This wasn’t storms from Heaven, but rather, the sinful choices that others were making. They would be causing trouble because they were not following God. They had a form of godliness and they were learning, but it wasn’t doing these folks any good. Their pride and their selfish ways were taking them away from God. The fourth verse describes these folks as: “treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” There was more, but this is enough. This is enough to understand that those hearts were closed, sealed and nothing Timothy said would do any good.
In deed, troublesome times were coming. They didn’t have to be that way, but it was the choices of these people. Put these folks in a congregation and you have a real mess. I’ve known a few places like this. One person asked for my advice. I told him, close the doors and bulldoze the building down. It’s time to move on. Some are just not interested in doing what is right. Some can’t see the Lord for the mirror that they are holding in front of their face. Try to tell an arrogant person something. You can’t. And, a gossip, whatever is said, is repeated. It seems that these folks needed to start over with the Lord.
Then we find our verse, the contrast. “But you.” Timothy’s not like this. He listened. He followed. He changed. He walked with the Lord. Later in the chapter Paul says, “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and became convinced of” (v. 14). You are different. You are going a different direction. You have chosen the Lord.
Now, all of this brings us to some great lessons that we need to remember:
First, we do not have to be like those around us. Many work among toxic co-workers. The gossip, backbiting, meddling and putting down of all things good and decent is enough to make one scream. You, however, will be different. You will not participate, encourage, nor be a part of such things.
Sometimes, this wicked spirit is found within the family. So, family picnics include destroying the character of those they do not like. But you, however, will be different. Even if it is family, you walk with the Lord.
Sometimes, this wicked spirit is found among brethren. They can be so mean and hurtful. Some love to put others down, while they themselves are doing very little. But you, however, will be different. You come to worship God. You come to encourage others. You will not be a part of hurting the very people that Jesus died for.
Second, these things can wear us down. They can make us more tired that physical work. The fussing. The complaining. The lack of appreciation. The constant fighting. Never happy. Never content. Never thankful. And, if we are not careful, we find ourselves complaining about the complainers. We slide right into that same mold ourselves. But you, however, reminds us that we can be thankful when no one else is. We can be singing praises at midnight, after a beating, while in prison, as Paul did. Our family can let us down. Friends can disappoint us. Brethren sometimes are not there. But, the Lord is. He’s never failed. He’s always been there for you. So, we look not at what is going on around us, but above the clouds to the Lord.
Third, people are the way they are because of the choices that they have made. It may be hard to believe that some would choose to be miserable, but they do. They don’t have to complain, but they do. They don’t have to gossip, but they do. Sometimes the environment in which one is raised certainly pulls a person, but even then, one can choose to be different. With Timothy, it was what he learned from God’s word. He stood with God. Some talk with a potty mouth. They choose to do so. Some can not speak two sentences without cussing. Some can’t see anything positive, even if it was right in front of them. Their choice. Not Timothy’s. Not mine. Not yours. I pretty much have given up on talk radio and TV. Whether right or left, they seem to always bash the other side, complain about how terrible things are, and it puts me in a bad mood. So, I don’t watch things like that. My choice. It’s your choice what you fill your time with and what you feed your heart with.
Fourth, standing with God always gives us an edge. First, we follow what is right. We also know what’s going to happen down the road. And, we realize that God is always on the throne. Fear, worry, criticism, doubt, all seem to go away when you allow God to be God and you allow Him to run the universe. God shows us how to be righteous, kind and servants to others. God shows us how to use grace to forgive others. Some like hanging around pigs. They want to wallow in the mud with pigs. And, then, they want to complain about the smell and the filth. Get out of the mud and get away from the pigs.
Finally, Paul tells Timothy to put some distance between these people. In the fifth verse Paul tells Timothy to avoid such men as these. Don’t hang around them. Don’t let them influence you. Don’t let them decide what is right. Don’t let them rub off on you. And, don’t become like one of them. Avoid them. Avoid them because they are not serious about God. Avoid them because they are trouble. Avoid them because you will get discouraged and upset by their godless choices. Avoid them.
There are just some people that you do not need in your life. This is so hard for some of us to get. When that person happens to be in our family, we throw away all the rules and all the logic. But, they are family, some declare. Yet, they are walking right with these wicked people that Paul told Timothy to avoid. You must be the master of your home. Family or not, if someone is doing something wrong or offensive, show them the door. No one should cuss in your house. No one! No one should blasphemy the Lord or His ways in your house. No one! If they do, tell them to stop. If they don’t, open the door.
Our lives would be better if we simply learned to avoid certain people. They are not helpful nor hopeful. They are not going to bring the better out of us. They will not help us get to Heaven. They stand in our way and they make things worse. It’s enough to deal with Satan. We don’t need others to help him. Some folks on Facebooks just need to be “defriended.” Their comments pull us down and discourage us. It doesn’t matter if they are friends from high school, long ago. Avoid such men as these!
You, however, reminds us of what we ought to be doing!