Day 15

Rough Road Ahead

from the reading plan

2 Timothy 3:1-9, Ephesians 5:15-17

BY Debbie Eaton

Text: 2 Timothy 3:1-9, Ephesians 5:15-17

But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days.
– 2 Timothy 3:1, HCSB

I recently had a conversation with a young woman who resigned from her job at a coffee shop. When I asked why she left, her answer surprised and saddened me. She said she could not take another day of rude, entitled and demanding customers. She was weary of being yelled at several times a day and frustrated by the lack of respect for people who were working hard to make sure orders were correct. She told me it was rare to have a customer show any appreciation and it was affecting her ability to see good in people.

I walked away from that conversation wondering at how uncivil we can be to one another in our self-centered ways. But the truth is, the problem goes much deeper than our behavior—the root of our actions is in our hearts.

It is interesting how accurately the list of behaviors Paul warns Timothy about describe our society today. Even more disturbing are the warnings about those who have the outward appearance of being a Christian, yet their actions do not align with God’s ways. They have the behavior of a believer, but that behavior is not rooted in a believing heart. Going to church, attending a bible study, using Christian clichés, listening to worship music, following religious rules—it’s all meaningless when done just for show. Like God said to Samuel in the 1 Samuel 16:7, “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

As followers of Jesus, you and I are to be courageous, intentional and resilient in seeking God’s truth and desiring His will for our lives. We do this by remaining prayerfully in God’s Word. His Word equips for the day! His Word protects, encourages and gives wisdom. When we lean into His wisdom and goodness rather than manufacturing our own, we can walk with confidence—even in the midst of those difficult times Scripture promises we’ll encounter. When we anchor ourselves in God’s truth, it changes the way we see and respond to the people and situations around us.

In Ephesians 5:15-16, Paul encourages believers to make the most of the time they have, carefully walking in the ways of the Gospel “because the days are evil.” You and I don’t have to follow suit and join in the chorus of God-denying behavior Paul warns against in his letters. We can show kindness and gentleness, love and honor, outwardly living the inward hope we have in Jesus!

We’re given 100+ hours a week to live like the Gospel is true, 100+ hours to demonstrate the merciful exchanges we’ve experienced because of Jesus—kindness for cruelty, generosity for greed, humility for self-promotion, love for hate.

And it all starts here, with humble hearts knee-deep in God’s Word, submitting our will to His and deepening our roots in His truth.





Post Comments (68)

68 thoughts on "Rough Road Ahead"

  1. It’s not about behavior modification, it’s about a heart the loves Jesus! To love Jesus more we must spend time in His Word seeking after Him!

  2. Julia says:

    This could yet again not have been more perfect timing. As I waitress at a baseball park I see these horrible people everyday and make me lose faith in others. However it is in those small and all to brief moments when a customer is nice or leaves a great tip then I think it’s all worth it. I guess God knows what I need to here when I need to hear it.

  3. LeighBP says:

    This is amazing. Thank you. The days are so evil…

  4. Emily says:

    God is always perfect in His timing! I have gotten behind on this study but truly needed it’s conviction in my life. Especially, “We’re given 100+ hours a week to live like the Gospel is true, 100+ hours to demonstrate the merciful exchanges we’ve experienced because of Jesus—kindness for cruelty, generosity for greed, humility for self-promotion, love for hate.” I had an incident yesterday that reacting to in an ungodly way. Instead of taking the opportunity to show God’s love, my attitude and actions did quite the opposite! My husband was the one took the lead and let his light shine in the darkness, and at the time I was angry (a.k.a. Feeling convicted and trying to justify my actions), but now I so humbled and so grateful to have such a strong Christian leader for a husband. He challenges me in every way. Today I choose to put aside my own desires to put others first and allow God’s light to shine through me. Thank you for this ministry! It means so much to me♥️

  5. Antimony says:

    “We can show kindness and gentleness, love and honor”. We don’t have to be overcome by what is around us. I can choose to respond spitefully or with kindness. Doesn’t really take THAT much more of me … but it can be the only thing that shines light into someone’s darkness.

  6. Tomeco says:

    I am a little behind as well. This lesson is just what I needed. I am actually struggling with showing love to people I dislike. I know that I have to allow my outward appearance reflect my heart. You know the saying don’t get on my bad side.. well I don’t want to have a bad side. I’m pretty sure God doesn’t have a bad side because if he does I am probably on it!

  7. Niki says:

    A little behind on my reading, so I just read this on 5/9. These are things with which my family is struggling much with lately. Good Christian friends being hurtful and harmful. The last two weeks have been awful and I just don't know how to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but I am. The hard part is that it is the elders in our church doing this and as we read through 1 and 2 Timothy, it just saddens me. Trying hard to forgive, trying hard to model love and doing what is right because it is right, but man, I am struggling.

  8. Suzanne says:

    Today’s message was late by some measure but perfect timing for me. Wednesday we had a guest minister at our church, Joe Morris, who talks of end times. He is wonderful and this is his calling. He will be with us every Wednesday this month and I am so excited to hear what God has to tell us thru this man. We are in end times and the signs are here. It is more important than ever we understand what we are to do and how we are to act in these last days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *