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.

 

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Post Comments (68)

68 thoughts on "Rough Road Ahead"

  1. Jenifer says:

    “2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5having a form of godliness but denying its power.” If I admit it and I bet if we all truly look at this list we could all admit to atleast one of these. which scares me, convicts me. I don’t want to be a lover of self or love pleasure instead of God but if I look deep down or look at my day, I ask myself am I living for God or myself? Does anyone else feel this way?

    1. Chelsea says:

      Yes Jenifer, I also question my actions and if they are in alignment with truly pleasing our Lord or am I seeking pleasure for myself and my wants…. This post was perfect! Definitely caused me to reflect on where my efforts are really at in pleasing our Heavenly Father! We can do this, we have to stay strong in the good fight! I believe in all of us, and how blessed we are to be involved in this sister community full of encouragement! Have a beautiful day :)

      1. Jenifer says:

        Thank you for the encouragement! :)

  2. Mary says:

    I think as Christians it is so easy to focus on behavior modification, especially when it comes to new believers or seekers.
    Our first priority when it comes to new believers and seekers should be to help them know Christ more. As they come to truly know Him, behaviors will change as a natural byproduct because Christ is softening and changing their hearts.

  3. Elle says:

    Pray for my brother

  4. Brittany says:

    I am a nurse and I also can relate to the coffee shop worker. I had thought about leaving my profession because I felt the same way. But through this study God has opened my eyes. I am our Lord’s servant and must remember to look at each one of my patients with the same loving eyes that I look at our Lord. I can not do it alone. For it is not I who is at work each day but our Lord, working His plan through me.

    1. Meriss a says:

      A good nurse is like an angel on earth. I’ve had a few stays in the hospital where one nurse made all the difference. And one mean one makes you dread shift change. Thank you for all you do!

  5. Kimone says:

    This is the Gospel. True reflection of Christ. He treated all with kindness and respect and that is the same for us. All are one and the same in the sight of God and so should they be in ours. Don’t let the behavior of others determine how you treat them. Only love can conquer hate.
    Really love this. Thank you all. God bless.

  6. Brandy says:

    I really needed to hear this today too. I struggle with my responses to rudeness (a lot of times it actually causes me to be anxious), and today's devo and comments have really encouraged me. Thank you SRTers for sharing your experiences and helping others!

  7. Meriss a says:

    Coffee shop lady, I feel your pain. I’m an insurance agent and it has 100% changed the way I perceive people. Fraud, lies, yelling. I’ve been praying for the ability to see the good in people again. Acts of charitable giving to the young and old have helped me.

  8. kst says:

    . . . the victory of the Lord to be squelched. We are often the only Christ that many people see each day. What a wonderful thing if we could all give out the joy so that the Lord would be proud to call us one of His! We need to live as victors and as defeated.

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