Day 17

Know Hard Times Are Ahead

from the 1 & 2 Timothy reading plan


2 Timothy 3:1-13, John 15:18-21, Romans 8:31-39

BY Melanie Rainer

When I graduated from seminary, our commencement speaker took an unusual approach to the graduation speech. He congratulated us, of course, but then proceeded to tell us (winsomely and kindly) just how difficult ministry is. Because no matter how many books we had read or talks we had practiced giving, the hands-on ministry to real people in real, hard situations would be immensely challenging. Thankfully, God is on His throne, and we are never alone. 

This is, essentially, Paul’s goal in the third chapter of 2 Timothy. He is writing to his protégé, a young pastor working in Ephesus, a city known for its prevalence of false religious teachers and its peoples’ propensity to follow them. And so Paul gives it to Timothy straight: hard times are coming. 

The “last days” (2Timothy 3:1) Paul uses here is a phrase that Peter used in Acts 2 to describe the time after Jesus’s ascension, so this isn’t referring to some future time for Timothy but rather to the on-the-ground realities of his current ministry. It also applies to us, as we are still living in the last days awaiting Christ’s return. And so what can we expect? Hard times. Particularly in regards to preserving the truth of the gospel against false teachers. 

I look at Paul’s list of characteristics, and I certainly see myself in some of those words. Likely we all do, but the point Paul is making is that when people (who as false teachers, claim Christ) are governed by those things instead of by the Word of God and a saving faith in Christ alone, we should beware. Why? Because each of those things in Paul’s list suggests a priority given to something other than Jesus Christ. The list builds on itself: first love of self, then money, which leads to pride, which leads to being ungrateful, which can lead to love and pursuit of pleasure over God, and ultimately denying the power of God in their lives. It is a gospel of self-control: if I can earn more, own more, have more fun, have more followers, then perhaps I don’t need Jesus. 

Paul urges Timothy to stand in faith and truth when his flock begins to stray, and Paul uses his own experiences as an example in verses 10–11. But Paul gives God the credit for helping him stand firm and in doing so gives Timothy an example to follow. He gives us an example as well. 

Living a godly life isn’t easy, but it is the one God calls us to. And God and his Word should be our north star, the source of our wisdom, and our roadmap for living. When false teachers or the temptations we face to pursue our pleasures over God come our way (which they will), we can cling to the example of Paul and Timothy, and the promises of God to rescue us. 

Post Comments (53)

53 thoughts on "Know Hard Times Are Ahead"

  1. Stormi Messmer says:

    ❤️

  2. Searching says:

    Heads up, Sisters – Day 18 (for Thursday, May 19) devo & scriptures are misnumbered as Day 16 (so there are 2 “Day 16” postings. Title is for the day is Preach the Word. Posting this on Day 17 also as I was so confused!

  3. Lexi B says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank you so much for your openness and sharing your testimony on Spotify. I ended up following you on Insta; I’m apeachinfresno.
    I came out of the prosperity movement and have seen first hand how harmful this false teaching can be. It really warped my view of Christ for a while. Thankfully found sound teaching and now attend a church that is run by the holy spirit and teaches the gospel.

    Praying for all requests here; have a wonderful day she’s!

  4. Traci Gendron says:

    PATTY – I quit using the app and now use my computer. I find it so much easier to read and comment on my laptop.
    I like the comment that it is a gospel of self control. One of the important fruits of the spirit that seems to get a bit overlooked.

  5. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    Jennifer Loves Jesus- I am right there with you. I also would not trade what I’ve been through, as it has certainly drawn me closer to my Savior. Hallelujah.

  6. AZ Walker says:

    Thanks for sharing your podcast testimony Michele Patire. I just listened on Spotify. Just curious if your brothers and sisters listened to it. I remember you asked for prayer for them to have a relationship with Jesus. Praying for everyone here and your requests for you and your loved ones.

  7. Michelle Patire says:

    @claire B– I just followed!! I love some of the things I looked at!!

    @Mercy — thank you for your kind words. I am careful when I share this story but I have been in the SRT community enough to know that you ladies are usually receptive of truth ;)

  8. Mercy says:

    This verse came to my mind as reading the list of last day people characteristics. “This is how the Lord responds: “If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak good words rather than worthless ones, you will be my spokesman. You must influence them; do not let them influence you!”
    Jeremiah 15:19 NLT. It takes the Spirit of Truth, Spirit of wisdom and discernment from the Lord for us to know what is truth and almost truth. Thank you @Michelle Patire for sharing your experience. I totally agree and am encouraged by your boldness in exposing the work of the devil. Praying for the requests shared. May we come to Him diligently to practice hearing from Him besides learning His Word to discern the deadly pitfalls in these last days. Be blessed dear beautiful sisters.

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