Father, what a wonderful list of things to both pursue and stay away from, for my own good! I love that You say to “flee the evil desires of youth” because not all desires of youth are evil. Being young doesn’t mean one is evil, just that one might be more susceptible to evil. When I was younger, it was more important to me to be ‘right’ so I would press my point and become involved in unproductive arguments. You refer to them as “foolish and stupid”. I agree. And have since learned the value of a soft word and gentle instruction.
Even so, You share that “…in the last days…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…swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth”. Paul saw this already in his day. I see it all around me.
It almost seems there is an entire generation described above. Paul says: “they will not get very far because…their folly will be clear to everyone”. Unfortunately, with an entire generation behaving like this, it appears as the norm. Television shows and media portray fathers, police, authority figures as idiots, not worthy of obedience or respect. More and more our political leaders and sports heroes turn out to be corrupt cheaters. Some of our children grew up knowing You and were taught Your values, but they have turned away from You in this permissive and deadly society.
But there are many who love You and follow You. Let them be role models and mentors to this generation. And let me live a godly life as an example. I seek and value You and Your characteristics, but sometimes pride and ungratefulness (as an example) rear their ugly heads in me. I have Your Word to be my guide. Your Word is effective for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. And it will “equip me for every good work”.
For all of us the answer is in Your Word, and IS Your Word. Keep it in the forefront of my mind as a guide. But also let me use it wisely in gently correcting and praying for others. Father, return this generation of self absorbed, materialistic, pleasure-seeking people to the godly values that will save them. They have been deceived. Open their eyes Lord, before it’s too late. Bring the Prodigal sons and daughters home. Amen