I’ve had many diagnostic tests on my vehicles. Various mechanics have hooked up their electronic testing units and assessed the codes which are evident through dashboard indicator lights connected to the network of sensors, modules and computers which make up recent vehicles.
I’ve taken some diagnostic tests on my personality. In various contexts, I’ve answered myriads of questions, and then waited with interested for the results. At times I’ve been puzzled, at others pressed to face a reality which analysis has brought to the surface.
In 2 Timothy 3, Paul lists the various ‘sinful’ assessments which Timothy should understand and apply in his own life and in the life of the congregation in Ephesus. Reading these in 2016, almost 2,000 years after they were written, it’s amazing to see how similar the 1st century was with today’s culture.
Lovers of themselves – What marks our ‘selfie’ driven culture, if not an inordinate self-love? It seems to be though we are to “Love our neighbour as ourself,” we don’t seem to get beyond the love of ourself.
Lovers of money – Jesus reminded his followers that ‘Noone can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money.’ Yet some try, and what wins out? Materialism with all its pressure to be discontented with God’s simple provisions.
Boastful – The ‘pride of life’ (I John 2:15-17) is one of the marks of a worldy culture. How many times do we use the words “I”or “me” in the course of a day.
Proud – Is this repetition simply for effect? Of is this the root of sin of ‘boasting?’
Abusive – I’ve been gripped by ‘Justice Missions’ who within Durham Region, Ontario, Canada, North America and around the world seek to extricate those who have been ‘trafficked’ by ‘family’ and so called ‘friends.’
Disobedient to their parents – This 5th commandment violation crosses many cultures. An overall disrespect for authority seems to be on the increase.
Ungrateful – Thankfulness is commanded in Scripture. A sense of feeling ‘entitled’ erodes any sense of gratitude. Honestly, I’ve wondered who atheists thank on Thanksgiving.
Unholy – The pursuit of holiness is commanded to believers (Hebrews 12:14). Without the Spirit of God we evidence a life with few boundaries,
Without love – The Greeks were familiar with ‘love’ and had 4 main words to depict various aspects of love – affection, friendship, physical/sexual and unconditional – (agape which dominates the New Testament application of God’s love.) What did the Spirit of God lead Paul to see in his culture if not a lack of love for God and for others?
Unforgiving – A unwillingness to forgive any past grievances had led many people to emotional and physical distress. Forgiveness is ‘not easy’ and may require the careful guidance of a wise counsel or.
Slanderous – Proverbs 18:21 reminds us all that the power of life and death is in the tongue. I was assigned to preach that text many years ago, and it often comes to mind as I weigh the impact of my words.
Without self-control – “The fruit of the Spirit is… self-control.” The lack of the Spirit’s presence means thoughts, words and deeds are motivated by sinful desires.
Brutal – Violence seems to be the first option, not the last resort. Our newscasts are filled with wrongful expressions of violence in families, communities and countries. ‘Peace on earth’ seems and is impossible when the prince of Peace is rejected.
Not Lovers of the Good – What sells when it comes to movies. Usually not ‘the good’ but the bad, right? Long before the media captured our minds and hearts, the Spirit of God warned Timothy through Paul of this rejection of God’s will.
Treacherous, Rash – Impulsiveness is not a blessing. ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time…’ seems a feeble defense for sinful actions spoken or done in haste.
Conceited – Wasn’t it pride that captured Satan’s heart? How about Nebuchadnezzar’s? Conceit deceives our minds and a lack of humility forfeits the grace offered by God.
Lovers of Pleasure rather than lovers of God – Are we not ‘entertaining ourselves to death?’ Even secular writers express their concern about our current enumeration with the pleasures of entertainment.
Godly in form but powerless in substance – I’ve watched some bizarre religious TV over the holidays. There are some strange ideas being marketed under the guise of Christanity.
Timothy needed a diagnostic tool for his day and so do we. May God grant us the gift of discernment about own own lives and the pursuit in which God has placed us. Where God has exposed sinful patterns in our own lives, may we be prompt to repent and turn from them that in all things we may bring glory to God as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen