“Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5 MSG
I was watching a new television show called, “The Good Doctor,” a show about a young autistic doctor who wants to be a surgeon even though he’s surrounded by skeptical people. He’s extremely, “otherworldly “ gifted. In his first surgery he assists one of the top surgeons. The surgeon tells him that he will be relegated to suctioning blood because he doesn’t belong in the operating room.
The “good doctor” looks at him and with robotic, childlike honesty he says, “I’ve studied under many surgeons, but you are the best. But you are arrogant. Does that help you to do your job better?”
The surgeon was the best at what he did but he had the worst character that contradicted him being a “good doctor.”
What makes a person a “good Christian?” The “good doctor “ had autism but he had great character; unfiltered honesty. It’s frustrating running into people who have a form of godliness but their character doesn’t match. The apostle Paul tells young Timothy to stay away from them.
If we had to stay away from every person with bad character traits we’d have to move to a remote island. What Paul is saying is, “stay away from people who pretend to be submitted to God, but their character proves otherwise.”
In the last days it’s going to get worse. If you don’t have a real relationship with Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will all resort to bad acting. You can’t produce fruit if you don’t have the root. You shall know a tree by the fruit it bears.
Paul says stay away from religious people with this kind of fruit:
- Self-absorbed—all they talk about is themselves. They think the world revolves around them. Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought to. Godly people are humble and think of others first.
- Money hungry—all of us need money to survive but we shouldn’t wear ourselves out trying to get rich. The love of money is the root of all evil. The writer of Proverbs says, Keep me from lying and being dishonest. And don’t make me either rich or poor; just give me enough food for each day. If I have too much, I might reject you and say, ‘I don’t know the Lord.’ If I am poor, I might steal and disgrace the name of my God.
- Self-promoting—these are people that love to brag on themselves. The Bible says, “Let another man boast about you.” Your gifts will make room for you not your boasts.
- Stuck up—these are people who think they are better than everybody. Jesus never met a stranger. He loved people.
- Mocking God—they talk about God disrespectfully. When Job got sick and lost everything. His wife told him to curse God and die. He told her she was crazy. Even at his lowest Job respected God.
- Disrespectful of parents—these people don’t honor their spiritual or natural parents. We are supposed to honor our parents that our days may be long upon the earth.
- Crude—not yet processed or refined. These people claim they are saved but refuse to be developed or discipled. Peter was raw when Jesus met him but he was refined over time. He stopped cussing and cutting off ears after the resurrection.
- Coarse—talk to people any old kind of way. They are rough. As believers we have to be careful how we talk to people. Our speech should be seasoned with love.
- Dog eat dog—very competitive and cut throat. With friends like these you don’t need enemies.
- Unbending—these people are always up for a fight and don’t know how to compromise. Don’t argue with religious spirits.
- Slanderers—these are people who love talking about people. As believers we should only say things that build people up not tear them down.
- Impulsively wild—they have no self-discipline. They do whatever their flesh wants to do without any thought to consequences.
- Savage—they will hate what is good. These people have no regard for people’s feelings.
- Cynical—they have no positive outlook on life. Their glass is always half empty.
- Treacherous—guilty of or involving deception and betrayal. These people can’t be trusted.
- Ruthless—they don’t have pity or compassion for others.
- Bloated windbags—they are always talking but ain’t saying nothing.
- Addicted to lust—they always want what they’re not supposed to have.
- Allergic to God—they’d rather pursue pleasure than be in the presence of God. God has been replaced by things that make them feel good in the interim. The eternal has been replaced by the temporary.
- They have a form of godliness but there’s no power to go with it. Stay away from people act like they follow God but have any of these character traits.
We draw who we are. So if we look at this list and discover that we have been guilty of any of these we have to repent and ask God to renew the right spirit within us.
Don’t let me become what I hate by trying to love myself too much. Everything begins and ends with you. Search me, oh God, and if you find anything in me that’s not like you, change me, oh God, through and through. Help me to be intentional on the people I associate with. Don’t let me be a “good Christian” with bad character. Because there’s no such thing.
In Jesus’ Name,