2 Timothy 3:1-5 (TM) Don't be naive. There are difficult times ahead. (2) As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, (3) dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, (4) treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. (5) They'll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they're animals. Stay clear of these people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. (2) People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (3) without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, (4) treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- (5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
Paul's reference to the "last days" reveals his sense of urgency. The last days began after Jesus' resurrection when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers at Pentecost. The "last days" will continue until Christ's second coming. This means that we are living in the last days. So we should make the most of the time that God has given us
In the USA today, being a Christian is not especially difficult as far as persecution goes-in other words, people aren't jailed for reading the Bible or executed for preaching Christ. (However, this kind of persecution is very real for many believers across this world.) Paul's descriptive list of behavior in the last days describes our society-even, unfortunately, the behavior of many Christians. Check your life against Paul's list. Don't give in to society's pressures. Don't settle for comfort without commitment. Stand up against evil by living as God would have his people live.
Why is it so tempting to "love pleasure rather than God"? Pleasure is something we can control; God cannot be controlled. Most pleasures can be obtained easily; love for God requires effort and sometimes sacrifice. Pleasure benefits us now; the benefits of loving God are often in the future. Pleasure has a narcotic effect; it takes our minds off ourselves and our problems. Love for God reminds us of our needs and our responsibilities. Pleasure cooperates with pride. It makes us feel good when we look good in the eyes of others. To love God we must lay aside our pride and our accomplishments. Have you chosen to love pleasure, or to love God? How do you know?
When we overindulge in anything it loses its ability to make us happy. Smart people regularly back away from life's banquet table so it stays fresh and exciting. Pleasure-seekers on the other hand, dive in and wring every drop of gratification from it. But it doesn't work and here's why: (a) Neurologically it overloads the brain's pleasure centers and depletes your feel-good neuro-transmitters / serotonin. (b) Psychologically it creates unrealistic expectations and boredom. (c) Physiologically, overindulgence in anything (including food) creates tolerance, addiction and health problems.
Paul writes, "In the last days… people will be… lovers of pleasure." And seemingly benign pleasures can be the most seductive. For instance, if you lie in a recliner every night watching TV and eating junk food, you may not think you're in danger. But think again. While over 60,000 Americans die each year from illegal drug use, over 600,000 die from overeating and inactivity. That's way too high a price to pay for something that doesn't buy long-term happiness. The Bible says, "Your… motive is wrong - you want only what will give you pleasure" (James 4:3 NLT). Lasting pleasure should be your reward, not your pursuit!
Paul says, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross" (Galatians 5:24 NLT). Do you do that daily? God's not against pleasure as long as you remember that it's the dessert - not the main course! The truth is, true fulfillment can be found only in the center of God's will.
"Lord, I truly realize that we are living in the last days. Because of that we are seeing love for each other, and more importantly, love of God grow cold. Yet, we see sin and perversion increase. It is simply a sign of the time. One of those signs is becoming a "lover of pleasure more than a lover of God." Please forgive me for the times that I have put pleasure before you. I choose today to bow before Jehovah God and not the god of pleasure. In Jesus' name, amen!"