Do you think some people living in our day are selfish, disobedient to parents, unloving, without natural affection, fierce, haters of good and lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God?
All you have to do is spend time reading the paper, surfing the Net or watching TV, and unless you are callous, blind or indifferent, you would have to admit these things are true. The Bible said these days would come a long time ago, and although these same characteristics could be applied to various times in history since this was written, how much more so today?
â€œBut understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of Godâ€ (2 Tim. 3:1-4 Amp).
Not a pretty picture, is it? We all live in the midst of some of the greatest crises in our families, cities and nations â€“ and it is growing worse day by day. On the other hand, we live in a time when weâ€™re seeing the greatest technological, scientific and medical breakthroughs that make life easier and more fulfilling. What a dichotomy! This situation reminds me of a humorous but insightful question uttered by some bright philosopher: â€œIs it progress if a cannibal eats with a knife and fork?â€
The Seven Giants
Before we point the finger at anyone, itâ€™s a good thing to look in the mirror at ourselves. We may find â€œThe Seven Giants of EROSâ€ staring back at us. The who? We are all familiar with the term â€œerotic,â€ as it refers to sex, but the truest meaning is that of selfishness, our greatest problem, and the first peril listed in the Scripture above â€¦ â€œlovers of self (and utterly) self-centered.â€
Writer/teacher Bob Mumford, author of The Agape Road, helps us see the giants in us that must be conquered if we are to conquer self, our biggest spiritual enemy! These giants are fierce and can display some of the worst human behavior, given the right (or wrong) situation. When I have shared these with many friends through the years, I often hear a groan or an â€œoh, my!â€ coming from them. We may abhor them, but they are all too real in many of us.
The Seven Giants of Eros
Look Good â€“ Over-concern for appearance or image rather than character. Look Good is not just concerned with outward appearance, but with creating a reputation that is not established in truth. It involves an improper or illegal search for originality, uniqueness in dress, language, automobile, skills, etc. It will pay any price and exerts a tremendous amount of effort to preserve its image. (Matthew 6:1)
Feel Good â€“ The pure pleasure principle. Feel Good avoids pain and discomfort at any cost, is committed to personal pleasure or gain, and is given to the senses or is sensual. It controls the emotions, mind, and heart and is the source or first cause of all compulsive and addictive behavior. (James 4:3)
Be Right â€“ The inability to admit that we are wrong. A â€œknow-it-allâ€ paralyzed by the domino theory â€“ if wrong once, how can we be sure we have ever been right? Because the mind rules the emotions, Be Right is focused, controlled, and overly committed to his or her own evaluations, ideas, and concepts. The fear of being wrong or challenged makes them increasingly rigid â€“ a form of stubbornness and rebellion. Be Right often uses anger and rage as protective mechanism to prevent being discovered. (Job 40:8)
Stay in Control â€“ Demands to have his hands on the steering wheel â€“ He always wants to be in control because then everyone is safe and the results are guaranteed. Because he thinks he is god, Stay in Control must determine the outcome of everything for everyone. He experiences anxiety regarding the future because it may be just beyond his control. Stay in Control refuses to take no for an answer. He is a control freak determined to have everything and everyone that touches his sphere of life within his power and subject to his influence. (Esther 1:12)
Have a Hidden Agenda â€“ He is covert with words of peace and a heart of criticism. Hidden Agenda is like a snowball with a rock in it. With this Giant in operation, we lie in ambush with undisclosed motives, watching for weakness and vulnerability, ready to spring the trap, which has been disguised and then set with lies or half-truths. We hide one thing in our hearts while proclaiming another. This Giant is a user; it seeks to use life, people, and every situation to advance his own interests. (Matthew 10:26-27)
Take Personal Advantage â€“ This Giant uses others to accomplish its own agenda. It is constantly maneuvering for title, position, or recognition. When he is not the center of attention, he suffers envy and pain. We ask â€œwhatâ€™s in it for me?â€ and will help others only if it directly benefits us. Selfish ambition. (Jude 1:16)
Remain Undisturbed â€“ Unwilling to be inconvenienced. Undisturbed is not as blatant as the other six â€“ he is insidious, secretive, subtle, and sophisticated. This Giant disguises himself as the need for stability, perhaps as the need to preserve his reputation or the honor of respectability when more is asked of him than he wants to give. Undisturbed says, â€œI will follow you, but I cannot follow you that far!â€ It is that subtle difference between admiration for Christ and identification with Him. (Jeremiah 48:11 and Luke 10:30-35)
Like Goliath of old, these seven menacing behemoths are ugly, treacherous and challenge the Armies of God as never before! True, they are worldly, conniving and totally bent on using others to the best of their abilities. But the real sad part is they are found smack dab in the middle of every church, where they divide and conquer unity!
Since these giants are manifestations of the carnal nature in us, the only way to kill these giants is to apply the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The Scripture is clear: When Jesus died we died with Him and all these ugly traits in us (Rom. 6:6, 6:11). Even though spiritual salvation will get us to heaven, these giants remain until they are dealt with one by one, as we are faced with lifeâ€™s situations in which the giants, in effect, come alive in all their maliciousness, when we feel our self-life needs â€œprotecting.â€
Steps to take:
- Recognition â€“ To see patterns and how they are affecting our lives and those of others.
- Repentance â€“ Choosing change, determining to stop patterns by bringing judgments and expectations to death on the cross in prayer.
- Prayer â€“ Specific, focused and Spirit led.
- Prayers of forgiveness â€“ Pray out loud, â€œI choose to forgive Mom, Dad, Husband/Wife, others. Forgive me, Lord, for resenting/hating…
- Prayers of death â€“ To demolish strongholds/structures of judgment & expectancy, habits, attitudes & reflexes by taking them to the cross (Gal. 2:20; Gal 5:24).
- Prayers of resurrection & life â€“ â€œLord, restore (be specific) or say reverse the old pattern; restore to new life & give a new heart in the place where the old heart has ruled.â€
Joseph Beckham is the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls – http://amzn.com/1493781286