During this week, Time With God will break from its regular format to explore selected passages to prepare our hearts for the coming New Year.
What was this past year like for you and your family? How did the pandemic shape and change your year? What were some highs and lows? Typically, the week before the New Year is a great time to reflect on all that has occurred during the past year. It helps us gain perspective on what is to come. We pray that this week in God’s Word will be a rich time of reflection and prayer.
READ THE WORD: 2 TIMOTHY 3:1-7 (ESV)
3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
RESPOND TO GOD
Difficulties are part of life for everyone, and some of us have experienced greater difficulties than others in this past year. They have tried our strength, our patience, and sometimes even our faith. One of the most frequent questions I hear from people during times of trial and difficulty is “Why?” Today’s passage sheds a bit of light on that. People will love all kinds of things rather than God. Misplaced love results in hurt and harm to others, and very often in hurt and harm to ourselves. Our sin, and the sin of all humankind, has broken the world as God intended it be and ushered in all manner of sorrow and death.
To grow in faith does not mean to deny the difficulties of life, but to admit them, confess them, and learn from them. The following questions are here to help you reflect on the past year and the challenges and trials you have undoubtedly experienced.
Read through the list of misplaced loves in verses 2-4.
- Of the harder parts of this year, which ones were a result of other people’s actions and attitudes you find listed here? Who do you need to forgive this year? Is there anything you need to do to heal a relationship that has been broken?
- Which of the misplaced loves in these verses do you see in yourself? How have your misplaced loves caused harm to you? How have your misplaced loves caused hurt to others? Is there anyone in your life from whom you need forgiveness?
Talk to God about the events of this past year.
- Pray for the people that have hurt you this year. Ask God to heal them and to forgive them. Ask God for the courage and strength to forgive others as God has forgiven you.
- Talk to God about your own misplaced loves. Ask forgiveness for the specific items you identified that are listed in these verses.
- Spend some time thanking and praising God that he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:8-9).