by Tad Lindley
The Bible tells of a time when people would love pleasure much more than they would love God. In his teaching on the end time Jesus himself said, And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12) The apostle, Paul wrote to Timothy, In the last days, perilous times shall come. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, (II Timothy 3:1-4)
The greatest commandment
The Bible commands us to love God. One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:28-30 NIV)
Kid’s language of love
It’s nice when someone tells us they love us, but in most cases actions speak louder than words. Small children for instance spell love T-I-M-E, so if we are choosing to spend our free time with them, they feel loved. If we choose to spend our time on our cell phone, at bingo, out partying, or working excessive chronic overtime, and giving them only the leftovers to our children, the message is clear: in their eyes, we love those things more than we love them. If you are living like that, I urge you to change your life. Save those things for a time when your children are grown. While they are small, give them your time (and time spent on your phone on Facebook while they are in the same room with your does not count).
God’s languages of love
You will notice in the passage from II Timothy above, I bolded the phrase “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”. What does it look like when we love pleasure more than we love God? A great place to start is in our finances. If you spend more money on a pleasure than you invest in the Kingdom of God, it is a red flag. If you smoke a pack a day, that’s about $4,000 a year up in smoke. If you give less than that in tithes and offerings, it looks like nicotine is more important to you than the Kingdom.
How about time? I’m guilty of answering the phone when I’m eating dinner with my family. In their eyes it looks like taking the phone call is more important than taking time with them. How about with the Kingdom of God? If there is a game going on that happens to fall on a church night, do you go to church or go to the game? When you get up in the morning, who gets the first half hour of my day, Facebook, or Jesus? Do you have any pleasurable activities in your life that you spend more time at than you do in prayer and meditation?
You would if you loved him
Are you currently tithing and giving offerings beyond 10%? You would if you loved him (Matthew 23:23). Are you currently giving God freely of your time? You would if you loved him (John 9:4). Are you spending more time in the Bible than in social media? You would if you loved him (Proverbs 8:17). Are you spending more time studying his word than perfecting your three point shot? You would if you loved him (II Timothy 2:15).
Tad Lindley is a minister at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church.