Did you know that the very first selfie was posted on the internet in September of 2001 in Australia? That’s right, a photo revolution emerged, and now our social media accounts are plagued with solo-photos taken by our friends and family.
But in all seriousness, when our center shifts from loving God to loving oneself, we open ourselves to an array of sins. The Bible makes it clear that people of faith will be identified by love.
How we love people will be different depending on the relationship and by cultivating a nature of love, we can show all people love.
In 2 Timothy 3, Paul gives several warning signs to identify if we have strayed from the faith. The first category of warning signs that someone is not living by faith begins with being lovers of self and lovers of money.
The love of money is not the same as being wealthy, but is a person whose goal in life is gaining wealth by any means necessary.
- Money doesn’t love you.
- Money did not die for you so that your sins could be forgiven.
- Money makes a great servant but a horrible master.
- Only God is worthy of our life and our sacrifice.
Lover of self is the antithesis of love for God. We are to love God and to love people, Mark 12.
Being a lover of self does not refer to self-care but an overindulgence in loving me which displaces my love for God and others.
By displacing love for God and other people with love for ourselves, we become proud, arrogant, and abusive. The word abusive comes from the Greek word “blasphemos” and means speech that maligns people or God.
By speaking ill of co-workers, neighbors, republicans or democrats, friends, or family, people like us or those different from us, we are not acting in love and God is not honored.
As my mom used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
In today’s world, social media platforms would be absent of users if people followed that guideline.
If what you are saying to others or about others, or if the opinions you’re posting online are vilifying a person, whether they deserve it or not, you are not acting righteously, nor in love and not demonstrating the fruit of faith.
The unrighteous acts of others never justifies Christians from being unrighteous. Loving some people may mean being silent and praying for them, giving God space to deal with them.
The second set of characteristics beginning with disobedient to their parents. This enforces the importance of training up a child in the way he/she should go from an early age.
And shockingly with this, Paul pairs the words ungrateful, unholy, and heartless. The term ungrateful comes from the word “acharistos” and means, without kindness, unthankful.
Worse than ungrateful is heartless, which is defined as responding negatively to benevolence.
And even worse than heartless is unholy, which is to reject the process of transformation. We are called to be holy as God is holy, 1 Peter 1:6.
The next set of antithetical characteristics to love begins with the word unappeasable and describes a person who refuses to listen to terms of reconciliation.
They’re in a constant state of war, takes no prisoners, and views everyone with a different opinion as an enemy. They are born for strife.
This characteristic is grouped with slandering, which is spreading false rumors about another. This person has no self-control and has no allegiance to anyone.
The final group of warning signs begins with reckless. Reckless refers to someone who acts without thinking, putting themself or others in danger.
There is nothing about God that is reckless. Nothing. His actions are calculated, intentional, and always for our good.
“Swollen with conceit” speaks of one who is blinded by themselves and doesn’t see their flagrant flaws visible to God and everyone else.
Paul warns that these people have the appearance of godliness, meaning on the surface they say and do all the right things, but they do not produce spiritual fruit.
Jesus explained, “21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
The will of the Father is obedience, a life of faith. The significance and ramifications of love are worth taking a strict look at the fruit we produce.
Stay in God’s Word.
Be sure that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control are at work in and through you, so we can be outed as followers of Jesus!