Times have changed. My grandchildren find it amazing when I talk of days before home computers and of having our phone hanging on the wall. It is hard to convince them of the old “party lines” when you had to wait for your neighbor to finish their conversation before you could use the phone. Times really have changed.
I was a teenager in the ’70s. My siblings are 11 and eight years older than me, so I had the privilege of watching and experiencing teenage years of the sixties and seventies. I do remember dad complaining about the music, long hair, and fashion styles of “the kids nowadays.” I do not know if dad was more accepting or just got tired of the fight, but he did not nag me about such things as much as he did my sister and brother.
I reckon every generation disapproves of the youthful trends of the generation following them. I once read of Albert Einstein complaining of the new music style of the 1920s. The major beefs I hear from parents of teens and twenties today are not about hairstyles or clothing, but heart attitudes, things like selfishness, laziness, and arrogance. Just as not every kid from the sixties and seventies had long hair and wore bell-bottom pants and tie-dyed shirts, not everyone from the current generation has these attitudes, but there is enough of a trend for one generation to express concern over the next.
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about the last days. Paul told him, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come,” 2 Timothy 3:1. Paul then goes on and gives a list of why the times will be so “perilous.” This list does not include what people typically think of in the last days; earthquakes, wars, natural disasters and the like. It is a list of actions and heart attitudes that will be prevalent during the period. I will write Paul’s list (found in 2 Timothy 3:2-5) below; some I’ll put a few words of explanation; some will not need any explanation.
• “Men shall be lovers of their own selves” = Me, myself and I become No. 1 in life. Everything else is secondary. Life is devoted to my desires.
• “Covetous” = I must have (fill in the blank). I can’t live without (fill in the blank).
• “Boasters” = I am the greatest, and everyone else needs to know that.
• “Proud” = The emotion within a person that causes the action of boasting. Pride does not, however, need to include boasting.
• “Blasphemers” = Disrespect to God.
• “Disobedient to parents.”
• “Unholy.” = Having pleasure in sin.
• “Without natural affection.” = Leaving affections that God deems as natural such as the love a mother has for her children, a man toward his wife, a woman toward her husband, the love between siblings, and so on.
• “Trucebreakers.” = Backing out of previously made agreements.
• “False accusers.” = It is always someone or something else’s fault.
• “Incontinent.” = Lacking self-restraint; being uncontrollable.
• “Fierce.” = Hostile, violent and aggressive.
• “Despisers of those that are good.”
• “Traitors.” = A complete lack of loyalty.
• “Heady.” = To do things without thinking of the consequence of our actions.
• “High-minded.” = To be blinded by self-pride.
• “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”
• “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” = Saying we believe righteousness is the correct path but living something else entirely.
There is it – Paul’s list of the predominate heart attitudes of the last days. Do you see these in others? More importantly, do you see any of these in yourself?
Is the day in which we live just another older generation complaining about the young people coming up behind them or are we on the threshold of “perilous times?”
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Email him firstname.lastname@example.org.