Throughout scripture lie a series of positive qualities that are characteristic of holiness and Godliness. But every once in a while, the writer veers from this pattern and elaborates on the negative characteristics which mark some people. In short, it’s like a checklist for “how to be wretched.”
Not that we want to focus on the sinful qualities, and not that we have much control to overcome them apart from the Spirit’s help, but nevertheless, I don’t want to overlook any scriptural lists that might help convict my heart and align my life with Christ’s.
Checklist for how to be wretched
Before you discount this entirely, calm your heart and mind as you read these. Ask God to reveal if of these sins from 2 Timothy 3:1-9 have become a part of you:
- Lover of yourself
- Lover of money
- Disobedient to your parents
- Without love
- Without Self-control
- Not a lover of the good
- Lover of pleasure rather than of God
- Having a form of Godliness but denying it’s power
If you’re like me, some of those items hit home in an embarrassing and convicting way.
There may not be, on this side of heaven, a way to be entirely without any of these characteristics. God is in the beautiful and awful process of making each of us holy (sanctification). But to look over this list and acknowledge weaknesses allows me to humble myself before the Lord again and ask for His help.
God is good and faithful to forgive us and free us, who know all-too-well how to be wretched, of our sin.
And frankly, He does it so we can grow in intimacy with Him, not because he needs us to be good. His Son, Jesus, was already fully good.
He wants to have relationship with us. He wants to walk with us through the dirt and the grime of cleaning up our messy hearts and minds.
He’s not saying “be good so I can love you”. He’s saying, “I love you. Let me be with you and my goodness will purify all.”