Tim Clinton, Ed.D.
“Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you [Timothy], continue in what you have learned.”
2 Timothy 3:13-14 NIV
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.”
— Winston Churchill
When the Apostle Paul penned his second letter to Timothy time was short. He could feel the executioner’s breath on his neck. Knowing this was his last correspondence with his spiritual son, Paul chose his words carefully. These were important words. He didn’t want Timothy to miss it. In the first couple of chapters, Paul encourages Timothy to, “fear not, be strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ, hold fast, endure hardness as a good soldier, study to show himself approved, shun profane and vain words, and flee youthful lusts.” But then, in chapter three, Paul gives Timothy a prophetic warning.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV)
Sounds like the daily news! Paul understood fully the direction that society was headed and the battles Timothy would be facing. He knew there would be times when the whole world would be against him and he would be forced to stand alone, that he was going to have to fight for the things he knew were right. What battles are you in? What has come against you? Where do you feel defeated?
Continuing his prophetic warning, Paul tells Timothy that, “Evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned” (2 Timothy 3:13-14).
By saying those words “But as for you” Paul is letting Timothy know that regardless of the world’s direction and pressures, he is set apart for a higher purpose. At times, this means standing alone against the tide of evil and making conscious choices to fight the fight of faith.
As men in today’s culture we too have been called to a higher purpose and be assured, we will often be called to stand alone against the rising tide of evil. When we do, we shouldn’t expect the world to applaud. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18 NKJ). Our hope is not in men but in the living God, who is the savior of all men (1 Timothy 4:10).
Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who recently married Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.