2 Timothy 3:2-5
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,…
The moral effects of this exorbitant and over-mastering love of pleasure are very awful. In cases of the greatest excess, the very body gives way under it. Gluttony, drunkenness, licentiousness, not only eclipse the mental lights, and scorch the moral sensibilities of the soul, but they hasten the body to dissolution; they dig many a dishonoured grave. But apart from these physical consequences, and even in those cases where they do not follow, the moral effects of the love of pleasure are very sad. Take a tree that needs firm rooting and fresh air, and put it in a hothouse, or in some steamy vaporous place where no winds reach it, and where light is dim, and see how weak and how faded it will become. Such is the man who has blotted out the word "duty" from the plan of his life, and written "pleasure" there in its stead; who feels life no longer to be a moral strife, with God and goodness as its end, but only a low and ignoble endeavour to snatch enjoyment and secure comfort. That man must wither even while he seems to bloom; he must fall, however he may appear to rise; to him there are no stirrings of noble impulse, no victories of the will, no clear light of supreme law. Life is a song, a play, a picture, a feast, a superficial shallow thing — for the man is a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God. And when men sink thus far, it is very hard to raise them. The worm is at the heart of the tree — the corrosive stain is beneath the surface — it is eating the metal through and through. "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." Dead in this sin, the love of pleasure. The noblest things have gone now. There is nothing left to which we can appeal.
I. FROM SUCH TURN AWAY, not only from the wicked men described in the passage, but from pleasure lovers. Turn away from them, from the frivolous, the butterfly race, who find no seriousness in life, who take no time for thought, who have no spirit of prayer, and no love of God. Such people can do you only harm. If they were willing to bless you, they have no means of doing it. Their life is a scanty rill; and if you find that you cannot influence them, then turn from them, lest you put your own soul in peril.
II. We may take this as a guiding rule of invariable and universal application — THAT DUTY IS TO STAND MORALLY SUPREME IN OUR LIFE. It is to be far above enjoyment of every kind. We shall never be safe otherwise. If life is moral, it must be moral all through — from its lowest to its highest things.
III. THERE MUST BE SELF-DENIAL IN EVERY TRUE HUMAN LIFE. We are not safe without that. We shall not keep our life wholesome, green, and growing, without a good deal of self-denial in it. Self-denial is like the pulling of the reins now and again, just to see that we have those fiery coursers, the passions, well in hand. It is like the touching of the helm when the sea runs high, or the tides are treacherous, to make sure that the ship will answer to it if there should be sudden need to turn her course.
IV. THE LOVE OF GOD, POSSESSED AND CULTURED, WILL CERTAINLY SAVE US FROM THE DEGRADATION AND THE DOOM OF SUCH A LIFE AS THAT AGAINST WHICH WE ARE HERE WARNED. The love of pleasure is not put in the text against the love of God, as if they were direct opposites. The sin is to love pleasure more than God; the cure is to love God more than pleasure, and pleasure only in a moderated sense in Him.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,