“having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it” 2 Timothy 3:5
Denying – The Greek word arneomai has a big umbrella. It covers “deny, refute, refuse, reject, decline and give up”. Try reading this verse with some of the alternate meanings and see how it makes you feel.
“refuting the power” – like the current debates on marriage, sexuality, moral conduct.
“refusing the power” – like the megalomania about accumulation and self-control.
“rejecting the power” – like the cultural idol of religious tolerance.
“declining the power” – like the church’s failure to live prophetically
“giving up the power” – like the religious devotees who want a comfortable life
Jesus adds some color commentary about this word. Matthew 10:33 strikes a blow right at the center of denial. Denial has serious consequences.
Do you serve the God of all power? Then why do you quake at the sight of the terrorist or the taxman? Why do you shake and worry about taking care of “me and mine”? Why are you cowering before the shrill voices of ethical insanity? Why have you let illness or poverty or death defeat you? Why do you worship at a church that will not stand up in prophetic intolerance? Why do you sing hymns of praise and curse your neighbor? Why do you seek protection and provision instead of submission and service?
Do you follow the servant of all? Then why have you avoided the prisons? Why have you turned away from the deformed? Why do you feel uncomfortable among “those others”? Why are you segregated from sinners?
Do you know the God of full provision? Then why do you eat for comfort? Why do you shop for relief? Why do you cruise the Internet when you’re lonely? Why are you afraid to tell me who you really are?
There are many, many denials under the umbrella. Few of them are about doctrinal divisions. Doctrine was never about power. Values are about power. We say what we believe, but we do what we value.
Where’s the power in your life today?