Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Itching Ears

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 2 Timothy 4:3

The time has already come. This verse, in particular, refers to Christians who have no interest in the correct teaching of God's Word, but would rather hear something that agrees with what they already have chosen. Paul is instructing a young man, Timothy, to not give in to the call for teaching that dilutes the Word of God to make people feel good.

Over the centuries, some churches have continually sought to draw in people by adjusting the teaching to appeal to the current trend or tradition. There is much “feel good” teaching today that draws great crowds. While this is not an indictment of all mega churches, many of them draw crowds with “feel good” messages. The old nature will always want to be told that it is doing better, that it's alright to continue its own path and still find the blessing of the Lord.

Even society at large pushes on the church to teach according to the philosophy and wisdom of the world. They want the church to adapt its teaching to whatever man has decided is acceptable. Because many of God's people do not want to be seen as different from the world, many "church leaders" begin to interpret the Word so as to line up with the accepted value of the day. They will tell us that we have been interpreting wrong all these years. They tell us that things don't mean what we think they mean, or that God has changed His mind on certain topics.

We get marked as intolerant, and closed minded. It seems that the day road would be to just conform to whatever they want. However, we are encouraged to “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Rom. 12:2. God is separating His people from the world. There is supposed to be a difference in God's people.

Even Israel, in the Old Testament, often refused to listen to the words of the prophets when they did not prophesy the things people wanted to hear. They wanted to be like the period around them, but God had called them to be separate into to Him. This is a perpetual condition of man. The unbeliever does not want to hear about the danger of continuing in his way. Some believers do not want to hear about the perfect will of God. They just want to be affirmed in whatever way they are already taking.

The really sad part is that God has something so much better for us than we could ever find on our own path. When we are truly willing to listen to God's Word and accept it as it is, we are truly blessed, and He changes us from glory to glory.

Gordon Crook