2 Timothy 4:2-4 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 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; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
If you have ever traveled through a patch of poison ivy, you know firsthand what ‘scratching the itch’ means.
The irritation caused by this plant raises the skin with bubbles of fluid that the body produces to soothe the irritation. The oil of the plant transfers to other parts of the body by scratching the affected area, then touching an unaffected area, thus spreading the oil.
Paul is telling Timothy that there will be those who will not endure sound doctrine or teaching. They will find those who intrigue them, fascinate them, or present an area of interest whose end is not according to God’s will.
Who we allow to influence us matters. What I allow to be a resource for truth will affect the fruit in the end.
We are the sum of what we’ve been taught. Often, we become confused when the teachers of our past conflict with the message we are hearing. Paul tells Timothy, and us that we must adopt a standard by which we gauge truth because some cause us to stray from the truth.
I had dealt with those whose confusion became highlighted when they came to know right, biblical Christianity. But, before they could fully accept it, it had to go through the filter of past teaching.
What follows are questions that can only be answered by scripture. We must not and cannot teach philosophies or denominational beliefs not backed biblically. God’s Word MUST be the final authority.
Matthew 4:4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
We may say we know this verse to be true. We may even agree that it should be the principal in our life.
But can I ask, do we employ this truth practically in every area?
When making decisions large or small, do we consult the Bible first, bathe it in prayer, then get counsel if it is unclear or use it to confirm God’s direction? Many have founded a ministry on a ‘vision’ only to find in the end that it served ego more than God.
New ministries and preachers become famous and become visible to a widening audience. How they handle the elevation and advancement will determine not only the end but the longevity of their ministry.
The dichotomy between good and evil is not discerned easily because of who is behind it.
Paul admonishes the church at Corinth.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
When coupled with the fact that I cannot trust my own heart or thought patterns, I need a resource, a standard with which to make good and right decisions.
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Proverbs 16:25 “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
When seeking truth and counsel for a decision, my inklings, gut, or emotion cannot play a part.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
There may be a truth taught that will capture my attention. It may appeal to an area of my life that would bring comfort, or solve a problem, or bring prosperity.
Satan attacks our weakest points. God allows it so we may trust Him and gain strength in those areas. Using the principles of God’s Word, we can navigate even the most treacherous of waters.
Peter stepped out of the boat on faith and sunk because of the lack of it. We must allow faith to sustain the decisions God guides us and counsels us to make.
I will leave you with this parting thought:
“Never undo in doubt what’s decided in faith.”
Good morning and Happy Monday!