There are times when reading the Bible, a phrase or sentence really catches my attention. Some of those phrases seem to beg for your attention. “Hey, look at me, right here, I’m trying to tell you something”. As this happens we should take the time to prayerfully seek meaning and understanding.
Paul really had a way of writing such phrases, and I often wonder if he thought back over the words he is credited with writing and thought to himself “that really has a ring to it”. In the course of reading through first and second Timothy there were several instances where this really stood out to me. For the sake of time and space I will share the one that still beckons for attention:
2nd Timothy:4:3: 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;
2nd Timothy:4:4: And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
For the time will come. It has quite an ominous sound, doesnt it? There, in that phrase, God says that a certain time is coming. When God says something is coming, it is a duty to look for and try to discern that time. Paul said the time will come. Can we say that time is here?
Sound doctrine is something we must endure. Not only should we endure it, we should seek it, welcome it, hunger for it, and see that it has a priority in our lives. Anyone that remembers being in school, is currently in school, or attending any type of instruction is all too aware that sound doctrine, at times, is dry. Doctrine is quite formal, has many details, and is tedious. It can seem overwhelming.
It is because these things are hard to understand or not exciting to our minds and imaginations that it becomes easier to seek different instruction. When things become difficult to understand or starts to impede on our lifestyle or thought process we look for another way, an easier way.
The world we live in today is always looking for an easier way. This starts out innocently enough, think of the phrase “work smarter, not harder”. While there is some merit to working smarter, there must be a point where the quality of work must not be infringed upon. Now let us apply this to the body of Christ, the church.
When we go to church we enjoy fellowship, we enjoy praise and worship, but do we enjoy those things which are being preached? Do we enjoy the teaching? Does it step on your toes? Does it put a bad spin on the way you want to live your life? Would you rather find another place more in line with what you want to believe? The truth is, you should find a place that puts you in line with what God says.
There are many people who are calling themselves preachers. There are many places that are trying to be churches who preach Jesus. The problem is, everything in the Bible is not easy on the ears. Everything in the Bible is not favorable to the lifestyles being lived. Everything in the Bible is not wealth and prosperity, it is not an “everything will be okay for everybody” book.
We, as Christians, have an obligation to understand what the Bible says, for ourselves. We, as individuals, must seek understanding, not the easiest and most agreeable way we can find. When we stand in judgment, we will not stand for anyone else or with anyone else. We will stand for ourselves.
In closing, let me say this: I know this is not an easy message to read. It is a reminder to be careful what you are seeking and why. It is a warning to be careful of who and what you follow. Be careful to find an understanding based on what God says, for only He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To God be the glory!