The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
What We Need
I know I should exercise, but it makes me sore and tired. I know I should eat a balanced diet, but donuts and cake taste better to me. I know that surgery will help me get back to full strength, but I’m scared to go under the knife and face painful rehab.
In daily life, our needs—things that are necessary and beneficial for a healthy and happy life—are often at odds with our wants—things that are optional and, sometimes, only superficially satisfying. But in the end, the truly wise and healthy person learns to seek, do, and even appreciate and long for the needed things.
The same holds true for our spiritual life. Our hearts are naturally tuned in to messages that are unhealthy and ultimately only superficially satisfying. So, our ears will naturally seek out messages that agree with our distorted heart’s desire. I want to hear that I am worthwhile and good. I want to hear that I can do things by my own determination and grit. I want to hear that I’m okay with God because I am a good (or at least pretty good) person. I want to hear that God is satisfied with good intentions, blessing me now and granting me a place in heaven as a result of my best efforts.
But that is not what I need to hear. I need to hear that I was born in sin and show it with thoughts that are impure, words that are unloving, and actions that are incomplete at best. I need to hear that my sinfulness separates me from a holy God. I need to hear that sinners like me deserve nothing from God but his punishment. I need to hear that, but I don’t want to…at first.
Human beings can only begin to hear and accept that difficult message when we come to know that it is not the end, or even the most important part, of what God knows our ears and hearts need to hear. I need to hear of God’s undeserved love—his amazing grace—towards sinners. I need to hear of a Savior who was sent to pay for and do away with human sin, even mine. I need to hear of a God who loves me and values me because of what his Son has done for me and the price he’s paid for me. I need to hear of a heavenly Father who promises to be with me in this life and take me to heaven when I die, because he has adopted me as his own dear child in Jesus Christ.
Tune your ears to that message. Find a church that faithfully teaches it. And you will be truly healthy and happy in your spiritual life!
Heavenly Father, there are so many attractive and appealing messages in my world. Help me to tune my ears to your Word of Truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.