3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
2 Timothy 4:3-4, English Standard Version
In this ever connected and information rich world, there seems to be increasing trend for pulpits and churches to constantly deliver something newer, better and more interesting. In doing so and wanting to satisfy the crowds of people coming to church, we fall into the danger of developing a spiritual appetite that feeds our self-indulgence instead of God’s truth. What we only have is a stylistic version of Christianity that appears to have outward appearance of godliness, we might inwardly see a void in our lives without God’s transformational power.
Often we think those with itching ears are looking for a positive “feel-good” religious experience. However in the context of the Apostle Paul’s warning to Timothy, he was referring to believers who want to add something to the pure gospel he preached. The itching ears are those who do not like sound doctrine based on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of being fully rooted and grounded in Christ, they are looking for teachings with legalistic emphases that distort the gospel and change the way they perceive godly living.
Don’t confuse legalism with godliness.
Legalism is striving to earn your standing with God without Christ whereas godliness is thriving in your standing with God through Christ. Legalism is your fleshy self-effort that conforms to rules and regulation that doesn’t free you but binds you to a spirit of fear and timidity (2 Timothy 1:7). Godliness is God’s power that transforms you through a relationship with Christ and this is what gives you a spirit of faith and freedom.
If you keep hearing the truth of the gospel, it will truly bring you closer to God. Instead of beating yourself up with self-condemnation and guilt, you will have a genuine and healthy identity based on the revelation of who you are in Christ.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
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