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, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. as for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. [2 timothy 4:3-5]
the gospel of Jesus Christ involves two truths: 1) you are more sin-full than you ever thought. 2) in Christ, you are are more accepted by God than you ever dared imagined. these two truths must remain connected as we preach and teach the gospel or we pervert the power and beauty of the gospel.
those who “turn away from the truth” are turning from one or both of these truths. they tire of hearing they are sin-full, born sin-full, and have a corrupt heart apart from Christ. even Christ followers, live and battle with an old nature that is sin-full and corrupt. the unregenerated heart, must hear they are sin-full and under judgment for the grace of God in Christ to be good news. the death of Jesus on my behalf is overkill (pun intended) if i am good person who just needs some help being a better person. but, if i am hopelessly separated from God by my sin-full heart, then Jesus dying and rising again in my place to bring me to God, is phenomenally good news.
the Christ follower needs to hear these gospel truths every day as well. i need to hear truth #1 of the gospel: my old flesh leads me far from God and keeps me from wanting to hear truth. my heart needs transforming for it is still be changed into the image of Christ. i need to hear truth #2: that the power of Christ’s resurrected life and mind in me is the power that changes my heart and actions.
itching ears – hate the truths of the gospel. this disease plagues the church today and it is more dangerous than covid-19. one disease kills the body (covid-19), while the other kills the soul (itching ears).
God’s word says in Christ, because of Christ’s work, we have the mind of Christ. not you can have it if you do this or that. you have it!
have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, [phil 2:5]
today, ask God to grow the mind of Christ in you. practically, this means you need to submit to the mind of Christ that is in you. listen to his mind, obey his mind, and find joy in his mind. right now, beg God to kill any itchy ear syndrome that leads you to have a wandering mind. sit in his presence, pour over this passage in 2 timothy 4:3-5, and ask God to reveal where he longs for you to have his mind and where he longs to kill itchy ears.
LORD, we confess, in our flesh, our ears itch to avoid the truths of the gospel. we are drawn to voices that fuel our godless passions. but in Christ, our heart and mind longs for your truth. like a deer pants for water, we long for you o LORD. today LORD, kill our itchy ears and let us submit to and walk in the mind of Christ. in Jesus name, amen!