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, [2 timothy 4:3]
paul is preparing timothy, a teacher of the gospel, for a time in his ministry when the people around him will not hold to biblical teaching. they will seek their own agenda and they will listen to teachers that feed them what they want to hear – teaching that supports their “me first” mindset.
does this make the preaching of the gospel irrelevant?
on the contrary, i would argue that it illuminates the necessity to preach gospel. and to be ready to do so at all times. but to preach the gospel consistently and graciously to a people that has no interest in it – is even opposed to it – that is a difficult challenge. the biggest difficulty is not being able to factually argue your point. i have never personally seen someone argued into a saving faith in Christ. the biggest difficulty is living a loving and humble life that matches up with the gospel you preach so that others see your personal need for Jesus and eventually the gospel becomes relevant to them as well.
it’s so tempting to become frustrated with, and even give up on, non-believers in our lives. and in our frustration we become abrasive, not winsome. our hearts become angry, not broken for those that stand opposed to the gospel.
but how do you constantly speak the gospel to people who don’t care? how do you sacrificially love people that are more than willing to take from you and others, over and over again? how do you show them your need for Jesus and not your superiority over them? how, by re-engaging the gospel yourself. everyday. the presence of God and his holiness will renew your understanding of your need for a savior. and it will restore the joy of your salvation through Christ. constant redirecting of your mind and heart to the gospel will allow you to walk in the midst of a world opposed to Christ. and it will allow you to bring the gospel to places you would never have expected it to go. may you see lives changed as a result of the gospel in your life. not because it makes you right – but because it is making you righteous. and that is news worth sharing and news worth hearing.
~ keith kozlowski