and their talk will spread like gangrene. among them are hymenaeus and philetus, [2 timothy 2:13]
our family is spending a significant amount of time outside these days. picnics in the park, going on walks, riding bikes, and playing in our backyard. the other day the boys found a worm in the rock pit and they thought it was so cool! but the four year old is also totally freaked out by bugs right now. bees, ants, spiders…they all freak him out. we’re trying to find this balance between teaching him to not be afraid of flies, but also understanding that bees can sting you. it’s a really fuzzy distinction for a preschooler to grasp. as parents it’s a fine line to teach between healthy respect for something that can hurt you and not over reacting with uncontrollable fear and avoidance.
paul wants timothy to find this balance with the people he is shepherding also. false teaching is dangerous to the body. it spreads and it destroys and worst of all it defames the name of Jesus. timothy is instructed to teach the people to recognize and avoid the danger false doctrine poses – to not bury their heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist. but also to not be so brazen as to let it go unchecked and never rebuked. i believe in order to do this we must establish a few things in our lives. this list could be much longer, but here are a few that come to mind:
- a proper understanding of right doctrine. it is harder to recognize false teaching when we are not exposed to right teaching. therefore we must be diligent in our pursuit of a proper understanding of the character of God. spending time in the word individually, in corporate worship, and in study will help us know the truth of scripture in a way that it is apparent to us when something is opposed to it.
- a proper understanding of the ongoing war. it would be foolish of us to assume that no one is fighting on the other side of the war. the enemy prowls around like a lion waiting to devour. outright attacks against the truth of scripture will happen. but so will subtle nuances that attempt to slip beyond our defenses unnoticed and wreak havoc from within. we must be vigilant. we must be looking for false teaching so we are ready to lovingly and boldly call it out when we see it. and we must prepare as though the war is fought not against flesh and blood, but against a spiritual enemy.
- a proper view of the beauty of Jesus. if Jesus is nothing to us then who cares if something spits in his face? but if Jesus is our hearts desire. the center of our affections. our definition of beauty. then we will be heartbroken when something attempts to diminish his glory. anything that tries to lessen Jesus will be nothing short of appalling. Jesus is beautiful. the gospel is majestic. why would we want our eyes to be drawn to anything ahead of our savior?
believer – today you can be reminded of the beauty of Jesus. sit in the presence of God and ask him,
father, give me eyes to see your son. let me see the gospel so clearly that anything that attempts to tarnish its beauty would bring unrest to my soul. remind me again of the grace and mercy you have shown me and renew the joy of my salvation today.
~ keith kozlowski