2 Timothy 4:3-4 – For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. (NRSV)
When my grandchildren visit, I stock up on junk food to make them happy during the short time of their visit. I can get by with this, knowing that their parents will allow me to indulge them, but they will get them back on the straight and narrow diet of good, healthy foods once they return home.
When they leave my house, there's a good supply of this "junk" still in my house. My subconscious mind knows about the cache. It will give my conscious mind no peace until I've eaten all the supply left behind.
There's spiritual junk food calling to us constantly from the media, urging us to sample. We have the Bible, church literature, and those basics that have been proven to be solid, but like the healthy diet, they are on the dull side compared to the highly seasoned junk food.
A new book appears on the market, biblically based, but spiced and flavoured to be much more entertaining to "itching ears" and "hungry imaginations" looking for new thrills.
A charismatic leader appears in the media using the old basic Scriptures with just a slightly different twist, and our ears and eyes want to see and hear more.
Yes, to grow means to learn something new — but growth also comes from a regular diet of the basics of our faith applied with study and prayer.
Like Paul's writing to Timothy about "sound doctrine" and "itching ears", it is easy to let the taste of "spiritual junk food" lead us astray. We need leaders like my grandchildren's parents to get them back to their solid and healthy diets.
Prayer: Lord, we all enjoy junk food and thrills occasionally, but lead us back to the basics when the vacation is over. Amen.