Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O That Will Be Glory"1 (Lyrics)
2 Timothy 4:3-5 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (NASB)
Have you ever been handed counterfeit money? Some photocopied counterfeits are easy to spot, but others are really well crafted and hard to detect. Law enforcement officers and banking staff know what counterfeit money looks like. They know the feel of the paper or polymer, the designs, the watermarks and the security strips; by handling the real thing often enough, they recognize the counterfeits right away. In the same way, being familiar with basic Bible teachings will make fake news from unreliable sources very obvious. A false teacher will misuse Scripture to appeal to the sinful nature of people, changing it to reflect the values of the world, which someone not firm in their faith might be fooled by, just like by counterfeit money.
People often prefer "feel good" messages, but the Gospel can be offensive! Lots of folks don't want to be called sinners, to be told that their lives offend God, or that there will be judgment. It's easier to listen to someone who entertains and makes them feel good. There is a whole industry of self-help guides which go this route, passing up on sound Bible doctrine for nice sounding "happy thoughts". There is no room here for being sober, enduring hardship, doing the work of an evangelist, or fulfilling one's ministry.
This is a challenging prayer to pray: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV) Are you someone who trades in Bible truths for radical re-interpretation, omits parts of Scripture you don't like, or only listens to Bible messages that make you feel good? Or do you have an appetite for the Gospel, as presented in Scripture, ready to admit what offends God in you, and repent? If you choose the latter, you'll be like Timothy, being sober in all things, doing the work of the Gospel.
Prayer: Dearest Lord, search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen!