Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Tim. 4:2-3
Lord Jesus, many times when I read this Scripture, I immediately think of certain characters on TV whose perversions of the gospel raise my ire and dander like is nothing else. I can commit televangelist-heart-homicide quicker than I can swat a mosquito. I confess this as sin, Jesus. I’m not boasting about or justifying my attitude. For not everybody teaching the Bible on TV is pandering man-centered theology.
But today as I meditate on this Scripture, I’m looking in the mirror at a weak me, not at the TV heretics. I’m just as capable of fulfilling Paul’s warning in the passage as anyone else. I get “itchy ears” at times, and my demand for pleasure, relief, or getting my way can be stronger than my commitment to your glory. At times, even when I know what the Scriptures say, the longings of my wandering, bored, selfish heart can exert great influence over my choices.
Jesus, I know who to call when I want to hear what I want to hear—my codependent friends who are more afraid of disappointing me than they are committed to speaking the truth in love. I know what authors to read, what podcasts to listen to, what blogs to visit when I want to confirm my prejudices—that is, when I want to be right, more than I want to be to the praise of your glory and grace. Have mercy of me, Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.
Continue to prepare me for “in season and out of season living” gospel living. Deepen my love for and submission to the Word—to the Bible. Correct, rebuke, and encourage me with the gospel every single day. Show me yourself in every portion of the Scripture, for that’s where the whole Bible is pointing and where the soundest doctrine will be found.
Lastly, Jesus, help me be a better friend to my friends. I don’t want to be one of the very first people they call when they simply want to hear what they want to hear. I don’t want to be an ear-scratching friend, but a good friend—a gospel friend. So very Amen I pray, in your holy and loving name.