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 Timothy 4:3 (NIV)
When my wife would go to the doctor with me after I was diagnosed with cancer, I never ceased to be amazed at how often she and I heard what the doctor said differently. Usually, I was the one who thought that what the doctor said was discouraging while Ivana would hear what the doctor said as encouraging. One of my coping mechanisms is to assume the worst and then pray for the best. My wife, on the other hand, assumes the best and prays that the worst doesn't happen. We both heard the exact same statements that the doctor made but it seems that we heard what we wanted to hear.
The verse I've chosen from today's suggested scripture readings has always frightened me a bit. I don't have any doubt that we live in a world that has turned away from sound doctrine to suit its own desires.
Do you struggle with this as much as I do? Do you watch a particular news channel because you know that they will report what's happening in the world through the lens of your ideological perspective? Do you surround yourself with friends who will say or tell you whatever it is that will make you feel better, even if it isn't true or shouldn't be said? When you read scripture, do you simply discount or dismiss the passages you don't like and focus instead on the passages you do like?
Maybe your ideology is fine. Maybe you need to be encouraged by friends. Maybe you can dismiss or discount a text with theological integrity. But maybe you're surrounding yourselves in these ways and doing these things because it's simply what your itching ears want to hear.
May God grant you the grace to hear what God wants you to hear today.
If you're interested in reading through the Bible in a year, here are the readings for tomorrow: Amos 4-6, Psalm 86, and Titus 1.