Wednesday, June 22nd
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth. 2 Timothy 4:3,4
At first glance at this passage I am tempted to look outward. It would be easy here for me to criticize those pagans who massage their own egos, deny truth and only feed their own passions. I could write about how the world has gone mad with transgender bathrooms, or I could attack the defects of Caitlyn Jenner’s flesh nature.
In my personal walk with God however, I am not working on the defects of others. In my prayer and meditation each morning, I spend very little time worrying about Caitlyn Jenner.
When I read this passage, I have to be introspective and ask myself, How do I massage and insulate my own ego? What do I need to hear that I don’t want to hear? What does God want me to work on? What are my persistent defects?
We all have our own flesh nature (human nature) defects. Whether we struggle with pride, greed, anger, selfishness, self-image, self-control, lust, pornography, drugs or alcohol, we all have some defect that distracts us from God and causes destruction. Some of us are doing well in the struggle and some of us are drowning in it. As long as we are in this body, we will have a flesh nature that as sure as gravity, wants to drag us down. So when we read this passage, the challenge is to not to indulge our itching ears by criticizing others, but rather to be introspective and ask God to tell us what we don’t want to hear.
If I am going to be the person I want to be, the person God wants me to be, I will everyday, work on my own destructive defects and follow God. The fact that I will always have some defect to work on can be depressing. We all long for the time when life is perfect and the struggle is over. I have learned however, that like Paul, it is my weakness that drives me to God. So while I don’t love my defects, I am thankful that I can see my need for God. Those who do not need God will not pursue God.
How does one notice their specific needs for God?
I’ll try to cover what I think you might be asking. Please let me know if I’m completely off base.
Many never see any need for God. I don’t think that’s what your saying, but I’ll address it anyway. I generally don’t spend a lot of time trying to convince someone that they have a need for God. If you are asking for someone else, you may find yourself in this boat. If someone doesn’t need God, they just have no interest. I know a few pastors that find themselves frustrated as they cannot convince their own flock that they need God.
So, I go where people know they need God. I go to jail. I go to sober housing units. I have a weekly coffee group I affectionately call the Losers. I share my walk with those who know that they have a need. This was Jesus model. He went to those who knew they were screwed up.
If I read your question right though, you may be asking how do I know what God wants me to work on? For some of my defects, it is so obvious that I can’t ignore it. There was no question that I needed help with my addiction. For other defects, it is not always so obvious.
We were all made to live in a loving relationship with God. That is the goal. Anything that gets in the way of that is destructive, even if it is not obviously so. We, like Peter, are walking on the water, living life, while we are supposed to keep our eyes on Christ. This is how we are to live our lives. We, also like Peter, get distracted by self, the world, the wind and waves. Then, we take our eyes off of Christ and start to sink.
So, I think the answer to your question is, what distracts you from looking at Christ? Some things (job, children, etc…) we can learn to do while keeping our eyes on Christ. Some things however, are completely incompatible with following God. I cannot use drugs and pursue God at the same time. I cannot look at porn and follow God. I can still be “saved”, but I am not living in communion with God as I was meant to. So, you go through your day and try to keep eyes on God and whatever distracts you from that, you have to ask God if it should go. Ask God. Ask your friends or even scarier, your spouse.
Hope that is the question you were asking.
You guessed it exactly right! I wonder what it is God wants me to work on or come to him.