I Still Need a Sponsor
1 Timothy 4:2,3 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season . . . 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.
I used to think this passage meant that Christians must always have a sermon locked and loaded, ready to fire off at a moment’s notice. I am starting to see however, that being ready, is more about the condition of my faith.
Giving a sermon (perhaps like writing a blog) gives the impression that the one giving it, has it all together. The temptation to the one giving the sermon (or writing the blog) is to deceive himself into thinking that he does have it all together. In this condition, the preacher (or the writer) no longer requires instruction from others and embraces deadly pride.
If I am going to be ready to share God’s word though, I must always first work at living it myself. I do not do this perfectly. Sometimes I do it terribly. I still fail and I still struggle. I am finding that one of the things I do when I struggle is exactly what Paul warned against in this passage. When I want to justify a destructive behavior, I simply avoid the voices that would call me out.
We all do this. We all have blind spots and we all (even preachers) need mature Christians around us who are willing to speak truth into our lives. Our tendency, as Paul said, is to accumulate those who will suit our itching ears. In our pursuit of self, we avoid those who would speak truth.
In AA, they call it a sponsor. In church, they call it an accountability partner. Whatever I call it, I must always choose to be honest with someone who will not just tell me what I want to hear, but what I need to hear. Then, I must live out that truth. Only when I work at living out God’s word, can I be ready to share it with others.