Have you ever taken care of someone who has "itchy ears"? I've encountered many people with this problem through the years. The apostle Paul alerts us to this problem of "itching ears" in 2 Timothy 4:3, "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."
Paul wasn't referring to ears that had some kind of physical problem, but to people who were "itching" to hear entertaining or pleasing words to feel good about themselves. They weren't "itching" to hear God's words about their sin and need to trust in Jesus and his work on the cross as the only way to be forgiven and know him in this life and eternally.
In Colossians 2:6-8, Paul wrote to Jesus-followers that they needed to have a strong faith in Christ and be careful who they listened to: "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ."
Today, we are being tempted to accept current theories of "caring" in nursing and expand our understanding of spirituality. We're also encouraged to learn "healing" practices that require us to focus on the universal "life source" that unites all things and connects us to Mother Earth. They sound so good and, after all, what's the harm?
The harm is that they are not based on God's truth that people are broken and need a savior, Jesus Christ, who has overcome the power of sin, conquered death, and now lives to give us abundant life and hope for eternity with him. Our challenge as followers of Jesus is to carefully examine the theories and practices that we encounter and evaluate them in light of what God's Word says. If they involve any "power source" other than God, they are not of him.
So keep your head clear and your ears clean! When we decide to follow Jesus, we receive the "mind of Christ" at our spiritual birth and our minds mature over time as we contend with our habits, the culture, and Satan's work in this world. Scriptures inform us that God is at work in our lives to conform us to be more like Jesus, but we have to work with God in this process. We must first decide to have his mind, constantly renewing our thoughts about him and staying alert to watch for wrong thinking.
Another challenge we face is deciding how to respond to the people whose spirituality and practices are not based on God's love and his purposes in the world. Jesus gives us specific directions about loving our neighbor, but also about standing for truth. Remember, the person who does not know Jesus is lost and blinded to the truth. We have to decide to love the person, but be ready to present God's truths at the right time and in the right way. As Peter wrote, "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15). The Holy Spirit can give us the wisdom and discernment to speak and act appropriately in these instances.
May the Lord bless you as you keep your ears from "itching"! Check out The Mind of Christ by T.W. Hunt to evaluate your thinking and find ways to have the mind of Christ.
--Jane Hall, NCF Director