Bible Roulette. If you are a Christian, you’ve played it. Here’s how it works: you are looking for something to read today. So you flip through the pages and randomly stop on a page and begin reading. Maybe, somehow, it will be exactly what you need to hear today. But as you start reading, you find that the passage you landed on is about the destruction the Lord is going to bring to disobedient people. Well that isn’t what you were hoping for! So on you go to find a gentler and more encouraging passage. C’mon already, God. Can’t we just skip over the heavy stuff and tell me that I’m going to be blessed!?
We have in us a desire to seek out what we want to hear. I’ve heard it said that we determine if we like someone based on how they feel about us. If they are nice to us, interested in us, and tell us what we want to hear – we deduce that they are a great person that we like. It’s not that we really know them; we just like them based on the fact that they scratch our itchy ears.
2 Timothy 4:3 says, “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.”
Sometimes we all get that itch that just needs to be scratched. It’s usually in the middle of our back where we can’t reach. So we have to implore someone to help us out. But what do we do when our ears itch? Not literally, of course. Figuratively. What happens when, as a society, we choose to surround ourselves with voices that tell us what we want to hear rather than speak the truth? Danger happens. Depravity happens. Truth becomes subjective. God’s Word becomes a version of Aesop’s fables in which people pick and choose what fits their lifestyle.
The Bible was never intended to be a self-help book that affirms our life choices. It was never meant to be a series of formulas that will invoke blessings from on high. It doesn’t conform to our lives; our lives are to conform to it. As Christians, we must stop seeking out teaching that tickles our ears. We must stop looking for teachers who tell us what we want to hear. We must stop fulfilling the words of Paul to Timothy.
God’s Word does not change. Truth is not relative. It’s time to open up our Bibles and read both the encouraging parts and the hard parts. It’s time to seek out truth rather than affirmation. It’s time to compare our lives to God’s standard rather than looking for someone who will teach us that God’s standard is lower than it used to be. Because that is simply not true. What you do with your itching ears is up to you. But as for me, I’ll choose to scratch mine with truth.