March 14 I Sunday
“Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.” —2 Timothy 2:16-17
In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he used some very strong language to deal with some of the issues within the church. Just five years earlier, in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he warned Timothy to be careful of false teachings that “[do] not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching...” (1 Timothy 6:3). Yet, the problem still persisted in the church, which led Paul to write, “Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarrelling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen…Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene” (2 Timothy 2:14, 16-17).
Paul’s warning is not only applicable to Timothy’s circumstances but also to our churches today. One needs only to look back at church history and recognize that false teaching had plagued the church since the beginning. False teaching is like a spreading disease—like gangrene. This is why Paul warns about the pattern of godless chatter, quarrelling and how it only leads to ruin. Although Paul does not usually mention names of people who have gone astray, here he did call out Hymenaeus and Philetus as ones who had departed from the truth.
As the enjoyment of godless chatter increases, solid teaching, the purity of the gospel and what Jesus offers become rejected in favour of false teaching. Over the years of working with youth, I devastatingly saw this impact on many young kids’ lives. We would talk to them about the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they would start to get enamoured by the culture around them. Some would even get involved with gang activity, drugs and sexual promiscuity. Yet, there would come a moment, where time after time of reaching out to them, trying to speak wisdom into their lives, they would tune us out. They want to do what they want to do.
For us, godless chatter can take on the form of what we look at on our phone, what we read on social media or what we binge watch on streaming platforms. Are we allowing what we see to distort our view and understanding of God? Paul instructs us, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
As we reflect on our life, what is one behaviour or pattern that we need to let go of in order to tune out the godless chatter? Be careful of gangrene.
Prayer: Glorious God, forgive me for indulging in godless chatter, I desire to turn away from it and focus my eyes, ears and heart upon You. Thank You, God.