August 27 I Thursday
1 Corinthians 9
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather round them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
—2 Timothy 4:3-4
Paul wrote the words to the opening verse of this devotion almost 2,000 years ago and it still rings true today. The Greek word for describing the “doctrine” as “sound” is actually a naval terminology on the “purity of specimen.” When the captain of a ship asks, “Is this ship sound?” He is asking, “Are there any cracks? Are we taking on any water?” When Paul wrote that people will not put up with sound doctrine, he was saying that there are all kinds of cracks in their theology; they are taking on water that will shipwreck their faith. These people will not put up with truth; instead, their desires will become what they worship. God fashioned us in His image and sometimes, we do the favour back and we fashion Him into our image.
There is a multitude of “suit your own desire” type of Christianity that we can embrace in our world today. We can pick, choose and customize the type of church that suits our desires perfectly. If we like old hymns, we could go to a church that only sings hymns. If we like worship leaders who have skinny jeans and dry ice, we could find a church with a leader like that. If we want a more relaxed environment that serves coffee in the lobby, we could find a place with the perfect cup. Sometimes, we do not even leave our homes to do so; we simply click, tune in online and sip on our own coffee. Without dealing with the parking or awkward greeting time, we can just tune in and watch because it suits our desires, while losing relationship with one another in the process.
There are also people leaving churches for all kinds of fanciful reasons and many of them are because “the church just didn’t meet my needs” or “it met my needs, but not my desires.” There are some who have even complained that they could not listen to what the preacher was saying because he was not wearing a suit.
When we take a step back, we will realize that all these concerns do not deal with doctrine. This is the work of the enemy, who will always try to lead people astray from God; he masquerades as an agent of righteousness. It is not a righteousness rooted in Christ, His work on the cross and what He has done. Instead, the enemy’s righteousness is rooted in the self, and beneath the surface is a gospel that suits one’s own desires. May we turn away from our self-seeking desires and hold on to sound doctrine, returning to a solid and pure devotion to Christ.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, I confess the times when I have turned aside from sound doctrine by seeking a gospel that suits my own desire. Forgive me and reshape my devotion that is founded only on the solidity of Your truth.