For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itching ears, they shall heap to themselves teachers in accordance with their own lusts. 2 Timothy 4:3
I woke up this morning with an unfamiliar sensation in my right ear. It felt like a combination of a tingle and an itch. Although it caused only slight discomfort, I did not like it all and I became obsessed with getting rid of it. I knew that for me this was the type of nagging issue that would be at the forefront of my mind until I addressed it.
Thankfully the situation seemed to resolve itself immediately following a routine cleaning. I’m so glad it did! I am all too aware that medically ear infections can range from annoying to intolerable and may be symptomatic of serious or even fatal health issues.
As I reflected on this “itchy ear” situation, I was reminded of Paul’s warning found in 2 Timothy 4:3. Speaking of the perilous times that would characterize the final days of earth’s history, Paul uses the analogy of people having ” itchy ears”. He indicated that those with itchy ears would be intolerant of sound doctrine and annoyed by the timeless truth found in God’s Word or taught by Godly teachers. Instead, they would seek knowledge, solutions and belief systems that aligned well to their own way of thinking. Almost by default, they would be rejecting God’s truth and accepting contrary mythologies.
Beloved, this “itchy ear” warning from Paul is certainly applicable to us today as leaders. As shameful leadership scandals and astonishing allegations plague the news headlines, we can see that this is the culture that Paul was predicting. Both within and outside of our institutions, we are bombarded daily by twisted ideologies, misplaced theology, catchy quotations and clever tweets that “sound true” – mainly because our “itching ears” long to be tickled, soothed and satisfied. But as leaders who influence others, we cannot afford to be mislead!
As Paul cautions, the only sure antidote for itchy ears is knowing and following the sound guidelines found in the Word of God. I encourage you to filter every thought, decision, action and interaction through the unchanging Word of God. Adopt a habit of testing before accepting new beliefs, behaviors or practices. That way you will be able to consistently lead from a place of clear and sound judgment, regardless of the situations life throws your way (2 Timothy 4:3-5a).