Read 2 Timothy 3:1–5; 4:1–4
Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”Genesis 3:1
The deaf community is one of the largest unreached groups. Fewer than 1 percent of deaf people call themselves Christians. Because the deaf cannot be reached by traditional means, the church has to think creatively and strategically to reach the millions of deaf people around the world.
The Bible is clear that all of us, apart from the intervening work of the Holy Spirit, are functionally deaf in a spiritual sense. What was true in Isaiah’s day and in Jesus’ time continues to be true today: “This people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears” (Matt. 13:15; cf. Isa. 6:9–10).
All of us exercise selective spiritual hearing, much like Eve did in the Garden—and much like Paul describes in his letter to Timothy. When Satan approached Eve in the Garden, he did so with great cunning. Without directly contradicting God’s Word, he cast just enough suspicion on God’s command to cause Eve to reconsider her belief. The strategy worked: Eve told the serpent that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, nor were they to touch it. Touching the tree was never a divine prohibition.
Satan always works to undermine God’s authority. Often, he uses our own sinful desires as the means by which we start to bend God’s Word to accommodate our preferences. We let the Bible say what we want it to say, and in this way we become guilty of the “itching ears” syndrome. Though we may maintain external forms of spiritual commitment, we are not truly following Christ.
Authentic Christian commitment turns on the willingness to hear God’s Word—and obey it fully, even when we meet its demands with reluctance.
Apply the Word
How can we be confident that our interpretations of Scripture stay true to God’s intended meaning? One way is to examine whether the Bible ever makes us uncomfortable. Does what God says threaten what we want, or does He ask us to relinquish something impossible? If this is true, the Holy Spirit might be exercising spiritual conviction in our lives.
Pray with Us
Today is the Moody Bible Institute’s Day of Prayer. Dr. Paul Nyquist, Moody’s president, requests your prayer as he leads Moody’s ministries to prepare and equip God’s people for service around the globe.