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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
2 Timothy 4:3,4
Give Me Sound Doctrine
Around the year 1900, a man named Clark Stanley captivated audiences. A small stage was built in the town square, and Stanley created a spectacle. His sensationalist show involved using rattlesnakes to create a healing ointment. Stanley claimed his special Snake Oil Liniment was a quick and miraculous cure-all.
People ate it up. The spectacle, combined with the promise of a quick and easy remedy, proved too much to resist. People wanted what Stanley was selling. Even the term “snake oil” appealed to popular imagination since it was associated with exotic and mysterious healing substances.
Clark Stanley called himself the Rattlesnake King, but that’s not how he is remembered. Stanley is the original snake oil salesman known for selling fraudulent and ineffective products. His ointment was found to have very little, if any, snake oil and was primarily mineral oil. It couldn’t cure anything.
But people jeopardized their health and wasted their money because it looked and sounded so good. In the same way, we are tempted to jeopardize our spiritual health when we turn to teachings that look and sound good to us. These teachings might appeal to our desire for physical blessings or our need to make ourselves look good compared to others. Maybe some sort of secret and mysterious teaching makes us feel special.
Whatever it might be, if it turns us away from the truth of sound doctrine, then it is dangerous to our souls. Here is the sound doctrine that we need to hear again and again. I am a sinner for whom Jesus died. My relationship with God is repaired through Jesus, and I can do nothing to acquire this grace apart from receiving it freely as a gift from Jesus.
This is the sound doctrine to which we hold. May God keep it before us all the days of our lives.
Dear Jesus, forgive me the times I’ve tried itching my ears with anything other than your truth. Keep me in your truth. Amen.