Clean your glasses
One of the biggest challenges in Paul and Timothy’s time was that a group of men came and made out that they had all the right answers. They preached wherever and whenever they could, but their message was not pure and led to many controversies and conflict. They were so sure of themselves that they believed completely that they were preaching the truth. But they missed the Truth.
These liars were a major problem and, therefore, Paul asked Timothy to: 3… please stay there in Ephesus and try to stop the men who are teaching such wrong doctrine.
Each and every one of us has the responsibility to make sure that we believe in the truth. The only Truth. We must be able to distinguish between truth and lies. But it is not always that easy.
How do I know? Because I’ve fallen into that trap myself. When I look back over my life there are times when I believed teachings that were not the whole truth. People seriously believed that they knew the only truth and for a while I followed them, just to get to a point where I realised that I was completely and totally lost.
We have a big responsibility to make sure that the truth we believe in is God’s truth and his truth only. And to do that, we should start with God’s Word. God’s Word tells the truth and that is why we have to test everything against it. If the message does not correspond to God’s words, we should rather let it go.
But it is difficult, because the Bible isn’t simple. We must remember that the Bible was written for people who lived 2 000 years ago. Their circumstances were different. They spoke a different language, used different idioms, and lived in a completely different way. Just think how much life has changed in the past ten to twenty years – how much more life has changed from Paul and Timothy’s time to today.
That is why interpretation is required. We cannot apply everything literally today. If I, for example, could only walk the 70 ell people were allowed to walk on the Sabbath in the Old Testament, I wouldn’t even make it to church, and absolutely wouldn’t make it back home!
I suspect it is with interpretation that the paw-paw strikes the fan somewhere. Each of us looks at the Bible through a different lens. The lens is shaped by our parents, church, school, friends and even strangers. And that is why you and I can look at the same verse and see two different pictures.
Simply because of the lens you use.
I have new glasses. Very expensive ones. Multi-focals. When I got my glasses, the optometrist also gave me a few small spray bottles and cloths with the instructions: “Never use your shirt or jeans to clean your glasses, because it doesn’t work and will only damage the lenses.”
I must clean my glasses all the time, because I simply cannot see well when it is dirty. But even more, because of dirty glasses my eyes tire soon and then I struggle to see a clear picture.
The glasses we wear to see and understand the words of the Bible are not always that clean and can cloud our picture of the truth. We must make sure that we’re not on the side of the people that Paul is warning Timothy against. We must spend more time with God’s Word so that the Holy Spirit can help us clean our glasses.
How clean are your glasses?
Do you make enough time for God’s Word?
Father, I realise I have a responsibility to make sure that I look at Your Word in the right way. I know I must keep Your words pure and proclaim them purely. Please help me to keep my glasses clean. Amen.