Itching Ears and the Mind of Christ

itchyHave you ever taken care of someone who has “itchy ears”? I’ve encountered many people with this problem through the years. The apostle Paul alerts us to this problem of “itching ears” in 2 Timothy 4:3, “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.”

Paul wasn’t referring to ears that had some kind of physical problem, but to people who were “itching” to hear entertaining or pleasing words to feel good about themselves. They weren’t “itching” to hear God’s words about their sin and need to trust in Jesus and his work on the cross as the only way to be forgiven and know him in this life and eternally.

In Colossians 2:6-8, Paul wrote to Jesus-followers that they needed to have a strong faith in Christ and be careful who they listened to: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”

Today, we are being tempted to accept current theories of “caring” in nursing and expand our understanding of spirituality. We’re also encouraged to learn “healing” practices that require us to focus on the universal “life source” that unites all things and connects us to Mother Earth. They sound so good and, after all, what’s the harm?

The harm is that they are not based on God’s truth that people are broken and need a savior, Jesus Christ, who has overcome the power of sin, conquered death, and now lives to give us abundant life and hope for eternity with him. Our challenge as followers of Jesus is to carefully examine the theories and practices that we encounter and evaluate them in light of what God’s Word says.  If they involve any “power source” other than God, they are not of him.

So keep your head clear and your ears clean! When we decide to follow Jesus, we receive the “mind of Christ” at our spiritual birth and our minds mature over time as we contend with our habits, the culture, and Satan’s work in this world. Scriptures inform us that God is at work in our lives to conform us to be more like Jesus, but we have to work with God in this process. We must first decide to have his mind, constantly renewing our thoughts about him and staying alert to watch for wrong thinking.

Another challenge we face is deciding how to respond to the people whose spirituality and practices are not based on God’s love and his purposes in the world. Jesus gives us specific directions about loving our neighbor, but also about standing for truth. Remember, the person who does not know Jesus is lost and blinded to the truth. We have to decide to love the person, but be ready to present God’s truths at the right time and in the right way. As Peter wrote, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). The Holy Spirit can give us the wisdom and discernment to speak and act appropriately in these instances.

May the Lord bless you as you keep your ears from “itching”! Check out The Mind of Christ by T.W. Hunt to evaluate your thinking and find ways to have the mind of Christ.

–Jane Hall, NCF Director

10 Responses to “Itching Ears and the Mind of Christ”

  1. Vickie Morley Says:

    Colleagues,
    I applaud you for your excellent work on the position statement on the use energy therapies for Christian nurses. I have struggled with this issue on many levels, and this really helped me to clarify the real issues, related scripture, etc. It is an issue that is expanding in our profession, and we really need guidance in how to stand firm to our convictions and beliefs. Thanks again speaking the truth in love.
    Vickie Morley, MSN, RN, FCN
    Faith Community Nurse Coordinator
    Shenandoah University

  2. Linda Royer Says:

    Carrie, you have plucked the major chord: it is not about us and what we can do from our meager soul/conscience, but about what God’s Spirit does through us to heal.

  3. carrie4him Says:

    Jane,
    I love the document from NCF “This we believe about Energy Based Therapies” and the blog on Caring. It is so easy for Christian Nurses to get caught up in the good of energy-based therapies and caring in nursing, that we can miss the premise or theory behind the concept. 1 John 4:1 reminds us to test the spirits to determine if they are from God. There are many good intentions and loving actions, but our goal as Christians is to encourage and participate in those that bring glory to God through Christ.

  4. Abigail Nobel Says:

    I wonder if it might be helpful to go deeper into the biblical meaning of prayer, and the nature of our wonderful God. Given His sovereign, immutable providence, prayer is about changing ourselves to seek and find His will—not about changing Him. Quote to consider, by Herman Hoeksema: “If ever I felt as if by my prayer I changed the mind of the everlasting God, never would I have the courage to utter another petition! We do not approach the overflowing fount of all good in order to pour anything of ourselves into it and add to its sparkling goodness—but with the empty cups of our existence, that they may be filled by Him.”

  5. Abigail Nobel Says:

    I appreciate this reminder, and am so encouraged by the comments! It’s wonderful to know I’m not the only Creationist, Bible-believing nurse out there. I’d like to add to the discussion with a quote from the daily devotion for Sept 9/10 from Days of Praise, published by the Institute for Creation Research: “‘Joshua 1:8 ‘This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.’ …Such meditation is not mere quietness or daydreaming, but is thoughtfulness with a purpose–to obey ‘all that is written therein.’ Meditation for its own sake, without being centered on God’s Word, is often useless or even harmful….Is 8:19 warns against ‘wizards that peep, and that mutter’ (same word as meditate).” Other texts cited include Ps 2:1, Ps 1:2, and Ps 119:9-16 where “the psalmist promised to ‘meditate in (God’s) precepts, and have respect unto his ways.’ This assumes time, study, and careful thought about the purposes and intent of God’s messages. It is NOT a promise to sit comfortably and ‘clear one’s mind’ of cogent thinking, waiting on some voice to reveal truth.”

    There is a big difference between biblical and worldly meditation. May we not reject the Word God has given us, for the sake of empty but appealing promises.

  6. Karen Masulis Says:

    I read through NCF’s position paper on Energy Theories. The term “energy theories” seems vague to me. I was wondering if you could identify specific practices that are considered “energy theories”.

    For example: are therapeutic touch, acupuncture, meditation, etc. energy theories? What else might that term cover?

    Thanks,
    Karen

  7. Catherine Martinez Says:

    Since I have been studying daily with Dr. J. Vernon McGee for almost 5 years on his “Bible bus” I have learned more in these years than in the prior 24 years of being saved. As a result, I have been very concerned about these days of apostasy and what to do with Christians who act like they live in the days of the Judges when they did what was right in their own eyes. Many Christians are not diligently studying the Word of God in order to know Him. Since I am new to Nurses Christian Fellowship, I rejoice to know that they take a strong stand for the Truth. However, our mark as Christians is to have both Truth and Love for the brethren as stated in 1 John 3:10. May we cry out to God for mercy on our country. May we cry out for His grace to turn back to the Word of God, the Truth, in order to truly know Him and repent, and to truly love the brethren.

  8. Linda Royer Says:

    You are touching on a very important aspect of our practice, Jane.
    There is much attention today to the benefits of therapeutic touch and various forms of meditation–all of which divert attention from our Creator who is also our Healer and place it on Man/Woman as the “center of the universe.” While this is happening, scientists are devising ways to discredit the Biblical account of Creation, the sustaining power of our Creator for a world in chaos, the importance of God’s Law for society’s order, and the need to prepare our hearts for the Second Coming of our Redeemer.

    Blessings on your work.

  9. Judy Shelly Says:

    Right on, Jane! Keep on preaching!

  10. Margaret Taylor Says:

    Jane:
    Thanks for the reminder that we live in a fallen world and need always to have the mind of Christ within us.

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