Read: 1 Timothy 4:1-16
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Tim 4:16
Not many of us like to use the word heresy but according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary it simply means, “adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma.” Heresy was rampant in the early church and it still runs rampant today. Paul warns Timothy that there will be some deceivers in the church who will come along and try to promote “heresy”, big and small. And it was up to Timothy to guard himself against it, not only for his own spiritual well-being, but also for the members of the church.
Paul’s warning to Timothy is a warning to church leaders today, but also to all followers of Christ. There are many examples of cult leaders who start out with what sounds like Christian doctrine, but they twist it just a little bit. With enough of those little twists and turns, what we end up with are people who have devoted themselves to something that, in the end, doesn’t much resemble what we’ve been taught from the Bible and can be very dangerous.
And we have to remember it’s not just cult leaders, lest we begin to feel like it couldn’t happen to us. We are bombarded with hundreds of “heretical” messages every single day. You deserve this. It’s all about you. Look out for yourself first. The one with the most toys wins. If it feels good, do it. Follow your heart.
See what I mean? We wouldn’t say that these messages are “heretical”, but by definition – they are. So many in our culture adhere to them like they really are religious opinions. And they seem so benign, so non-threatening that we don’t pay much attention to them. Even the silly superstitious things we believe fall into this category.
This is where knowing Scripture is so important – if we know what the Bible says, we’re not easily led astray. This is also where hearing God’s word at church comes into play. Like Timothy, our church leaders have the responsibility to teach us sound doctrine, but if we’re not involved in our local church, we’re not able to hear it.
For me, and maybe for you too, the point in this passage is . . . pay attention! Romans 12:2 tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
So let’s pay attention to those little “heretical” messages we hear every day so that instead of being conformed to the pattern of our culture, we can use God’s word to be transformed, able to test and approve God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.
Father, search my heart and please show me what “heretical” beliefs are entrenched there. Please give me a hunger for your Word and wisdom to discern your will. I pray that my words and my actions and my beliefs would bring honor and glory to you. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.