The Danger of Neglecting God’s Word
But if you will not listen, my soul will weep in secret for your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, because the Lord's flock has been taken captive. Jeremiah 13:17
Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. First Timothy 4:15-16
Jeremiah describes Judah as those who have become “accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:24). They have believed lies and lost the ability to do good. Doing evil feels normal. They worship idols without hesitation. The prophet says they have become useless like rotten underwear. They live under the imminent threat of God’s judgment and their utter humiliation.
Is there any hope? They need a return to God’s covenant, His law. They have neglected it both in the study of it and the doing of it. Centuries later it was still a problem in New Testament times. Paul addresses that subject with Timothy.
Paul charges Timothy with teaching the church in Ephesus. The goal is not merely that they get an education in the Bible but that they be trained in godliness. Timothy is to model this for them, despite his relative youthfulness. God calls pastors to grow and to make progress in the knowledge and practice of God’s Word. Paul tells him to “immerse” himself in these things.
Think about it
If you are a pastor or church leader, do those you lead see your progress? Do you challenge them by a life wholly given to growth in godliness based on the Scriptures?
While this is especially important for pastors, this same exhortation applies to all believers. False teaching which is only slightly off-track from God’s Word can easily deceive us. If we continue without course correction, over time we get farther and farther away from the truth. Like Judah, we can become accustomed to do evil until it feels normal. Beware of the life of your soul. Immerse yourself in learning godliness through the careful study and application of God’s Word.
© 2017 John A Carroll Used by permission