They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:4 (NIV).
Another thought about this verse: belief is a choice.
You and I don’t have to believe what we do: we choose to. Yes, we’re compelled by faith from within. We can’t begin to believe in Christ unless He first (through His Spirit) plants the thought in our receiving heart. We can’t follow a political leader or ideology without watching it, learning about it, experiencing it. And as much as I believe some people quickly fall in love, we don’t do that, either, without first being moved about the other person.
We choose those things. Faith, following, love: they’re choices. Just like turning away from the truth. That, too, is a choice.
Nobody forced the Canaanites to follow their pagan gods or demonic, detestable practices. They chose. The Jews of Jesus’ day weren’t forced to conspire against Him: they chose to. Germans of the 1930s weren’t forced to follow Nazism (at least not at first): they chose to follow evil. Parishoners at Jonestown, followers of Elijah Mohammed, members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the Manson family: they weren’t forced to do the things they did. They chose.
So it is with those who turn away from God’s truth and turn aside to myths. To be honest, it’s another person’s American right to follow Zoroastrian mysticism, follow the Maharishi Yogi, or run around naked in the forest to celebrate Mother Gaia. It’s their right to turn aside to myths. In America, our Bill of Rights preserves our right to believe or not believe what we want. In other words, what we choose.
So it is with God as well. Even God respects that right. God doesn’t force us to believe in Him. He asks us to. He asks us to, then teaches us through His word and our experiences why His teaching is the true way. His word, the constant miracles of nature and our world, the tangible results of faith in the lives of those who believe, our own experiences, love: all of these scream proof that Jesus is who He said He is. It’s up to us to believe or not believe, to choose what we will take to heart about it.
Sure, NOT believing is easier said than done. It isn’t easy to stop believing in something without a drastic event occurring. Yet that, too, is a choice. It was this way in ancient Judea; it is the same today. In the days that make up the end times, it will only get worse. Even obvious proof won’t sway the choices of those determined to not be swayed.
For further reading: 1 Timothy 1:4, 2 Timothy 4:4.
Lord, use me and what I say and do to witness You to those who choose unbelief. Help me to not judge. Help me to live out Your word better. For them.