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Ears have been a focus of attention in my life from last fall until late spring. They have often been a source of pain and difficulty with hearing since childhood due to infection or allergy. But this time the source was inflammation from a severe case of influenza A in mid-October that caused my hearing to be reduced significantly in both ears. One ear slowly improved but not the other. My faithful allergist tried all the things that had worked during the 16 years he has worked with me, and nothing resolved the issue so a referral to an otolaryngologist was the next step to consider putting a tube in the pesky ear (something our son had to have done when he was seven).
Sure enough, that was the step needed and within a short time in the office, a tube was inserted, and I almost immediately began to hear more clearly. What a difference!
Ears can be such a challenge for so many and without good hearing, we experience a variety of different issues that impact the quality of daily living. From childhood through our senior years one issue or another can present a problem.
But not all of the issues are about allergies or a physical problem. Our ears get us into trouble when we simply don’t listen well through distraction or when we tune out things that hold no interest to us. This sets up relational and learning issues. Those same ears also want to hear certain things whether that is affirmation or words that support what we believe or want to believe. We can go down rabbit trails that often lead to misinformation disguised as the truth and that seems to be happening at epidemic proportions these days.
Hearing what we would like to hear has been around however since the beginning of humankind. We have been tempted and seduced for words we like, words that are easy or delicious to our ears. Choosing to listen to them can get us in a lot of trouble without evaluating their validity. Just ask Adam and Eve who picked the voice of a serpent to lead them down a path of destruction. And all these years later we too often fall for the same trick as if that is now a part of our DNA.
Without a strong foundation of truth any of us can succumb and often do, and it starts when we are still toddlers accepting something as true that may not be. It grows along with us so by the time we are in school and are bombarded by peers we are too often trying to be accepted without knowing if that is the path that is best. Add to that a popular phrase today of something being “my” truth since absolute truth has been set aside and before we can blink an eye, we are offended, and more division is created. By adulthood too many of us with no firm foundation of what absolute truth is, are confused and untrusting in multiple areas. Deceit appears to be everywhere and even in places we did not expect.
“Truth is under assault. Satan has already garnered a tremendous victory in the world through his lies.”Amir Tsarfati
It’s all a part of a bigger plan than we may know or see on the part of Satan. From the beginning he has wanted us for himself, and he’s been patient with his craft of deceitfulness wooing us little by little to accept small lies at first until our heads were going every which way and our hearts with them. He is preparing us for the time he expects to appear and take over the world claiming falsely to be Jesus Christ. And it starts with whispers that tickle our ears and tempt us to want to hear more.
“He will come to the fore with signs and lying wonders. His words will tickle the world’s receptive ears.”Amir Tsarfati
None of us who have read much of the Bible should be surprised. Paul warned us about this and lays out the path we are to take. Some of you may know this passage.
“You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.”2 Timothy 4:3 (MSG)
Paul’s warning is not meant to create fear but to nudge us to not believe everything we see and hear, not think we can craft our own truth, as the world’s turmoil seems to grow by the hour. He points the way to the absolute truth that should also remind us that Christ said we were to be the light of the world and guess what? Light shines most clearly and brightly in the darkest of places. The words left to us in the Bible are a foundation to stand on when the whole world is shaking and to be assured that if we are his, He’s got us.
The first step is to be watchful of what and who we listen to and consider whether what we hear lines up with what Christ has said in the Bible. You may not be sure about that but a reading of the whole book of the Bible shows that what He said about the past has been true and even historians find evidence of that.
What we listen to and who we spend time with will influence who we become.
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