4 Things That Lead Us Away from the Faith
“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim 1:13
Paul’s exhortation to Timothy demonstrates the reality that holding onto the truth of the gospel requires effort and diligence. Timothy had to ‘follow the pattern of sound words’–the truth about Jesus, the truth about God, the truth about how we are to live for God–which he had heard from Paul. He faced pressures and opponents who questioned him for his youth, those tried to derail his ministry, and temptations to walk away from the gospel–all of these things could have led him away from the faith.
These words are true for us today as followers of Christ. We too must actively ‘follow the pattern of sound words,’ which for us are found in the Scriptures. Here’s some examples of that which leads us away from the sound words of the faith:
1. False Teaching: False teaching presents a pattern that may look similar to the truth, but distorts or twists it. Cults and false religions (Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Prosperity gospel) may use the same terms as Christians, but portray God differently than the sound words of faith. This shows the importance of knowing good theology and knowing our Bible well.
2. Distractions: Some times the most banal things around us draw us away from the pattern of sound words. Our minds and hearts can become consumed with the trivial to the point that we forget about paying attention to the truths of Scripture. The distractions might lead us into a type of functional disbelief, wherein we deny the truths of the gospel through aligning our affections elsewhere.
3. Pressures of the Now: The pressures of today can put considerable force on us, leading us to embrace what is expedient over what is holy or true. We may be drawn to twist the truth to cover up a mistake. We might push past what we know is righteous in order to get ahead. We could give into slander or gossip when all around us are joining in. Or we don’t do the things God desires–fellowship, prayer, time spend reading God’s Word–because we believe other things like work are more important.
4. Temptations of fleeting pleasure: Sinful pleasures are real, but fleeting. When our heart believes these temptations are more true, lasting, or valuable than living for and loving god, we might abandon the sound words of the faith.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us hold on to the gospel and reject that which leads us astray.