For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
The Greek word that translates to “itching” literally means to “tickle.” The Bible verse above says that the time will come when people will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their “itching ears” want to hear. I believe we are living in these times. Many people today are being deceived by false teachers that are tickling the ears of their listeners to grow in popularity.
The popularity of the New Age movement is growing rapidly in today’s modern culture because it’s a type of spirituality that doesn’t hold a person accountable to any moral standards. The New Age movement promotes self-spirituality with the goal of connection with the “Universe.” It promotes the belief that you can create the life you desire by connecting with spirit guides through spiritual practices. Many are deceived because of their hunger for something greater than themselves; to be connected to a higher power. The longing for a relationship with God is engraved in our hearts, but many have turned away from Him because of guilt and shame. They turn away because “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV).
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it? ”Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
(John 6:60-66, NIV)
Some of the early disciples of Jesus also found it hard to follow and turned away from Him. These early followers had “itching ears” and were more concerned with what made them “feel good” and not with the truth of the Word of God. Today, messages that tickle the ears are deceiving people to believe that they can decide for themselves what is right or wrong. That they do not need to turn to the Word of God for guidance. It’s important to not allow the world to influence your thinking. Beware of false prophets and teachers that will say things to tickle your ears. Ephesians 5:6 tells us, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
(1 John 4:1, NIV)