1 Timothy 4:1-5
4 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
As I read the first part of this passage (v1-3), it seems very relevant to our time, 2000 years after this passage was originally written.
But then it turns and seems to suggest that those who are turning away from the faith will follow teachings and deceptions that are overly self-denying! This seems difficult to even imagine, as we look back on over 50 years of western culture that has immersed itself in freedom and licence to the extreme.
The reality is, though, that legalism and asceticism are just as destructive as licentiousness and anarchy when they are motivated by evil.
Lord, in my desire not to conform to the pattern of this world, please help me to remain motivated and drawn by your Holy Spirit and not a spirit of self-denial.
Written by Ps Justin Ware