By Andi Hines
Our teaching this week comes just after Jude realizes he can’t talk to this body of believers about good news. Instead, he must address the danger of tolerating erroneous doctrine, writing that they had “abandoned themselves to the error” of wrong teaching. They would need to remove this harmful element to be well, which makes me think about how I accept the need to change.
Recently I was challenged to remove something harmful from my familiar practice of baking. I needed to learn new skills and expand my abilities to remove an element hurting someone I love. Jude must address the issue of false teaching. I wanted to address the issue of gluten by learning how to bake gluten-free.
Gluten is found in many products made with common grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It acts as a glue, holding foods together, but it can also cause havoc to one’s digestive tract when sensitivity to gluten exists. One person may be mildly sensitive, while others may suffer more painful and persistent consequences like diarrhea, bloating, lack of energy, depression, and even iron-deficiency anemia. When I realized the harm gluten was causing my loved one, I decided to remove it from my baking — to learn how to bake tasty things that were gluten-free.
The transition seemed daunting at first because so many different types of gluten-free flour are available. I hoped to find the perfect blend that would create a familiar, appetizing flavor and consistency. I didn’t want results associated with what I remember as “gluten-free.” I wanted results that tasted good — bread that actually tastes like bread, coffeecake that isn’t grainy or gummy, and bundt cake that’s moist, rich, and chocolatey. So, I began my baking adventure.
I was lucky and right away found a commercial flour that creates a taste I love without gluten. I admit I was surprised! Others enjoyed the results, too. I often hear, “That’s good. It doesn’t taste gluten-free.” Isn’t that a blessing? I could now bake gluten-free for my family without adverse reactions causing anyone suffering. This brings my take-away on Jackie’s teaching — one needs to confront a problem and make a change.
In Matthew 16:6, Jesus talks about a familiar element of baking that His audience would have recognized, but He turns it on its head. He admonishes: “Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” He’s warning that what makes bread rise does so because the property of yeast is to spread throughout it all. All the dough will be affected.
In this story, the disciples eventually realize Jesus wasn’t referring to bread. He was talking about the pernicious half-truths that were spreading, displacing, and multiplying within the good word that had been planted. They were diluting the real Truth that would keep them from recognizing the true Bread of Life among them.
If you have a sensitivity to gluten, you cannot eat it without a physical reaction. Your gut knows you just consumed something it cannot tolerate. It will make you sick. Likewise, the consequences of tolerating false teachings can make us sick. It’s just that simple.
Our spiritual choice to remove false teaching can also be just as simple. Recognizing untruths involves spending time with God regularly in prayer and Bible study. There we learn to know His character and understand His heart. As our faith grows, we cling to His written Word, believing it, understanding it, and agreeing with it! Then we are prepared, and we will see false teaching as it happens.
Our spiritual health is God’s design. He will nudge, and urge, and yes, even make us feel ill when dangerous false teaching is near. Just like removing the gluten, seeing false teaching isn’t all that hard. Knowing God and His character makes everything clear.
Andi Hines is a graduate of George Fox Evangelical Seminary with a master’s degree in Spiritual Formation. She has served God where she’s been called in areas of prayer, teaching, and devotional writing. She has attended UFC for about two years and counts herself blessed to be a member of the UFC women of faith! Andi’s husband is now with the Lord, but our God has provided for all her needs, each and every time. She and her children have realized a deeper appreciation for “family.” Andi loves gardening, baking, and writing, but Bible study and rabbit trails are her favorite things.