Paul is begging the Corinthian church to get back on track and to resist the alluring tide of false teaching that so easily sweeps one away. The Corinthians are being derailed by intellectualism and performance-based Christianity. They were stuck in a comparison trap of “Who’s Who and Who’s Not.” We see Paul’s undeterred affection for their spiritual welfare reach a new height today. Read 2 Cor. 11:1-6.
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Cor. 11:3
We can be so startled and taken back by the physical presence of a snake and yet, when the Enemy strikes in serpent-like form, why are we so hesitant to run? Why do we struggle to recognize him? Did you notice how Paul describes the faith of his friends?
Scary, isn’t it? Paul’s description here is not the non-religious or atheist, the infrequent “Christmas and Easter only” church attendee or even the superficial, carnal Christian. Did you catch his very descriptive adjectives? The person who can be seduced by the enemy is one who is wholeheartedly and sincerely pursuing devotion to Christ. I believe that none is safe or off limits from the seduction of the Enemy. There are other scriptures that support this phenomenon.
- Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Prov. 16:18
- Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Cor. 10:12
- Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Gal. 6:1
Do not be fooled into thinking that just because you are passionately pursuing Christ that you have received immunity from temptation. Even the godliest people have a propensity to sin. In my lifetime, I’ve seen some godly people fall. They had become so busy doing the work of God that they no longer had intimacy with God. This is a slippery slope. We can have a headful of knowledge about the Word of God and yet have a heart that is miles away. After all, isn’t this exactly the example of the Pharisees and Sadducees in scripture? Their heads were full but their hearts were empty.
Satan, as the Father of Lies, comes to deceive us into a faulty line of thinking. He knows that we are prone to trust our feelings over our mind. We often are swayed in our thinking by how we feel. This is exactly the trap that Eve fell for. She believed the apple would give her knowledge that she did not currently possess. A sense of entitlement crept in. If we are going to win against the wiles of the Enemy, then we will have to learn how to behave out of what we know as truth rather than how we feel.
Paul was afraid the Corinthian church would be deceived with a worldly view. He tried to guard their hearts against deception. Just like Eve was deceived by the serpent, we too can be tricked or misled. It happens subtly. It can be a slow decline.
In order to guard our hearts and minds against the wiles of the Enemy, we must saturate ourselves in the Word of God. Have controversial issues replaced your “sincere and pure devotion”? Has head knowledge superseded your relationship with Jesus? How do you see the serpent sneaking into our current culture?