Discern or Deceived

2 Corinthians 11:3-4

But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.

These words from the Apostle Paul are familiar. His letter to the Galatian church, for example, is almost completely devoted to this line of thought. Jesus himself has much to say on this topic as well. Therefore, we probably ought to pay attention here.

Without an intentional effort on our part to be discerning in this world, we will become too easily deceived. False teachers endeavor to tempt and seduce us each and every day with “Jesus-shaped” words that in reality are only perversions of the genuine article.

Furthermore, Paul is not addressing a lukewarm congregation or a group of pagans here. He is writing to those he doesn’t want to see led astray from their “sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” This is frightening because it reminds us that any of us, if we are not on our guard, can be easily led astray by smooth-talkers who bring a “Jesus” who is no Jesus; a worldly spirit that is no spirit of Christ; or a “gospel” that is no gospel at all. The undiscerning can be mesmerized by pleas for tolerance, relevance, peace, unity, or the hundred other paths that would take them off the straight and narrow.

The path to the City of Destruction is wide and comfortable and is well beaten by many who have gone before us. The road to the City of God is narrow and fraught with trials and temptations and few there are who walk it.

But God’s grace is sufficient. And his power is made known in and through our weakness. We don’t have to fall prey to deception. We can trust God uncompromisingly, even in the fiery furnace of this world. If we would but keep our eyes open to the glorious vision of our Lord and hear his words, we would see that he has already walked down the narrow path before us, and if it was wide enough for him, it will be wide enough for us.

Stand Firm,
Dale

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