2 Corinthians 11
God planted a garden in Eden and out of the ground He made to spring up EVERY tree that is PLEASANT to sight and GOOD for food. God places man, his prized creation, in the Garden to work it and keep it. All around him are beautiful to look at and delicious to eat foods. God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of EVERY tree in the garden, BUT of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in that day you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:8-17).
Free will with only the smallest of temptation. Because only free will leads to a free decision to love and obey. Surrounded by so much beauty and good food, surely man would be satisfied with the ABUNDANCE available, even if one was to be avoided.
And as Eve is in the garden one day enjoying the abundance available to her, the devil slithers in with, “Did God really say?” assertions that perhaps she misunderstood, mixed with lies eagerly absorbed by Eve as new revelation, enlightenment, the real story that God is holding out on them.
The devil has a way of shifting our eyes from our purpose, from the abundance all around us, from the beautiful things available to us and laser-focusing them on that one thing we don’t have. He has a way of shifting our perspective and even our worldview. And it affects our desires, what we think joy and contentment look like, what we seek, who we follow.
THIS. This Paul is reminding the Corinthians is how Satan works. Deception wrapped in half-truths and enticing lures. Planting doubt. Conjuring up ideas of missing out; God keeping good things from us.
THIS. This Paul is telling them is what we are falling for when we lean into those “preaching another Jesus” (2 Cor 11:4). Preaching a little truth – or even a lot of truth – with destructive lies woven in. Lies that get us off track. Lies that ultimately turn our face from the Gospel and from God.
The devil didn’t stop working in the garden or in Corinth. His lies weave their way into every culture and every time period. False teachers and false worldviews will come. The problem is the Corinthians – and us – “put up with them readily” (2 Cor 11:4).
Honestly, this is an area that constantly has me on my toes and on my knees. What makes us think we are any stronger or more discerning or more righteous than any of those who came before us from Adam to today? God inspired so many warnings to be preserved in His Word. The devil is good at what he does. He is crafty and experienced and ruthless. He knows it only takes a slight shift to get us eventually completely off track before we even know it. So. Many. Warnings. And here again from Paul, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” (2 Cor:13-15)
This is how the devil works. He doesn’t come in a black cape and evil mask. He comes disguised as an angel of light. He comes in a form appealing to the senses. He’s no rookie. Be aware and alert and always in prayer for discernment.
There is but one Gospel. One Truth. One Lord. One God. One Savior. One Messiah. One Christ. God, daily give us wisdom and discernment and courage to seek, know, and follow Your Truth. Let no untruth or false teaching take hold of us. Get behind me, Satan.
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