2 Corinthians 11:1- 6
”…this is the passion of God burning inside me!” (2) The Message.
Christian leaders should have a burning passion:
- For the church’s faithful devotion to Christ (2): It should matter to us greatly that people we shepherd might love Jesus with ”sincere and pure devotion” (3b). We don’t want to see the church distracted by other ‘lovers’, or going off ‘arm in arm’ with other gods. We want to watch, in the church, a growing love for the Lord; a blossoming, fruitful and happy marriage. Paul always had a sense of the last day, and his accountability to God for the church/ministry entrusted to him. Something of that is seen here, I think. A proper understanding of our responsibility will give us this kind of intensity: ”I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.” (2a).
- For the church’s doctrinal purity (3, 4; see also Gal.1:6-9): See, in verse 3, the close connection between mind and heart. You might think Paul would express concern for their hearts being led astray. But no, it is their ‘‘minds’’ he focuses on. There is such a big emphasis in the writings of Paul on the place of the Christian mind. Churches must be well taught because there are still people who preach another Jesus and another gospel, and it comes from another spirit than the Holy Spirit. (Here is one reason why we need the discerning of spirits). There are purportedly Christian people who are preaching stuff that is all out of plumb with the Word of God. Leaders have got to care deeply about this reality, and do what they can to protect the church from deception. The possibility of being ”deceived by the serpent’s cunning” has hung in the air since the Garden of Eden. The devil sells his lies very persuasively (”exactly as the Snake seduced Eve with his smooth patter…” The Message.) The problem in Corinth was that they were being influenced by the ”super-apostles” who set themselves up as superior to Paul (5, 6). Paul recognised that he didn’t have ”that smooth eloquence that impresses you so much” (6). There is the perennial problem in the church of good people being won over by style and not checking out the substance. If the packaging is exciting, some believers won’t worry too much about the content of the parcel. It may turn out to be the old serpent from the Garden inside that oh so pretty box!
As a leader, you may not be funny; you may not be able to reel off a string of engaging anecdotes; you may not have the most winsome communication skills. None of this really matters too much. But what is of great and eternal importance is that you should stick like superglue to ”the truth of Christ” (10).
Prayer: Help me Lord to love your church and do all I can to protect ‘her’ from error and infidelity.