The One Thing You Should Fear

September 09, 2017

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

The apostle Paul had a healthy fear for those he loved. It's a fear that should concern each of us. He was afraid that Satan would lead believers away from the most important thing: simple, pure devotion to Christ.

This verse is written to warn you about a dramatic danger you face. A danger that is crippling the church right now. It would be wise to pause and look carefully at what Paul is saying; to evaluate your current condition in light of his warning.

THE SUBTLE ENEMY

... is none other than Satan himself. He is deceptive and skilled at his task. He has been deceiving greater men and women than you for thousands of years. Why would you think you would be immune to his temptations?

He’s so good that his temptations will merely seem like your own thoughts. “I was just thinking,” you will say, blissfully ignorant that the genesis of that thought was the Father of Lies.

THE BATTLEFIELD

... is the mind. Satan's attack on Eve was a dart of doubt aimed at her thinking. He knew that if he could get her to doubt God's goodness, she would not trust Him. And, if she did not trust Him, she would not follow Him. ""Has God said ...?"" he reasoned. ""God is holding out on you. He's telling you not to eat of the tree's fruit, but, in reality, it's that very fruit that is best for you.""

Satan's suggestions will sound like they are merely coming from you. That you are “just thinking.” And, in your thinking, you reason that if you take a certain path it will not be harmful. In fact, it will be so good that it will satisfy you—that it is exactly what you really need at the moment.

But it is a path away from Christ. The farther you go in your sin; the farther Christ recedes in your rear-view mirror. You will walk away from the cool of the Garden right into the rush-hour traffic of the world.

THE LOSS

Soon you have forfeited the most important thing—the one thing that will satisfy—the one thing that can bring life. You have lost intimacy with Christ. Your heart is no longer simply wrapped up in Jesus. The pure devotion that was so thrilling to your soul is diluted with the love of the world and the false gods it affords. 

What you were convinced would satisfy you only destroys any hope of real fulfillment. The Apostle who knew so much about pure love wrote that ""He who has the Son has the life; He who does not have the Son does not have the life"" (1 John 5:12). You have not just been deceived, you have lost life. And, if you are not shining with the close light of Christ, you have lost your witness. And, if you have lost your witness, you have lost your purpose.

You will feel awful spiritually and emotionally (perhaps even physically), but you don’t quite know why. Entertainment will become more important than ever, for you will look to it to give you the thrill only Christ can provide.

Simple, pure devotion is replaced with a duplicitous heart that proclaims a pursuit of Christ but, in reality, is chasing other gods. You may try to prop up your loss with a show of religious activity or feigned enthusiasm. But a child of God who is not walking with Jesus in simple, pure devotion is hollow and lifeless. In your emptiness, you are a perfect target for a barrage of temptations that Satan will bring, convincing you that the fulfillment you seek is just around the bend.

""There is nothing so tragic as a merely formal Christian,"" Martyn Lloyd-Jones said. Nothing so disappointing as a person who once basked in the joy of the Lord but now wanders down darker alleys. (Even “respectable” alleys that don’t seem “all that bad” are dark without Jesus.)

THE TURN

If you have not yet been drawn away, pause and re-arm yourself with this holy fear. Be watchful for Satan's subtle suggestions and wary of his schemes. Ruthlessly walk away from the slightest suggestion that life is found anywhere else than Christ alone.

And, if you find that you have already wandered, do whatever is necessary to run to Jesus. Fast, pray, read His Word. Give deliberate time to let the Spirit ""search your heart and know your mind and see if there be any hurtful way"" in your life. Be intentional and relentless.

Ask God to return your heart to its First Love. And do not stop until your soul is once again completely enamored and overwhelmed with Jesus.

 

 





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