Verse: 2 Corinthians 11:1-4
I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 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. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians, including imagery and examples they are familiar with in order to make his point. Paul says that he feels a divine jealousy for them. He is longing for the people of Corinth to remain steadfast in their faith. He is urging them to cling to Christ and remain loyal. He uses the imagery of a marriage. Same as our culture, in a marriage covenant, man and wife are to remain loyal to one another, without straying. Paul uses this statement as a metaphor to our loyalty and commitment to Christ, urging us not to stray from Him.
Paul knows that false idols and apostles are a threat to a devoted faith in Christ, just as the serpent was a threat to Eve in Eden. He continues along the same line with the statement of someone proclaiming “another Jesus” and accepting a “different spirit” or “different gospel”. In Paul’s time, he’s referring to the popular choice of philosophy as wisdom and displays of spiritual power. However, when you reflect on these verses from Paul, I wonder if you feel the same way I do. Paul wrote this in 55 A.D. Yet, somehow, the Lord knew this would still speak to my heart today in 2022.
I know that I’ve entered a covenant with the Lord. I know that I find my hope and future in His promises. Despite that, how quickly I am to be distracted by worldly things. The serpent in Eden and the serpent Paul refers to are one in the same, but change appearances over time to tempt us from the Lord. The serpent meant to draw my attention from Jesus looks a couple of familiar ways, but still manages to draw a little bit of my attention over and over again.
For me, it can look small, like comfort, hiding from anxieties, worldly “wisdom”, small inconveniences like dirty dishes and traffic. It has also recently looked like big things, like chronic pain, a heart surgery, losing a job, financial hardship. You see, friend, the enemy will do anything to draw our eyes away from Heaven. The enemy will tempt us to turn away, to rely on worldly pleasures or our own devices. Your serpent may look different than mine, but the enemy uses the same tactics over and over. He does anything possible to draw your focus, to slow you down from becoming more like Christ and to slow you down from spreading the Good News. The Lord keeps our perspective big picture, set on an eternal hope that allows us to run the race set before us with endurance. (Hebrews 12:1) Set your eyes on Him. Cling to the hope of the Lord and don’t let go.
Today, use our prayer time as an opportunity to reflect. Look back on the ways a serpent has appeared to you recently. What in your life is drawing your eyes away from Heaven? Identify the patterns that show up in your life. Then, spend the next few minutes speaking with the Lord. Ask Him to help you to see temptations in the moment. Ask Him to redirect your eyes to Him, to help you keep an eternal perspective.
Author: Becca Artymenko