“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 Cor. 11.3
In the modern world, preachers and believers alike are often plagued with a multitude of fears.
“What does the congregation think of my ministry?” “What will my co-workers say about my faith?” “What if we don’t have enough money come in to build the new multi-purpose worship center?” “What if my congregation shrinks?” “Will they be offended if I preach a message of repentance?” “Will we make it through these tough economic times?”
These examples are only a small pinch of the kinds of thoughts that plague the modern preacher and the saints in all places. The apostle Paul was on a different plane.
He did not fear persecutors, for “if I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1.10b)
He did not fear his own prophesied imprisonment, for “I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21.13b)
He did not fear financial instability or deprivation, nor the temptation to be irresponsible when prospering, for “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” (Phil. 4.11b
He did not fear death, for “we are of good courage, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5.8)
Can a man who doesn’t fear death, rejection, poverty or suffering have any fear at all? Aren’t these the root fears for a thousand other anxieties? Paul was free from the dark power of them all. Yet he did have one fear for the saints for whom he labored:
“…. 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.”
Are you engaged with things that keep you from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ? We need to be delivered from earthbound fears, and to join in with the only issue that made Paul afraid; namely, that we would “be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”