Simplicity

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

Chapter 11 of 2 Corinthians has always seemed a little strange to me. Many bibles have headings for different sections and yours might say something to the effect of “Paul defends his apostleship” or “Paul reluctantly boasts.” It seems absurd in today’s Christianity that anyone would question Paul’s apostleship, but that was precisely the case here for the Corinthians.

To them, Paul wasn’t as big of a name as some of the earlier disciples. Although he felt it “foolish,” Paul defended himself to the Corinthians because he deeply desired for them to hear his teaching and guidance. Paul’s boasting was also odd. He points to many of his lowest moments including beatings, stoning, and being shipwrecked. But he claims that boasting about his weaknesses truly shows the strength of Christ (a lesson we could all learn).

All of this aside, something Paul said at the end of verse three caught my attention this time through. He says that we might be led astray from the simplicity of devotion to Christ. I don’t think many people would use the word “simple” when describing their relationship with Jesus. In fact, many might say the complete opposite and point to the complexity and challenges of their relationship.

If you grew up in church or have helped with children at church, you can see how simple our faith can really be. Maybe it’s the “ABCs” or “Love God, Love People” but it only seems to get more complicated the older we get. While it may be true that our lives are more complex as adults, that doesn’t mean that our relationship with God has to be more complicated. As Paul states in this verse, it’s the simplicity of devotion to Christ.

Now you may say that being fully devoted to Christ isn’t that easy, and I agree. But there is a big difference in simple and easy. While the idea of throwing a football to a teammate is very simple at its core, it’s not always easy to accomplish. Just like being devoted to Christ is simple enough (love Him, obey Him, desire to read His word and spend time with Him in prayer), but it’s not always easy to accomplish.

Although throwing a football is simple, it’s the job of the defense to make it difficult. To confuse and complicate a simple task. Paul mentions the serpent is deceiving and crafty. He can certainly confuse and complicate any situation. So while our devotion to Christ may be difficult at times, we can find hope in knowing that it’s not complicated.

Walt Howard