The Simplicity Of Christ
A daily devotion for September 24th
3But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles." 6I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
7Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3 KJV).
The main thing about being a Christian is to see that the main thing remains the main thing. That is what Paul is saying. The
main thing is that at the heart and center of your life is the
simplicity that is in Christ, a simple thing. I have noticed over many years of observation that when religion becomes complicated, it is always a sign that it is drifting away from the realities and centralities of faith. The world around us is getting increasingly complex, and it is because it is drifting farther and farther from God. Look around at the world of nature, and you can see the simplicity of God's design everywhere. He builds the year around four seasons that repeat themselves and never fail. Yet that simple pattern of four seasons contains within it all the possible variations of weather. Look at a flower and see how simple the pattern of its makeup is and yet what an infinite variety God produces in a field of flowers. You can see this everywhere. God basically is simple. When religion becomes complex, it is a sign that it is departing from Christ.
That is what Paul is concerned about here. When you ask yourself just what that simplicity is that he is talking about, the answer from everywhere in the Word of God is the daily companionship of the Lord Jesus. Do you sense that Christ is yours all day long? Do you reckon upon that, think about that, and live out of that relationship and out of that sense of the expectation of His presence? We often say, and rightly so, that Christianity is not a creed, it is a relationship; it is living with a Person. That is the simplicity that is in Christ. The danger that we constantly face is that we get involved in the things about Christ and fail to live in a relationship with Christ.
You can lose it in the midst of Christian activity. You can lose it when you get so involved in some of the fascinating aspects of Scripture that you lose
the simplicity that is in Christ. You can lose it in the pressures of daily living. You can get so busy and so worried and so anxious about yourself and the things that are happening to you that you lose the sense that Christ is with you, and He is adequate. This is the beautiful
simplicity that is in Jesus. The Corinthian believers were assaulted with teachers who were exposing them to things that caught their attention, but they were drifting from that central point. They were involved with fascinating philosophies based on the Word of God but that went off on sidetracks and rabbit trails of thought. They were being challenged with certain ego-appealing experiences and believed that if they could only grasp them, they would feel great, wonderful, and so God-possessed. Likewise people today are invited to explore strange and wonderful mysteries all involved with Christian faith, but these tend to move them away from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Father, grant that I may walk close to Jesus and not let anything take me away from that day-by-day, moment-by-moment companionship of His presence.
Life Application: Are we getting side-tracked by the superficial and secondary? Do we need to return to the main menu: the exquisite simplicity of the Gospel?
Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.