A while back I did a little investigating into counterfeiting. Ok, not to begin a printshop of my own, but strictly to get a better understanding. I learned that those who look for fake bills don’t study fake bills. Instead they study the real thing so well that it is easy for them to spot a fake – even without the little highlighter pen! What an eye opener this was for me! My need is not so much to study Mormonism or Islam or Jehovah’s Witnesses as it is to dig deep into the truth of God’s Word so much so that I can tell when something is contrary to the Bible!
False teachers were a problem in Paul’s day and they still are today. Paul explains why they must be confronted: “But 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.” Paul had a great concern that fakes would come and corrupt these new believer’s impressionable minds! Totally true - little kids believe almost anything, and new believers can do the same.
Paul then again reminded them that he was not a burden to them (by accepting $) but was a blessing: “Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!” Paul loved them and he was not the one deceiving them, it was those who “masquerade as servants of righteousness.” – the false teachers!
Paul them, while “boasting foolishly”, gives a pretty unusual resume… ”I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?” Wow! If anyone had external credentials it was Paul. Yet how incredible is it that Paul’s focus was not on what might be “successes” in ministry but on the defeats of his ministry, his weaknesses!
*Ever been conned into believing something that you found out later was false?! Deception is real and those against God and His Word are excellent at deceiving. As believers, we need to sift everything we hear through the Word of God to test if it is true or not. We can only do that by being IN the Word of God regularly. I hope our read thru the new testament has been good for you. It’s been great for me and we all need God’s perspective!
*What does our resume for God look like? A list of all “our” accomplishments? I hope not. I have a sticker in my office that reads, “I bring absolutely nothing to the table.” It makes me laugh and it also reminds me that the only thing I truly bring to the table before God is my sin! Lord, please help me to only boast of your incredible love, mercy & grace – because I need it big time!