WHOSE TRUTH ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
- Key Verse
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)
- READ THE CHAPTER
Whose truth are you listening to? Paul was frustrated with the Corinthian church's lack of devotion to the true Christ and the true gospel, even to the point of boasting about his credentials as a Hebrew and his suffering for Christ. He longed for the Corinthians to see that false hope leads to deception and despair.
Out of desperation for Sydney, our 8-year-old daughter who was battling leukemia, I was tempted to turn to my own translation of the truth. I only wanted to read the verses that fit my desires and listen to those who were saying what I wanted to hear.
We were in a hospital in New York away from home, church, family and friends.
I walked to chapels and magnificent cathedrals, heard eloquent speakers, lit candles, and skimmed books. I received a crucifix the Pope had blessed, anointing oils, and verses. Though I found momentary peace, none of it lasted, nothing quenched my thirst for the truth. That is, until I gave into the things I had resisted . . . reading the difficult verses, listening to those who were "open and honest," and talking with those who had authenticity because of their own suffering and loss of a child. Though it was not always what I wanted to hear, the message of these apostles of the truth of God's Word was the only thing that gave me hope. "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
My heart needed truth -- "the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (verse 3) -- and trust in His promises. Though I truly believed He could heal Sydney at any time, He did not promise to heal Sydney physically nor could I pray hard enough or have enough faith to change His will. But, He did promise that He loves me, that He will comfort me, and that His courage will help me live (Isaiah 41:10). He promised that He will never leave me or forsake me, and He is preparing a place for me to live for eternity with Him and with those I love who also trust in Him.
We, too, can lead each other astray by voicing our own hopes and opinions when they are not informed by the Word of God.
I am grateful for the Pauls in my life who loved me enough to tell me the truth.
1. Are there areas in your life in which you are allowing yourself to be deceived by listening to false messages?
2. Do you have Pauls in your life who love you enough to tell you the truth? If so, make note of who they are.
3. Are you tempted to share your own opinion more often than Scripture?
4. Paul was not a charismatic or eloquent speaker. Do you let your own weaknesses keep you from sharing the truth of Christ?
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
2 Corinthians 11 - Galatians 2 (July 23-27)
Read 2 Corinthians 11:16-33.
• Make a list of all the things that happened to Paul. Discuss which one you think would be the hardest.
• What does Paul say in verse 30?
• What do you think it means to boast in your weaknesses?
• Have each person make a list of your weaknesses and hardships that you have been through.
Now read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and Romans 5:3-5.
• What are the blessings of hardships and weaknesses?
• What does it mean to trust the Lord in the hard times?
• What does it mean to trust Him in your weaknesses?
Activity: Go back over your lists. What is the weakness or hardship that you are struggling with most? Put everyone's name on a piece of paper and have every family member draw a name. This week, do different things to encourage that person in his or her toughest struggle right now. Find verses to encourage them and pray for them.