The apostle Paul had great concern for the church at Corinth because they were allowing themselves to be led astray by false teachers who were preaching a different Jesus, a different Spirit, and a different gospel (see 2 Corinthians 11:4). The church was being deceived and Paul had to address this problem. He writes, “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 NAS95) The devil is crafty. His goal is to lead our minds away from Christ through subtle false teachings. It is easy to be taken in, so we must be on the alert.
Notice in this verse how our devotion to Christ is described. Our devotion to Him is supposed to be simple, or sincere. In other words, it is to be heartfelt, genuine, and plain. Our devotion is to be pure. Our devotion to Him is not to be mixed with other extraneous or unnecessary things. Simple and pure devotion—this is what the Lord wants.
But it is very easy to be deceived and to be led astray from God’s ideal. This is especially true when it comes to our worship, which is an expression of our devotion to Him. Sometimes people want glitz and glam in worship. Sometimes the focus becomes great music, a dynamic speaker, dramatic stage settings, or funny and emotional stories. It is so easy for our focus to be turned from sincere and pure devotion of the heart to external things (sights, sounds, atmosphere, etc.). Before we know it, our worship is no longer about devotion to Christ at all, but about our own desires.
Do you see a brother sitting in quiet reverence, singing a simple hymn from the heart to God? Though there may not be much to see externally, and though the fleshly-minded may be thoroughly unimpressed, God is pleased because He sees simple, sincere devotion to Christ! Do you see a sister quietly bowing her head as she partakes of the bread and the cup, just like she does every Lord’s Day? Again, there is not much going on externally. The world may think such a thing to be lifeless and uninteresting, but that’s not what God thinks! God sees simple and pure devotion to Jesus, and it is pleasing to Him!
Let us not be deceived. Let us not be led astray by Satan’s craftiness. Let us not get caught up in the thinking of the world. Simple, pure devotion to Jesus is what pleases our God. Let us offer it to Him on this Lord’s Day.