8/15 2 Corinthians 11:3

3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

The church in Corinth had visits from men Paul called "super-apostles" (2 Corinthians 11:5) but who were really "deceitful workmen" (2 Corinthians 11:13). They were more eloquent than Paul. The church listened to their teachings and weighed them against what Paul had taught. This was heavy on Paul's heart because he was the one who had first led them to Christ. He pictured winning them to the faith as presenting a chaste virgin to Jesus for His bride. Accepting other teachings that took the focus off of Christ felt to Paul like the church was straying from her commitment to be faithful to Jesus alone.

Eve was seduced by Satan through subtle manipulation of the desires that she already had. False teaching works in the same way. It appeals to our old nature's desire to take credit for our good works. It exalts the role of self and self-importance. It turns us from trusting in the grace of God expressed in Jesus to trusting in our accomplishments. That feeds our pride, which is the old nature's favorite addiction.

True spiritual growth results in an increasing devotion to Christ alone, not in rituals, or methods, or a person, or any other thing. Godly leaders will have this goal for those they lead. Increased devotion and love for Christ should be the main desires of everyone committed to Jesus.

Warning: The enemy of our soul is subtle. Beware of anything that draws your heart away from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.