The Greatest Peril Christians Face [Devotional]

the greatest danger and peril christians face

From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness (2 Corinthians 11:24-17, NKJV).

When I was homeschooling my kids, a lesson in the writing curriculum we used talked about “the banana in the box.” The basic idea was to imagine that you got a box of “something” in the mail. For example, a box of books. And in that box, there also happened to be a banana. The banana represented something that was out of place, that you shouldn’t include in the piece you were writing.

In the passage of Scripture above, I see a “banana.” Now I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be included because it’s no doubt there for a purpose.

Take a minute to re-read the Scriptures.

Were you able to spot the “banana”?

The thing that jumped out at me when I read this passage were the words, “in perils among false brethren.” You’ll note that all of the other perils mentioned (except for the reference to Gentiles) had to do with things that could cause harm or at the bare minimum, discomfort, to the body.

While most of us don’t have to worry about beating with rods, nor shipwrecks, many of our fears focus on things that harm us physically in some way. For example, you may fear car accidents. Or you may fear financial hardship (which could cause some discomfort in the natural realm). Perhaps if you’re in a bad neighborhood at night, you fear being mugged. You may lock your doors because you fear intruders.

But do you have the same level of fear when it comes to false teachers? False teachers are, in fact, the greatest peril Christians face.

All of the physical fears or discomforts we face impact us on one level. And I don’t want to discount those things. But even if someone dealt with something for a lifetime, it would be, in the grand scheme of things, a temporary hardship.

In contrast, the impact of false teachers can have a far greater effect on us than any of our physical concerns. False teachers can deceive us in such a way that we miss what God has for us, and they can even keep some people from entering into God’s Kingdom. Because of that, it’s important to be more on guard regarding false teaching than it is to lock the doors of our home or car.

In the same way that we lock out intruders, we can lock out false teachers, from intruding into our minds and hearts. The best way to go about this is to saturate your mind and heart with the Scriptures. Knowing the Scriptures will enable you to spot teaching that isn’t aligned with the Bible so that you can reject it, rather than welcome it into your life.

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Praying the Word

Lord, I ask You to give me a hunger for You and Your Word so that I’ll know You more, and be less vulnerable to the peril of those who would seek to lead me astray.

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Applying the Word

Make a commitment to fill your mind with Scripture. Reading devotionals such as this are a great starting point, but it’s even better to take things a step deeper. Read the Bible on your own. Look up the Scriptures that I share and consider whether or not what I’ve written is accurate. Attend a church with regular Bible teaching, and don’t be afraid to respectfully question what is taught. If you’re in a place that punishes questioning, that’s a sign of an unhealthy church, and it may be best to move on to a place that not only teaches the Bible but also encourages honest discussion about it.

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