ADORATION – Reflect on God’s Greatness
GOD IS SOVEREIGN God approves and determines every action necessary for the existence and activity of himself and all creation.
Scripture frequently indicates God’s will as the final or most ultimate reason for everything that happens. Paul refers to God as the one “who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). The phrase here translated “all things” (ta panta) is used frequently by Paul to refer to everything that exists or everything in creation (for example, Ephesians 1:10, 23, 3:9, 4:10; Colossians 1:16, 17; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians. 8:6, 15:27–28). The word translated “accomplishes” (energeō, “works, works out, brings about, produces”) is a present participle suggesting continual activity. Paul’s statement might be more explicitly translated, “who continually brings about everything in the universe according to the counsel of his will.”
Praise God because He is Sovereign
Praise God that he sees every action. Praise God that he is the one who reigns over every action and over all of the universe. Praise God that he is constant in his sovereignty.
CONFESSION: Confess your sins to God and receive his continued mercy.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
THANKSGIVING: Giving thanks to God for his specific blessings in our lives.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100
SUPPLICATION: Bringing our requests to God.
- Bring your personal prayer requests to God.
- Pray for wisdom and courage to build trust relationships with your friends who do not know Christ.
2 Corinthians 11 Christian Standard Bible
Paul and the False Apostles
I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me. Yes, do put up with me! 2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband—to present a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!
5 Now I consider myself in no way inferior to those “super-apostles.” 6 Even if I am untrained in public speaking, I am certainly not untrained in knowledge. Indeed, we have in every way made that clear to you in everything. 7 Or did I commit a sin by humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by taking pay from them to minister to you. 9 When I was present with you and in need, I did not burden anyone, since the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my needs. I have kept myself, and will keep myself, from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be stopped in the regions of Achaia. 11 Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows I do!
12 But I will continue to do what I am doing, in order to deny an opportunity to those who want to be regarded as our equals in what they boast about. 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no great surprise if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will be according to their works.
Paul’s Sufferings for Christ
16 I repeat: Let no one consider me a fool. But if you do, at least accept me as a fool so that I can also boast a little. 17 What I am saying in this matter of boasting, I don’t speak as the Lord would, but as it were, foolishly. 18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I will also boast. 19 For you, being so wise, gladly put up with fools! 20 In fact, you put up with it if someone enslaves you, if someone exploits you, if someone takes advantage of you, if someone is arrogant toward you, if someone slaps you in the face. 21 I say this to our shame: We have been too weak for that!
But in whatever anyone dares to boast—I am talking foolishly—I also dare: 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I’m talking like a madman—I’m a better one: with far more labors, many more imprisonments, far worse beatings, many times near death.
24 Five times I received the forty lashes minus one from the Jews. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. 26 On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, and dangers among false brothers; 27 toil and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and without clothing. 28 Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
30 If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is blessed forever, knows I am not lying. 32 In Damascus, a ruler under King Aretas guarded the city of Damascus in order to arrest me. 33 So I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped from his hands.
“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.”
What does it mean to be cunning? It means to have the skill of obtaining your own ends through the use of deceit. What was his ends and what was the deceit? His end goal was the spiritual death of humanity. His deceit was that God could not be taken at his word or is not to be trusted. Or to twist what God had said in order to lead Eve to believe that obeying God was like deciphering a code or figuring out a riddle. “Did God really say?” The serpent asked. “Oh come on, God knows what will really happen if…” Eve tragically fell for his cunning. How were the Corinthians in danger of being led astray in similar fashion from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ? The end is the same, spiritual death or at least spiritual disease. The deceit is likewise the same, a twisting of what God has said. Most likely the twisting was adding human effort to try and earn God’s favor. What kind of “cunning” approach has the enemy tried in your life in his attempt to lead you away from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ? Are you aware? What are you doing to protect yourself? Sincere means “authentic” or “real” and pure means “nothing else added.” Like pure gold or pure chocolate. A devotion that is pure is a life where Christ is on the throne of our hearts all by himself. No one and nothing else is attempting to share that place with him. There are many ways the enemy can apply his skillful cunning to our lives. Be aware. Be vigilant.