Straying Thoughts and Desires

2 Corinthians 11:1-4 ESV

“I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 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. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”

In Bible times, the Jewish marriage went something like this. Usually the parents of the prospective bride and groom arranged a marriage between their two children, but their children had to agree with it, and they had to sign a marriage covenant. By signing that covenant they were now married, but the marriage was not to be consummated until the groom went and prepared a place for the bride and then he came and got her and took her to be with him, which is when they had the wedding feast, and which is when the marriage was then consummated.

Well, when we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, if our faith is genuine God-given faith, we enter into a marriage covenant with our Lord, and it will not be consummated (completed) until Jesus returns for his bride and he takes his faithful ones to be with him for eternity. And in the meanwhile, just like in the Jewish marriage, we as the bride of Christ are to keep ourselves pure until the wedding night when our spiritual marriage to our beloved Lord will be consummated (completed). And we are to have no other lovers besides our Lord, spiritually speaking.

This is what Paul was talking about. For by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with these people, he led them to faith in Jesus Christ, and so he betrothed them to one husband, Jesus Christ, to present them collectively as a pure virgin to Christ, as his pure bride. And now he felt a divine jealousy for them, for he feared that their thoughts were being led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ, as his pure bride. So, it is a lot like having a divine jealousy for a friend who you introduced to another friend, then the two got engaged, but now you are concerned that she has wandering eyes.

The concern came as a result of people who were among the believers who were introducing to them and teaching them another Jesus other than the one the Lord’s apostles taught, and a different spirit from the one they had received, and a different gospel from the one they had accepted, and they were putting up with it readily enough, and they were not rejecting it, and they were not challenging it, but they were at least tolerating it. But it appeared they may have been accepting it and entertaining it, and thus they were being led astray to go after a false god and a false gospel.

And Paul saw this as a bride cheating on her groom/husband with another lover, in her thoughts, that she was being led astray in her thoughts. And I see this as the biggest sin permeating the church today, the sin of the thought life. The mind appears to be what Satan is going after the most. For if he has our minds, he has us under his control, under his spell. And he is targeting people’s minds in many different ways, via advertising, social media, the news media, entertainment, false teachings, propaganda, and the like. And he is getting many people to go his way.

Now, when it comes to literal physical marriages between a man and a woman, many of these are being destroyed today by one or the other spouse having straying thoughts. The cheating partners may not at all be physically engaged with another person, but they may be in their minds. For they may be fantasizing about someone else, daydreaming about being with someone other than their spouse, emotionally longing for a different relationship other than the one they have, which may include looking at images and/or videos to give them a visual to pine (lust) after.

And when our minds are led astray to teachings which do not agree with the teachings of Jesus and of his NT apostles, or when we have our minds set on what is contrary to the will of God, and contrary to the Scriptures, because we want something other than what God is offering, because it makes us feel better, then it is a lot like a spouse cheating on his/her other spouse, but just in his/her mind. It is still cheating, though. It is still adultery, even if it is not physical. But often what begins only in the mind leads to something physical, and it can lead to believers forever separating from God/Christ.

So, be careful what you are allowing to come into your minds. Some of it may appear harmless, on the surface, but it may not be harmless at all. We must guard our hearts and minds against all evils, and against all teachings which are contrary to the Scriptures (in full context). And we must keep our minds pure, so we can’t just let anything come into our minds, and we cannot entertain in our minds what is evil and what is contrary to the will of God. For even if it is just in the mind, it will be damaging to our marriage relationships and to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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