Tag: thorn in the flesh

Learning to delight in weakness!

Scripture reading for August 13th:  2nd Corinthians 12

Paul continued to plead with the church for their good.  He told them a story about a man in Christ that was caught up into heaven.  This man was actually him!

“I know a man in Christ, who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.  Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows.  And I know that this man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows–was caught up to paradise.  He heard inexpressible things that man is not permitted to tell.  I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.”  (2nd Corinthians 12:2-5)

Paul used the third person to tell this story, because he did not want anyone to exalt him.  He explained that following these revelations, God used “a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me.”  (2nd Corinthians 12:7)  This ‘thorn’ was given to keep Paul from the sin of pride!   Paul prayed for this ‘thorn’ to be removed but was told by the Lord, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  (2nd Corinthians 12:9)

The ‘super apostles’ boasted about their greatness and speaking ability, commanding large offerings.  Paul tried to show the Corinthians and us that God works through weak vessels.  Charisma, large crowds, and large offerings are not necessarily signs of God’s anointing!  As Paul preached, he came in humility, weakness, and dependence on Christ.  God did signs and wonders, confirming his ministry.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. . .For when I am weak, them I am strong.”  (2nd Corinthians 12:9-10)

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Power made perfect in weakness!

Scripture reading for November 29th: 2nd Corinthians 10-13

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.  Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.””  “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That’s why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2nd Corinthians 12:9-10

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? 2nd Corinthians 13:5

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2nd Corinthians 13:14

These quotes from the last chapters of 2nd Corinthians call us to faith and a trust in the power and grace of Christ’s victory on the cross.  We are equipped through Christ for all spiritual conflicts.  He has given us divinely powerful weapons that defeat darkness and the stronghold of evil in our present world.   These strongholds are thought patterns and schemes of Satan to keep us in darkness.

Along with our own battles, there are false teachers and apostles who masquerade as teachers of light.  They will abound in the church of the last days.  We must be watchful and test everything by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.  False Christians will end up eternally damned!

We must humbly examine where our trust lies.  It is not in our own resources, physical or mental strength, or abilities.  Christ in us enables us to do all things and win the eternal crown of life.  He alone is our hope of glory!  His grace alone is sufficient!

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Delighting in weaknesses!

Scripture reading for September 11th: 2nd Corinthians 12:1-10

Paul continued his boasting by talking in the third person about a man who was caught up to heaven.  “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven.  Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows.  And I know that this man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows–was caught up to paradise.  He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.” (2nd Corinthians 12:2-4)  The false apostles had stories, but Paul had a personal experience that he could only relay as if it happened to someone else.  He had a vision or maybe an experience in his body that only God knew how it occurred.  This person was caught up to paradise and heard some things that he was not allowed to express or tell.

Paul told them that he refrained from any more boasting so that people would not put him on a different level and cause him to have pride.  God also was concerned about Paul’s pride as well!  “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why,  for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2nd Corinthians 12:7-10)

Much has been written about Paul’s thorn in the flesh.  Some say it was a physical ailment related to Paul’s eyesight.  Others believe it was the false apostles that continued to attack the church.  Paul did seek the Lord about the removal of this thorn and God told him simply to abide in His grace.  For Christ’s sake, Paul chose to delight in his weaknesses and trials for the Gospel.  He learned that Christ’s power rested on him and worked through him in these trials.  We can all learn from this truth!

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