In 2 Corinthians 12:7-8 the apostle Paul doesn’t specify specifically what the “thorn in the flesh” was but what we do know is that Paul didn’t want it affecting his life as he went to the Lord about it three times. Paul’s thrice repeated prayer was that this messenger of Satan with his thorn by removed for good. As earnest as his prayer was God had a better plan than removing the thorn and in fact God revealed to Paul that the thorn had a purpose useful to the Master. Some of us Christians are too busy telling God what He ought to do that we are incapable of hearing what He wants to do. This leads us to falsely be committed to a path that believes that the only thing to do about our situation is to remove it altogether. Notice what the Lord did not say: “My grace will prove to be sufficient”! Nor did He say, “My grace will be enough to get you through.” No, the Lord told Paul in essence that, “I allowed the pressure to be such on this thorn that you would understand that each moment there is ample provision for your every need, because no matter the thorn, God’s grace is able to exceed any and all needs.”
Paul’s human weakness made the way for more of Christ’s power and grace! There is a spiritual principle here that we need to get a grip on: “The spiritual principle is that His strength is made perfect in our weakness”! God’s power continually increases as our weakness grows. That’s as much a spiritual principal as gravity is in the natural field, the “Paradox of Power”. In light of this spiritual reality of: “Human weakness makes way for more of Christ’s power and grace”; I believe God will be involved in our lives in the very things that cause us to realize we are weak! So let me ask you personally, “What is it that makes you feel weak?” If you are feeling weak that means that though you may be under attack you are also being led this way so that you will have far more of God’s strength and grace! The opposite of this spiritual principal is also true and that is: “Human arrogance and pride makes for less of Christ’s power and grace”. “It is far more important to God to keep us humble than it is to keep us comfortable”. That means the most dangerous thing each of us faces daily is “spiritual pride”. Paul uses a very interesting phrase of verse 9 where he writes “that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. It is the same word used in John 1:14 of Jesus and is also used in Exodus 40:34 that described the tabernacle. The words describe the truth that the all-powerful Jesus “pitches His tent” with His people in their weakness. We are often led to believe that God pitches His tent with the famous and powerful, those who are popular and are on center stage in life but not so. Jesus pitches His tent with the weak and unknown, the suffering shut-in, the anonymous, quiet servant! This is why Paul utters the “Paradox of Power” “For when I am weak then I am strong!” This led Paul to two decisions based upon this “spiritual principal”:
- Vs 9 First, he would never permit himself to brag about what he was doing: Mac Davis the country singer once wrote the lyrics to the song: “It’s Hard to be Humble” writing, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way. I can’t wait to look in the mirror because I get better looking each day. Oh Lord it’s hard to be humble but I’m doing the best that I can.” Unlike the words to Mac Davis’ song, Paul was going to take precautions so that he would not succumb to the temptation to be proud.
- Vs. 10 Second, Paul says whenever trouble comes, I’m not going to gripe, complain or feel sorry for myself: Paul wanted to recognize that this “thorn” was the best thing for God to work in his life because, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” Dear ones, When is the devil beaten in our lives? Well, based upon this “spiritual truth” NOT when we feel great and confident, when it looks like wonderful things are happening, and everything is going well. No, the devil is being defeated when we are under attack feeling weak and helpless. When we don’t know what to do; when in our weakness we come before the Lord and plead with him for strength to go on one more day, for grace to help us stand. Saint’s that’s when we are winning, that’s when the Kingdom of God is being spread.
God doesn’t need our perceived strengths, He wants our weaknesses, our sufferings, our inadequacies, our disabilities, our failures, and fears. And if we boast in those things, His power will pitch its tent among us.
This Has Been a message from Pastor Dale, and I’m Erick just reading his notes. Blessings!