Scripture:2 Cor 12:5b-10
“…but on my own behalf I will not boast except of my weaknesses. Though if I should wish to boast I would not be a fool for I would be speaking the truth-but I refrain from it so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited…a thorn was given me in the flesh (a messenger of Satan) to harass me; to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that is should leave 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 of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities-for when I am weak then I am strong.”
Observation:There are a lot of questions that pop up in Paul’s writings. So much so that I think “what is God trying to say to me?”
Application:When I read this section of Scripture you know what I continually get a pause over? Yep: What was that “thorn” Paul refers to? What could it be? It is a real “thorn” or is it something figurative? If it was me, what kind of thorn would I have? Do I have one now?Isn’t that something? I am curious over what was the thorn. It has ever been that way since I read or heard about this from my youth. I used more gray cells on this than I did (do) on why there was a thorn in the first place and what it was?
I think now I am looking at this section a little bit harder. “I could boast, but I don’t. If I did boast, it would be the truth and I wouldn’t think twice about being uncomfortable. But I am not going to boast because of 2 things: I don’t want folks thinking more of me than are the facts and I want to avoid conceit and cultivate humbleness.” Apparently God gave Paul a little reminder (perhaps physical) to remember where the Glory belongs.
Is this weird on God’s part? Not at all. Remember where the sin of Adam’s race originated from: A desire to be on as equal footing with God as could be obtained. For sure the serpent suggested it but until Adam succumbed to the tempting thought it wasn’t sin. And now with that executed temptation fully in every Man’s heart it is something we have to recognize and deal with daily. So, to understand this for believers, God is conforming us to the image of His Son-and helping us mortify that particular sin daily. He loves us enough to discipline us, not as punishment, but as a loving Father toward His children.
No matter what we do, what successes we obtain, what accolades we receive, we must remember to transfer all glory and praise to Him and Him alone for only He deserves it. We can receive it as a gift but always conscious that nothing can be accomplished without God-He is always active in our lives (no time off, never relaxing, always attentive). Making “exalting God above all things” is hard for Man because we like to be first and it goes against our nature. But when we form that habit of “seeing Him, high and lifted up” in all we do-goodness, what a rush!
So Paul testifies “I glory in my weakness” because in truly recognizing my weakness, transferring all praise and Glory to God, to know that “greater is He that is in me”, my weakness becomes strength because I am not relying on flesh. I lean on Him who never fails.
Prayer:Lord God, the temptation to feel better about myself more than I should is great. The boast “Look at what I have done!” was the statement of many kings, rulers, and mighty in the Old Testament. And that didn’t go well for them if I remember correctly. I will look to You alone and glory in Your active sufficiency in my life. Please keep me from this particular pride. I don’t want to be falsely depreciative; I want a change in my heart, my outlook, and my actions. I don’t particularly care for a thorn of any kind, but I bow to Your decision on how best to make me a good and humble disciple of my Lord Jesus. AMEN