Devotions - Read Online

Monday | 20 August 2018
A thorn in the flesh

The apostle Paul testified that he had been given ‘a thorn in the flesh’. 2Co 12:7. Practically speaking, Paul’s ‘thorn’ was a demonic messenger of Satan. It continually tormented him by stirring up the Jews against him wherever he went. How strange that God would choose to help Paul by giving him a demonically energised, vicious and angry horde of Jews to hinder him in his work! Clearly, dealing with Paul’s pride was a much higher priority for God than his productivity and success.

Paul eventually came to understand that, although the thorn in his flesh was painful and frustrating, it was, nevertheless, specifically given to him by God to address the problem of his pride. 2Co 12:7. Paul came to peace and submitted himself to the process that the thorn was working in his life. As he did so, his pride was being dealt with, and his ‘other law’ was being removed. 2Co 12:10.

God’s provision of the thorn to Paul was so effective that, by the end of Paul’s life, his pride and ‘other law’ were completely gone! The Scriptures account that, by the end of Paul’s life, the angry hordes had gone, and there was no longer anything hindering him in his work. Act 28:30-31. God removed the thorn from Paul’s flesh, because it had been fully effective and was no longer necessary.

When we are provoked by thorny experiences in our lives, our initial response is to react. If we choose to view ourselves as a victim, we will ‘fight back’ and try to conquer the situation. This is the other law operating within our heart. However, we don’t need to respond in this way. Mat 5:39. When the frustrations of the curse provoke us, we must acknowledge our weakness and turn again to the Lord. Like Paul, we must remember that the difficult or contrary circumstances that are frustrating us are actually an opportunity to fellowship in the sufferings of Christ.


Further Study:
2 Corinthians 12
Daily Proverb:

References:

2Co 12:7
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself!

2Co 12:10
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Act 28:30-31
And he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.

Mat 5:39
‘But I say to you, do not resist an evil person, but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.’
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