Monday, 8 April 2019

The Thorn in the Flesh

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12 v 7-9:  "And lest I should be exalted beyond measure by the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 
9 And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 

An Apostle of Jesus Christ is given great responsibility as an overseer of God's people. In order to have that kind of authority he or she would need to be given many revelations, visions, gifts of the Holy Spirit at enhanced levels, and the wisdom to correctly understand how it all flows together.

It is not a self- or even Church-appointed ministry, only God through the Holy Spirit calls an apostle into this exalted ministry. It is a position that can easily lead to spiritual pride and harsh arrogance which would destroy the fruits of the Holy Spirit, instead of seeing them flourish.

For this reason, a messenger of Satan, a thorn that troubles the flesh, was sent to Paul to continually remind him to remain humble and allow Jesus to always be in full control and always get the glory for every miracle, healing, revelation, or victory.  I believe Paul suffered from weak eyesight after he became blind on the road to Damascus. Ananias was sent to heal him and he could see but the Lord kept perfect eyesight back from him as a reminder.

Jesus' powerful words "My grace is sufficient" seal the experience in glory rather than disappointment. He goes on to say "My strength is made perfect in weakness" meaning when we are weak in the flesh then His strength is added spiritually to us and He can accomplish far more than if we were operating at our full strength.

At every example we, at our very strongest, can never equal Jesus even at His weakest, even as He was dying He performed the greatest miracle this world has seen. He conquered sin, satan, demons and set mankind free. Even death could not hold Him as He arose from the dead and raised all of us too within Himself to make us a new creation.

Now, in His resurrected glory, we can but worship Him and yield to His authority and to the will of the Father.  As Paul said at the end of his life in Philippians 3 v 10: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;"

There was a power unleashed at that moment when Jesus died for us, which has continued to explode in those who recognise that the depths of our true commitment and obedience are much more important than anything this world can offer.

Paul gloried in his thorn in the flesh knowing that in his weakness the power of Jesus came upon him. When we experience this we are grateful because Jesus does so much more than we could ever imagine. He not only fixes the present and immediate problem but He restores the years the locusts have eaten. He restores things back to before you first started experiencing pain and sorrow.

There was an amazing testimony from Derek Prince who prayed for healing for a man who had diabetes for thirty years.  His diabetes was completely healed but he noticed that his eyesight was restored to what it had been thirty years before.  He still had a pair of spectacles he had used back then and could see perfectly through them.  God restored the years the locusts had eaten.

So if you are in a deep and serious ministry with the Lord, don't be surprised if a messenger of Satan is sent to buffet you. Jacob wrestled with God and was left with a limp through a dislocated hip; Paul had weak eyes but spiritually was a visionary who still blesses us today.  No matter what your particular affliction His grace is always sufficient.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You need humble, yielded, obedient people to allow Your glory to be manifested to the world. The world is full of pride, arrogance and contempt that is amazed at humility, meekness and grace so its important that Your children display Your nature to stir long-forgotten memories in them. In Jesus' name. Amen.