Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Thorn in the Flesh


Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12 v 7-9:  "And lest I should be exalted above measure through 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.

Spiritual pride leads to a minister dominating and controlling his congregation through the flesh of self-importance.  He becomes unteachable and a law unto himself.  This opens the door for error and a departure from truth and righteousness, which is very detrimental to the church.

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.  Jesus can accomplish far more when we yield to Him, than if we were operating at our full strength without Him.

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 ever 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 "that I might know Him and the power of His resurrection".  There was a power unleashed at that moment that has continued to explode in those who recognise that the depths of our commitment and obedience are much more important than anything this world can offer.

Paul even knew that despite all he had achieved in his anointed ministry, the full revelation power of Jesus' resurrection was still to come.  As the world population grew from millions to billions, spiritual revivals would breathtakingly powerful demonstrations of God's mighty power at work.

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

Derek Prince had a great testimony of when he was in Jerusalem after the second world war.  There was  man who suffered from a heart disease from the age of 25, he was now 55 years old, who came to Derek for healing.  He immediately felt much better.  The next day he returned to say that when he got home he was struggling with his glasses as they seemed too strong for his eyes.  When he removed them he could see perfectly.  The Lord had 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.