October 6, 2010

Thorn in My Flesh

Today, while I was reading my daily devotional (chapter 12 of 2 Corinthians) I was struck by this verse:

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me." (v7)

Three times the Apostle Paul pleaded with the Lord to remove this "thorn." We are not told what it was, but we know that the Lord did not remove it from him. This thorn was given to him to keep him from becoming conceited. He must have had that tendency, so the Lord recognized that Paul needed some little thing to constantly remind him that God was to receive all the Glory. It is hard to believe that Paul would need this, I mean, consider his words to the churches. He was far more humble and gracious than most of the writers, and his words were sharp and critical at times. Yet, you don't see him as the puffed up Apostle. Instead, you see him as earnestly contending for the faith and the faithful, seeking only their edification and betterment. Paul apparently was prone to pride, just as I am (just as we all are), and the Lord did something about it. He helped him keep his head on right, and made sure that he didn't take any glory for himself. Paul, in good turn, gave all the credit to Jesus, and glorified God through his witness and testimony (and oh what a witness and testimony we have from him.)

I have a thorn too, and it drives me nuts at times. I tend to be so doubtful of my own abilities, that even when people tell me I am doing well, I simply do not believe them. I rack my brain with doubt, telling myself often that I shouldn't have done this or that, and sometimes even loathing myself over it. I have to be careful because Satan's torment, because while it is there to keep me from being puffed up, it also can open footholds for Satan to use. If I utter curses against myself, I then give him the right to curse me all the more. I have to remember that when these doubts come upon me, I am simply to give my glory over to the Lord. When I confess His Name, and admit my weakness, then the Lord stands in my place. He is strong when I am weak. As Paul said:

"Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (v9b)

No comments: