2 Corinthians 12:7-10
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh…”
We are plainly taught how mistaken we are when we set eminent saints upon a platform by themselves, as though they were some kind of superhuman beings or even angels.
Paul enjoyed more revelations than we do or at least more than we should let others know about, but then he also had a thorn in the flesh. He was a good man, but he was only a man. And, as men sometimes do, he was subject to the lure of the sin of pride itself. Pride in your children is not a bad thing, nor is being proud of your heritage, but the things which Paul had seen in the Spirit and in his walk with the Lord, he might have elevated himself higher than he should if he were to think much about the revelations that were given to him.
In his prayers, Paul asked the Lord to remove this thorn from his flesh. He did this at least three times as recorded here, yet the Lord said, No. My grace is sufficient for you. So, you see sometimes our infirmities may be brought on by Satan but allowed to stay by God. Why? Because when your joints hurt and it is hard to get up and walk or maybe you can’t balance yourself very well, then you need to depend upon God and His grace toward you so that He will get the glory in your weakness by giving you the strength to endure this trial.
In verse 9, Paul says that he would rather boast in his weakness and infirmities that the power of Christ may be manifest in him.
Leaning on God or on Jesus daily is what God was always speaking of when He told the Jewish people time and time again that He was their portion or that He would sustain them. Even in the wilderness, they got tired of the manna yet they ate it because they needed something to eat. He provided water for all of the people and their animals in the desert, even where there was no river or spring to draw from. God has always provided, yet people tend to rely on themselves more than they do on Him. Even when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, God provided the substitute for him in the form of a goat.
We are meant to walk with Him every day. That doesn’t mean that you have to be reading your Bible all of the time or even be in prayer all of the time. But, to walk in the spirit of worship regardless of where you may find yourself or in what situation, this is what Jesus meant when He told the disciples to take up your cross and follow Me. Your cross is your spiritual worship of Him everywhere you are, not just in church or Bible study.
Even when we do walk with Him daily, don’t fall prey to the sin of pride like the Pharisee did while praying. He was proud in his prayer: The Pharisee was standing alone by himself and he was praying these things: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men: extortioners, oppressors, adulterers, and not like this Tax Collector.” We must be careful not to allow pride to raise us to a place above others because we don’t deserve it, especially concerning our faith in Jesus.
Paul’s thorn was a blessing as well as a messenger of Satan because it drove him to his knees in prayer. Anytime that we are on our knees in prayer before God we can stand before anyone or anything! God honors our prayers and He hears them, whether He answers them right away or not is His prerogative because He is God!
Do we look to Him for our strength today and every day or do we just say so because it makes us look more like a Christian in the eyes of others? Remember, there are many people who claim to be a Christian but there are fewer people who actually worship God and live their lives in accordance with His Word. Even when they do this, they don’t brag about it, they just walk through their day and their lives the way that they always have since Christ entered their life. Sometimes you can spot them and other times you may not be able to pick them out. Striving to be more like Jesus is a life of living one foot in front of the other. Every second of each day is expectant of His return for us because it could be at any time.
Is it possible to live with the grace of God giving us our daily bread and following Him like He will be appearing just any day? Yes, it is! Because whether we are ready for it or not, He will appear and call us home one day. Then the world will mourn and rejoice in the same day! Rejoice because all of those “intolerant Christians are gone” and those who are mourning will be the ones who attended services and knew about His return one day but like the virgins who needed more oil…they weren’t ready when He did show up.