THE very first time I read 2 Corinthians 12:7-9,I did not understand it.
Today several years later,I will try to explain the meaning of Paul’s thorn in the flesh.
Particularly how it affects me and you in our daily walk with Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 says”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.
 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF “THORN IN THE FLESH IN THE BIBLE.
THE first time this phrase appeared in the bible was in the book of Joshua.
Joshua 23:13, “Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you.
But they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.”
The thorn in the flesh referred to here ,was discomfort as a result of disobedience.
The Israelite’s had disobeyed the lord .They refused to drive out all the heathens from the promised land as instructed by God.
Generations later these same heathens that were a thorn in the flesh were used in a positive way Judges 3:1-3.
The creek word for thorns means a splinter or a needle that pricks you. Paul’s thorn in the flesh was also used in a positive way.I will explain that subsequently.
I see the phrase “THORN in the flesh, “as a double edged weapon allowed by God.
On one hand God allows it to make us feel the consequences of disobedience. On the other hand God uses these unpleasant circumstances to help us walk positively with him. And reveal his grace and power.
WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT PAULS THORN IN THE FLESH.
Think of a scenario where you are sick and have to go to the hospital.
And the doctor needs to give you a medicine in the form of a drip to get you well.Getting a needle into your vein is not a pleasant experience. In fact some people can’t even stand it.The reality is that you need to endure the needle pain to get the medicine to make you well.With that illustration in mind,let’s look at why Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh.”
Take a look again at 2 corintians 12:7 says”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.
Do you notice that the reason for the thorn was repeated 2 times in one verse.
“least I should be exalted above measure.“This sentence appears at the beginning and at the end of verse 7.
This verse simple means that God had given Paul so much revelations, intelligence, and knowledge. This had the potential to make Paul proud, arrogant, and conceited. God wanted Paul to be Christlike in his humility instead of seeing himself as being above those he served.
To guarantee that he does not become proud, God gave to Paul a “thorn in the flesh.”
DOES GOD ALSO GIVE US THORNS IN THE FLESH?
Do you worship God with all your heart and to the best of your ability?
In your walk with God,are there things in your life that irritates you,gives you stress and shame.?.Have you asked God to change these situation for years and yet it remains?.
That is your own thorn in the flesh.
In my walk with God through the years,I can happily say that God answers most of my request. The answer is always according to his will and purpose of course.There are however two things I have been asking for years now.I have not received an answer.
Yes God allows thorns in our lives. Settle that first in you mind.
The next question is :
WHY DOES GOD ALLOW THORNS IN OUR FLESH
Paul said that he begged the lord 3times to take away this thorn in the flesh .This very distressing and uncomfortable situation.
But God said NO.! Because his grace was sufficient for the situation and His strength is exhibited through our weakness.
This explains why God loves using the weak things of this world to show his strenght.It explains why God delayed for so long before giving Abraham Isaac.It was very clear that Sarah and Abrahams were old.
It was only through God’s grace and strength that they brought forth Isaac.
God could have easily healed Moses stammer. But he did not.Instead He used him as he was to bring the Isrealites out of Egypt.
If we were able get everything by our own abilities and strength,how will God’s grace and strength be made manifest.?
If I am to translate it practically. The more thorns you have,the weaker your strength and the more
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HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE THORN IN THE FLESH IS FOR GODS GLORY
From our bible reading in 2 corinthians, Paul first prayed three times to the Lord.He asked the lord to remove the thorn.
Our first reaction to a thorn is to ask God to remove it .
Then wait and see if he will remove it or will rather let it remain
.In Pauls case,the Lord said NO! Never try to remove a thorn that the lord wants you to have.
I am not saying you should be comfortable when you have challenges.
All I mean is PRAY FIRST.
In the process of praying .listen to what the spirit says to you.
Then you will know whether the thorn is for God’s glory or not.
HOW SHOULD WE LIVE WITH A THORN IN THE FLESH.
There are two ways to handle a thorn in the flesh. Either you focus on it and remain miserable,or you focus on something greater and allow the thorn to do what it was meant to do .
.And that is to show forth God’s glory and power.
God loves you very much.
But sometimes he allows discomforts and embarrassing situations to linger.So the he can show you his grace.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 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.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak,then am I strong.”
Thank you so much for reading to the end.I hope you learnt one or two things .
Do you have any thorns in your flesh right now.?feel free to comment.Dont forget to follow me on pinterest.