Jesus Christ Is Lord

That every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!

My Thorn In The Flesh

Posted by Job on May 15, 2009

2 Corinthians 12:7
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.

Much has been made of the mystery of the precise nature or identity of Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Theories include bad eyesight, frequent illness, guilt over crimes against the church, and even (according to the depraved mind of one utterly wretched school of thought) repressed homosexual urges. Well, let me share my own.

I have a very vivid imagination, a mind that is prone to wandering, and difficulty concentrating or applying my thoughts to things for any length of time or at any depth, especially if they are good things. As a result, I frequently find my thinking assaulted with a great many vile thoughts including but not limited to images of sin, blasphemies against our Lord Jesus Christ, and attitudes of cynicism, disrespect and rebellion. Almost all of it is the direct result of my memory of all of the wretched abominations that I acquired through my voracious consumption of television, movies, music, magazines, talk radio and the Internet. It is almost as if I have some sort of powerful relational database where practically the instant that my mind conceives of a thought – whether it be neutral, innocent, or holy – it brings to my thinking some blasphemous thought or cynical emotion, and this issue is particularly intense and grievous when I am attempting to read my Bible or pray.

This morning, after enduring yet another episode of this sinful mind activity while driving, I despaired and cried out to God to remove this evil from me. I discerned while praying about the matter that these attacks on my mind would cease when I reached heaven, and until that blessed event occurs, it was actually good for my own sake that they remained because they

A) remind me of my need to rely totally upon the grace of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross for my salvation

B) remind me of the hideously grotesque nature of my sinful former life for the sake of bearing witness and testimony of others, and to prevent me from thinking that I was already a basically good, decent moral person living a productive useful existence that the grace of Jesus Christ only needed to add to

C) give me added incentive to avoid defiling myself with sin by consuming still more “entertainment” – especially that which appears to be merely harmless idle vanities but are actually a deception and a snare – that actually is chock full of rebellion, cynicism, and much careless swearings and casual breaking of the third of the ten commandments (do not take the Name of the Lord in vain) that serves no productive purpose in my life whatsoever but will in the future find itself corrupting my thoughts

D) keeps me from thinking that I am perfect or at least very nearly there, the result of which would be – owing to a most regrettable character flaw and temptation that lurks within – my becoming extremely vain, prideful, self – righteous, self – satisfied, and lazy

E) allows me to identify with, have compassion for, and motivates me with a strong desire to help those that are in bondage to sin and death as I was not so very long ago.

After that word of truth came into my heart and mind, I immediately remembered Paul’s writing about his thorn in the flesh – and as if for the first time in my life – understood, and my despair and guilt turned to joy and victory! So, my prayer went from begging God to deliver me from these thoughts and making them stop to one of asking God to work this within me 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 my behalf:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Even so, come Lord Jesus Christ! Praise Jesus Christ for everlasting life, life and life more abundantly, His grace and mercy towards the meek, the weak, and wretched sinners, and for the victory over sin and death that comes through His Name, available to us by the emptying Himself of life and glory on the cross and reclaiming them back when He rose from the dead! Praise be to God!

6 Responses to “My Thorn In The Flesh”

  1. […] My Thorn In The Flesh […]

  2. Frank said

    Good post, however some additional thoughts to also consider.-

    Paul,s quote about the thorn in the flesh comes from Numbers 33.55.
    But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then it shall come to pass that those whom you let remain of them shall become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein you dwell.

    The thorns in Paul’s flesh were angels of Satan, ie fallen angels or demons. It was Paul’s responsibility to cast them out of his land, (his flesh) as he entered his new life as a follower of Jesus.

    He asked the Lord three times but the answer was that the Grace that he had received from God was more than sufficient to empower him for the job of casting them out. Grace implies power, because by grace we are seated in Christ far above all principality and power etc.

    Until Christians recognise that casting out the inhabitants of our land is fundamental to freedom, we will always be vexed by demonic forces from within.

    There is no peace without first, a war of deliverance.

    • Job said

      Frank:

      Please be aware of the distinctions between Israel and the church, the age of the law of Moses and the dispensation of grace. Not a dispensationalist, but it still matters!

  3. KyleNYC said

    Brother,

    That couldn’t have been a more sublime posting. Seriously.

  4. Elder J said

    Job,

    I’m reminded of the Word of God that says “Jesus” was in ALL POINTS tempted like as we are, YET without sin. I believe you picked it up when you talked about bringing EVERY thought to the obedience of Christ.

    I’ve heard many different sermons and teachings on this, my take away is this: We have to “check” our thoughts daily, and it requires tremendous effort if we are not “used to” bringing our thoughts captive. I believe unchecked “thoughts” give the enemy license to attack, harass, and complicate things for us because of our lack of discipline. By no means am I judging you, I have had wild crazy thoughts at times in my life also. I believe the “warfare” is on so many different levels that by the time we get a handle on it we are well “seasoned” to help someone else to go through.

    Forgive me for this long post, but when I really look at the christian walk, it’s like going through elementary school all over again. Starting out with salvation in kindergarden, moving along to baptism by water and being faithful in church attendance in 1st grade,…etc. etc.
    My point is, that when we come to salvation I believe that our minds are not saved, just our spirits (maybe it is, but bear with me) I believe there is a regeneration that has to take place in our minds, that if it doesnt take place we have this internal war going on all the time. What can even be more confusing for a believer is that there is an internal war going on, and external war going on, and a heavenly war going on. It’s like its on three planes, or three dimensions. Things get even more complex when you are attacked by demons cross-dimensionally. In other words a christian gets attacked in their mind by demons and may not recognize where its coming from, to complicate this the christian is still battling the carnality of their own “fleshly mind”.
    My ultimate point is this, I believe in my heart that a christian can attain what I stated before, a christian should be able to attain the level of the walk of Christ: being “tempted in all points…yet without sin”. What does that statement do for us, it shows us that there is a level of holiness that we can and should attain “in this present world”. I leave you with Revelation 21:27…please look at the part where it says “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth” I don’t know about you but I want to “make sure” my “mind” is not something that will try to defile heaven now rather than to wait until Jesus comes back, by then it may be too late to get it right with God. I just don’t want my mind to be the thing that would send me to hell. I’m just a person that has to have all the bases covered. Granted we are not perfect, nor can we catch everything all the time, that’s not my point. I just believe we should be able to “do the full” Word of God. If not, then why would God set a standard that his people could not attain, in my opinion that would make Him unjust.

    Elder J

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: