Tuesday, December 20, 2016

GLORY IN YOUR SUFFERING AND WEAKNESS, Dan Mayfield

When suffering, do we glory in it and glorify God? Sing His praises? Draw nearer to Him in prayer? Are we undefeated and undeterred? We can learn from the Apostle Paul who said,
"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." 2 Cor 12.
THE THORN IN THE FLESH
When Satan means for evil, God means for good. Paul speaks personally of "an affliction in the flesh" which is something that could ruin him or it could empower him.
"7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor. 12:7-10.
These words are intended to be faith building. Yet we know that the "thorn in the flesh" is a "messenger of satan" which is some sort of affliction to the Apostle. So troubling is it to Paul that he prayed three times for God to remove it. But God said no.
The devil's "thorn" is something we don't know the nature of. It might be a debilitating thing in the mind or it might be something that is causing pain or weakening of the body to Paul who calls it an "affliction" in verse 9. Regardless, it is causing pain and anguish to the Christian servant.
We know that the thorn something that humbles the man. A man who can run great distances is humbled if he loses his legs. A man who has great brain power is humbled if he suddenly can't remember things. So this thorn is very humbling to Paul. In these circumstances, some people "curse God", as Job's wife encouraged him to do, and then some people glory in the humiliation because it means God's power can work through him.
The devil means such things for the destruction of God's child. But God allows these things, as God allowed His own Son to suffer at the hands of godless men (Acts 2:23), for the perfecting of the Christian.
God said, "My grace is sufficient for you; for power is perfected in weakness." Are you in pain? Are you in anguish? I won't tell you that it's the devil's thorn, but I'll tell you that the choice is the same. Either you can curse God and give up your faith, or you can glory in your humbled and weakened state, so that through the example of faith you show, God will be able to work great things through you.
"When I am weak, then I am strong." Instead of being weak in faith, be strong in faith. Stand firm through your suffering. Use your weak or broken body to the glory of God. Speak of God and let your light shine. This is what Paul did and it's what we should do. God bless you.

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