Paul’s thorn in the flesh is one of the most controversial subjects in the Bible, and is almost always used not only to explain suffering in the Christian life, but that God wants us to endure suffering. 😰

So let’s let the Bible interpret the Bible and give us a deeper understanding of what was really going on between God and Paul when it came to his thorn in the flesh.🧐

Firstly, Paul himself identifies his thorn in the flesh as a “messenger of Satan sent to buffet me.” (2 Cor 12:7) 👿

So right away we know that the source of the thorn was Satan, not God, and that it was sent because of the abundance of revelation that Paul was receiving. (Vs 7)💡

Not only was Paul preaching the gospel to the farthest corners of the known world, he was also writing letters to the churches teaching them his staggering revelation of God’s GRACE – that we’ve been made righteous, not because of our performance but because of the finished works of Jesus, and that we have been redeemed from the curse of the law of sin and death – the law that kept people in bondage to sin. (Rom 3:22, 8:2) ✝️

Paul was also teaching the church about our astounding position – seated with Christ Jesus far above the devil and his ranks of power, and our assignment – to reign in life as kings through Christ Jesus! (Eph 1:21, 2:6, Rom 5:17) 👑 

Of course Satan couldn’t have that! So he assigned to Paul a demonic spirit to “buffet” him – to “mistreat violently, torment, and treat harshly.” (Strong’s) 👿

And Paul called this spirit a “thorn in the flesh”. 

So what exactly was this infamous thorn, this demonic messenger? Was it sickness? Disease? 

Again, let’s let scripture interpret scripture. 📖

The phrase “thorn in the flesh” is used three other times in the Bible – in Numbers 33:55, Joshua 23:13, and Judges 2:3. And every time it’s used to describe PEOPLE. 👥

Irritating, antagonistic, hostile, violent PEOPLE.😤😠😡

In a word – PERSECUTION.🤬

The demonic messenger assigned to Paul would follow him wherever he went, stirring up the people to torment, violently mistreat, and harshly PERSECUTE him, in the attempt to discourage him, hinder him, and eventually, shut him up! 🤐

And because nobody likes to be persecuted for doing good, Paul did what so many of us still do – He pleaded with God to make it go away.😭🙏🏼

Jesus has redeemed us from a multitude of things, but do you know that we are not redeemed from persecution? That’s because we are not redeemed from other people’s thoughts and opinions and behaviour toward us. 💭

In 2 Timothy 3:12 God warns us that, “All who live godly in Christ will suffer persecution.” 

When believers take a stand for righteousness and truth and live the overcoming life God intended for us to live, people are going to hate us, talk badly about us, abuse us, get offended at us, and maybe even get physically violent with us – that’s persecution. 😤😡

This persecution is not a personal attack on us, it comes for THE WORD’s sake. (Mark 4:17) 📖

And the root cause of persecution is still the same as it was in Paul’s case – people are still being stirred up by the only one who can’t have people hearing the Word and getting revelation of the truth that will make them free – THE DEVIL. (2 Cor 4:4, Eph 2:2)👿

But in His great love for us, God has given us the GRACE to endure this persecution. 😇

And Paul knew this.

Paul himself was the one that had the revelation that we do not wrestle with flesh and blood – or that people are not the source of our problems. (Eph 6:12) 👿

Paul is the one who wrote, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) 🙏🏼

Paul is the one who wrote that NOTHING – including persecution – can separate us from the love of Christ, but that in all these things we are more than conquerors through Christ! (Rom 8:35-37) 💪🏼

Paul is the one who wrote, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) ✝️

And Paul is the one who wrote to the Romans and urged them to “Bless those who PERSECUTE you: Bless and do not curse…” (12:14)🙏🏼

Paul had a revelation of God’s GRACE! 😇

That’s why God lovingly reminded Paul: “My GRACE is sufficient for you!” (2 Cor 12:9) ❤️

In other words, “Paul, you know that I’ve already given you more than enough grace to handle this – you just have to use what you have!” 📖

Then God says, “For my power is made perfect (complete) in weakness.”💥

God was more or less saying, “Paul, your natural flesh might want to give up and quit, but that’s where you can let MY power take over! My SUPER-natural strength, ability, and might will more than make up for your weaknesses! (12:9) 🙌🏼

After receiving this powerful encouragement from God, Paul could then confidently say, “I therefore delight in difficulties, hardships, persecutions, and insults, for when I am weak (in my natural ability) I am strong (in the Lord and in the power of His might!) (2 Cor 12:10, Eph 6:10)💪🏼💥

And despite the persecutions, stonings, whippings and shipwrecks, nothing and nobody was able to deter Paul from completing his assignment – to preach the good news of God’s grace to the nations. 🌎

And finally one day, Paul declared, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith,” and when he was good and ready, he departed to be with his beloved Saviour whom he had served so faithfully. (2 Tim 4:7) ✝️

The story of Paul’s thorn is not justification for suffering through sickness, disease, affliction, tragedy, poverty, or emotional trauma – we have been REDEEMED from these things through the broken body and blood of Jesus. (Gal 3:13) ✝️

It’s a reminder of the grace that God has made abundantly available to all who will believe. (Rom 4:16) 🙏🏼

❤️By His grace He has redeemed us and cleansed us from sin FOREVER. (Heb 10:14)

❤️By His grace He has healed us, delivered us, and freed us from the results of sin. (Gal 3:13)

❤️By His grace He has given us authority over all of the power of the enemy – over the Stealer, Killer and Destroyer. (Lk 10:19, Jn 10:10)

❤️By His grace He has given us His Spirit to dwell in us – His power, might, and ability. (Acts 1:8)

❤️By His grace He has given us His Word – our great and precious promises by which we ESCAPE the corruption in the world. (2 Pt 1:3-4)

❤️By His grace He has already made us more than conquerors, overcomers, and victorious. (Rom 8:37, 1 Jn 4:4, 5:4) 

And when it comes to persecution:

❤️By His grace He loved us first so that we can in turn love others. (1 Jn 4:9)

❤️By His grace He forgave us first so that we can in turn forgive our enemies and people who persecute us. (Eph 4:32)

❤️By His grace, we too can fight the good fight, finish our race, and keep the faith. (1 Tim 6:12)

God’s grace is STILL sufficient for us! #faithtalks 


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