A Thorn Or Conceit? – Today’s Thoughts…
By Pastor Lee Hemen
November 4, 2008
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
Today is Election Day and I am reminded of the fact that no matter what we do, the Lord is still in charge. Christians have taken on the world’s concept of how to view things and they are wrong for doing so. I must confess that I am guilty of this as well. We view the outcome of an election as a “thorn in my flesh.” Not everything that we dislike is a “thorn.” It just might be the outcome of sin existing in the world, circumstances, or our own stupid choices. Often, it is the latter in life but we are adverse to admit it. Not every bad thing that happens in our lives is because Satan is out to get us. When we begin to think so, we have just given Satan more power than he is due. After all, he is a created being with limited abilities, power, and he does not know our thoughts or what the future holds. God created him with limited knowledge and power.
However, God can and does use Satan as a means sometimes to get our attention. When He does you had better listen, because it means that God could not get your attention any other way. He had to send a fallen angel to smack you one. Now, what does that say about your willingness to hear God? If you truly think that there is “thorn” in your flesh provided by the Lord, get on your knees now!
Now do not be spiritually myopic and think that every little nasty thing in your little life that does not go your way is a “thorn” from the Lord or Satan’s doing. It is not. Remember, it is often your own fault and a result of your own sin, disobedience, laziness, or stubbornness. Now you want to compound your sin by trying to make it God’s fault. Shame on you! Your hurt leg, your cold, medical problems, poor grades, sad relationships, or immaturity is not some personal Satanic attack from God. It is not always about you.
Do not make the mistake and equate your thorn with that of Paul’s. God sent Satan to Paul because he had become “conceited” by what the Lord had revealed to him. Not my idea, that is Paul’s own words! If you truly are suffering because God has sent Satan to be a thorn for you, then it means you need to be doing what God has already commanded you to do and you know it but are refusing to do what God desires. (Step away from the Christian with the thorn in the flesh, God is about to slap him with a Satan attack…)
How do you get rescued from this thorn? 1) Go to God immediately and confess your unwillingness to listen. 2) Go back and do what God has instructed you to do in the first place. You already know what it is, so you do not have to ask god again otherwise he would not have sent the thorn in the first place. God is not some cruel deity that sits up in heaven waiting to smack His little created bugs. You are not a cosmic experiment in a spiritual test tube. You know why God has sent Satan: You were not obedient when you knew you should have been. 3) Ask God to forgive your disobedience, your “conceit,” and submit yourself anew to what He wanted you to do in the first place. 4) Get up and get going for the Lord!
Whoever wins today, they are not a believer’s “thorn in the flesh.” Nor are they a testing from the Lord. They are the outcome of people’s decision making process. If folks are influenced by sin they will always make sinful choices. But remember one thing, God is in control, and if He does happen to send a “thorn” your way, He wants you to remember that anew.
This article is copyrighted © 2008 by Lee Hemen and if you reprint it, reproduce it, or want to use it in any way, you must do so in its entirety or get the written permission of its author.