From the desk of the Pastor...
A Message to Live by:
Better by What I Go Through – 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
More often than not, some Christians believed when they accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior; their life’s struggles were over. However, there is nothing more further from the truth. The prophets of ole never said it! Jesus never said it! God never said it; and the Bible doesn’t teach it! On the contrary, the Bible teaches; those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will experience various type of tests, trials, troubles, tribulations, and struggles as long as we are on the face of this earth. According to 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yes, all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Individuals who have confessed Jesus Christ as well as those who long, crave, yearn, and aspire to live Holy lives will have to deal with stuff along this Christian journey. In addition, Psalms 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions…sickness, disorders, infirmities, weaknesses, and struggles of the righteous…” Although we may face test, trials, troubles, tribulations, and struggles in life, God never leaves us without hope. That’s why the latter part of verse 19 says “but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul highlights three reasons why I am better by what I go through. I am better because:
1 – My Struggles Keep Me Grounded (based on 2 Corinthians 12:7-8) “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.”
God is so good to us that we have the tendency to get caught up in the blessing instead of the One who provided the blessing. We get caught up in the house and cars; caught up in the degrees and status! We get caught up in positions and titles (even in the church). Preachers don’t respect and honor deacons! Deacons don’t respect and honor preachers! Men disrespect and dishonor female Ministers of Music and Church Administrators. Ministry Leaders have their selected few instead of embracing everyone equally. However, God has a strategic method of preventing us from being lifted up above measure. A strategic method to preventing us from getting Uppity, Arrogant, and Condescending! Paul identified the thorn in his flesh as an ongoing issue, a continuous trial, and daily struggle that was extremely grievous to his mind, body, and spirit. The thorn in Paul’s flesh was designed to keep him Grounded!
2 – My Struggles Keep Me Grateful (based on 2 Corinthians 12:9) “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
It takes a special kind of person to be GRATEFUL in the midst of their struggles. This type of GRATEFULNESS causes you to be kind in the midst of your tests! Causes you to be thankful in the midst of your troubles! Causes you to be appreciative in the midst of your trials! Causes you to be indebted in the midst of your tribulations! Causes you to be obligated in the midst of your struggles!
When Believers experience the goodness of God’s Grace, we can’t help but welcome it with gratitude! It is because of His Grace that I’m GRATEFUL. There is one thing that Paul needed to remember without a shadow of doubt; MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU! God’s GRACE is Free! God’s Grace is unmerited…you don’t deserve it; you didn’t earn it; matter of fact you’re not good enough for it, but I gave it to you anyway. The thorn in Paul’s flesh was designed to keep him Grateful!
3 – My Struggles Keep Me Growing (based on 2 Corinthians 12:10) “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
As believers in Christ, you should refuse to go through another test, trial, tribulation, or struggle if you are not going to learn the lesson that God is trying to teach you. You are not learning what God wants to teach you in the midst of what you are going through. The thorn that is in your flesh is there for a reason. Just as we would expect babies to grow and develop in the physical, we, the children of God, must grow and developed in the Spiritual.
Many problems occur in the lives of Believers when they fail to grow: some go back to the world and others cause strife because of ignorance or become stumbling blocks because of irregular attendance, worldliness, or indifference. God gave fair opportunities for Christ to manifest His Power and Sufficiency of His grace that rest upon him. When we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God tells us that we must contend for faith and we are to resist the devil by using the shield of faith to ward off every attack of the enemy. The problem is most of us, Christian folk, are unprepared for the attacks we encounter; we have little to no understanding of the attacks, or worse we don’t know how to overcome the things that come against us! Hosea 4:6 says it best, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” The thorn is Paul’s flesh was designed to keep him Growing!
Yours in Christ,
Pastor S. Lachlin Verrett, Ph.D.