So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV)
God gives each of us unique gifts and talents. It is easy for our strengths to become our weaknesses. Our strengths are an area of great temptation toward pride. It is very easy for your strength to become the thing that you lean on to give you a sense of importance and significance. This is what pride is, and it is a form of idolatry. When you begin to look at something other than God as your source of worth, then you have made that something an idol. When Paul was tempted to do this because of the greatness of his gift, God also gave him a “thorn in then flesh” to prevent him from growing prideful. Paul learned that God’s grace is sufficient to endure this thorn. God’s grace enabled him to stand strong in the Lord no matter what his circumstances. Contentment came from God’s grace and not his gifts. This is an important lesson to learn.
Have you ever asked God for something and did not get an answer? How did you respond to this?
Ask God to help you see that his “no” is also a form of his grace to you, and that his grace is sufficient.
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 2 Sa 19, 2 Co 12, Ez 26, Ps 10