Scripture: II Corinthians 12:7-10
I. Vs 7 Humility
People don’t like to lose and people don’t like to be told “no”, but losing and being told no is a part of the human experience. The issue is not being told no, but how should a believer respond to being told no by God. Paul shares his story and provides the church with instructions for dealing with the word no. The Lord wants you to totally depend upon him and this requires you to walk in humility. Paul had unmatched credentials, ascended to the heavenly realm and received divine revelation. So, the Lord gave him a thorn in the flesh in order to keep him humble. This was not a stubbed toe, because this pain would not go away with the passing of time. This thorn in the flesh would continually buffet him and satan was using this thorn to torment Paul. The devil was using this thorn in a negative way, but the Lord was using this thorn to drive away pride. *Point: This pain was not self-inflicted, had a divine purpose and was a test of his faith. Will you still love, obey, and trust the Lord when he says no. Deuteronomy 8:2 says “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or not.” When God tells you no respond with humility, because he resists the proud.
II. Vs. 8 Prayer
Whenever I experience any level of pain, I cry out to my wife and the Lord. Now Paul was not married and so he cried out (prayed) to the Lord to remove this thorn in the flesh. Three times he asked the Lord to remove this thorn and three times the Lord said no. Paul desperately wanted God to remove this affliction and this pain lead him to pray and not complain. So often issues in life cause us to focus on the problem instead of the Lord. *Point: Don’t pout, but pray with a willingness to accept the Lord’s answer. Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” The Lord’s will must be more important than relief from the thorns of life. You seek answers from the Lord through his word and prayer, but he has the right to say no. This means God has the divine prerogative to do whatever he wants to do without needing permission from anybody. *Life Lesson: What you want may be good (relief from pain), but what the Lord gives you is better (grace). The Lord uses pain for various reasons to include the process of Christ likeness. *Point: Christ suffered and so will you.
III. Vs. 9 Right Attitude
You should respond with humility, prayer, and the right attitude about living the rest of your life with thorns. Paul didn’t get mad, frustrated, or complain, but he accepted God’s will for his life. In short, Paul was content with his thorn in the flesh. *Note: Philippians 4:11. His attitude was that God’s power working in and thru him was more important than the removal of a thorn (pain). Charles Swindoll said “I’m convinced that life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” Listen up: God is in charge of your life, but you are in charge of your attitude. *Point: A bad attitude is totally unacceptable. The Lord gave Paul grace to live with a thorn in the flesh. He would bring more glory to God, because he had a thorn that would make him depend upon the Lord. Example: You are married, because being married brings more glory to God than being single. You are single, because being single brings more glory to God than being married. So, married people and single people both have thorns. The good news is that the Lord will give you married and single grace to go along with the thorns. That’s what makes his grace sufficient, because the Lord’s grace is more powerful than any type of thorn. The right attitude about your thorn will make you glad that the Lord gave it you. Amen!
IV. Vs. 10 Praise
Paul stopped talking about his thorn and started praising the Lord. He understood that this thorn gave him power and strength that he needed to serve the Lord. Paul turned his pain into praise and thanked the Lord for giving him a thorn. *Point: He thanked the Lord for saying no and he made a decision to live like all things do work together for good. Job had more than a thorn and he “arose and rent his mantle and shaved his head and fell down upon the ground and worshipped. Paul’s thorn had a divine purpose and it made him better and not bitter. So, the next time the Lord tells you no…Respond with humility, prayer, the right attitude and get your praise on.
I hope this was a blessing to you.
Because He Lives