Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:1-21
Observation: Paul admitted that he had an experience with God (what he referred to as being “caught up to the third heaven”), but he refused to boast about it to somehow make himself feel more important. Instead, he admitted his thorn in the flesh, the thing that kept him from being prideful. He goes on to defend himself and his ministry to the Corinthians, assuring them that his purpose is only to encourage them and bring them closer to Jesus.
Application: Do you have a bad habit or a certain sin that seems to plague your life no matter what? I have quite a few…like convincing myself I’m making chocolate chip cookies for my husband because I am so wonderful and gracious and generous when really I just want an excuse to eat cookie dough and lots of chocolate in the process. #guiltypleasure
When I have a sin in my life that just won’t seem to go away, my default mode is to muster up more – more willpower, more strength, more discipline, more strength. However, I am completely powerless on my own. There is only one thing that can give me the power to overcome what plagues me – and that’s Christ Jesus.
We don’t know what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, and I kind of like it that way. It puts us on an equal playing field because we all have a thorn in our flesh (me included – and no, it has nothing to do with chocolate chip cookies). It may be pride, immorality, sexual sin, addiction, anger impatience, lust, greed; whatever our particular “brand” of sin, there is a way to overcome it. (Because unfortunately, it’s not just going to go away on its own.)
When Paul prays and begs for his sin to be taken away, the Lord’s response is this: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (verse 9)
Jesus works most powerfully through our weaknesses, not our strengths.
When we suffer, the power of Jesus shines through. Our weaknesses, our sins, our thorns in the flesh won’t defeat us when God is for us.
So, let’s accept his grace for our shortcomings. Let’s breathe it into all parts of our soul and let it wash over us like a cool shower on a hot day. Let’s give up our own pride and humble ourselves before Jesus Christ our King, the one who brings us peace and joy and power.
Prayer: God, I recognize that your grace is all I need. I offer my weakness, my sin, my shortcomings to you, and pray desperately today that I can receive your forgiveness and your power. Amen.