Friday, June 22, 2012

Thoughts on Thorns

Here are some highlights from a sermon preached by Evangelist Jim VanGelderen at our church’s Family Revival Meetings this week.  This sermon really touched me, and many in our church.  It is from 2 Corinthians 12.

Many Christians want Christ’s strength {the end result} but they despise the ticket to getting that strength {the means}.  The ticket is weakness.

The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in the flesh.  Brother VanGelderen pointed out that this “thorn” may very well have been a person.  His argument comes from the Greek word for messenger in verse 7.  This particular word is never used of an inanimate object, but always of a being – whether human or angelic.

So Satan can use “thorny people” in our lives to provoke us, to cause problems, to tempt us to sin.  But God wants us to take that thorny situation and depend on Him for strength.

We cry out, “Lord change ___________”, but God responds
with “I want to change you.”

Thorns reveal our weakness.  They are our ticket to God’s strength.  But we avoid the thorns because we don’t like to be reminded that we are weak.

We tend to think of strength and weakness only in physical terms.  We think, “Lord I can do this maybe 25%, but I need you to give me the strength for the other 75%.”  However, the word for weakness is really just the word for strength, negated.  It means zero strength.  Not little strength, but absolutely no strength.  It is speaking of spiritual strength.  Jesus said, “for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5). 

This really resonated with me because that is exactly how I think.  I think that I can sorta do it, but not well, or not completely.  Then when He helps me do it I get proud and think that I did it myself.  Then I stop depending on Him.

So I don’t just need help to do it.  I need God to do it for me.  Through me. 

Our weaknesses need to scream so that we realize it is God doing it.  When I allow the weakness to make me a channel for His strength, then my weakness can scream so much that others are blown away with the power. They may see my weakness, but they will see what God can do with weakness.  They will want to be used by God too.

Every weakness I have is a potential channel for His strength.  He keeps thorns in my life so that we never forget that we are weak.  I  can realize my weakness, and live expecting His Divine power to work in me and through me.  Human strength is powerless to stop the enemy, but inside of me is He Who is Strength.

2 cor 12 7-10 jpg

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